Less than six months ago, Google increased the max characters shown in the search results snippets box to 320 characters but now it seems Google has cut it down to 160 or less characters over the past week. I’ve been hearing for the past week that Google is showing searchers a lot fewer details or characters in the search results snippet, but waited it out because Google is always testing stuff.
It may be that this might be sticking and that Google cut the number of characters shown in the search results snippets literally in half.
RankRanger shows for desktop the count is down to 160 or so characters:
RankRanger shows for mobile the count is down to 130 or so characters:
ScreamingFrog says we are down to 155 characters:
— Screaming Frog (@screamingfrog) May 13, 2018
Danny Sullivan from Google said on Twitter that he will look into it but added “we were very clear there was no need for people to change meta description tags, when we were asked specifically about this” and linked to my store on Search Engine Land named Google: Fundamentals of writing meta descriptions don’t change with longer search snippets.
John Mueller from Google said on Twitter:
These things can always change over time (and by device, query, etc), we’re not announcing any fixed count as a target.
The search results UI is pretty constantly changing though, so IMO it’s normal to see these things evolve over time, maybe even reverting or perhaps becoming more variable where it might make sense.
So we wait to hear more from Google on this…
Forum discussion at Twitter.