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Changes in Meta Description Length in 2018

SEO’s have watched with interest over the last 8 months as Google has changed meta description length. An exciting change happened in November 2017 that quickly changed just a few months ago. WPamplify has put together what you need to know about changes in meta description length in 2018.

Why is Meta Description Length Important?

The meta description is the snippet of information that displays on search engine results pages (SERP) just below the page title. It’s your first real shot at grabbing the attention of your potential reader/client. The right information here will increase the likelihood of a user clicking through to your site.

Google only includes a limited amount of information in the meta description. If the beginning of your description isn’t relevant and the important info is cut off, you’re going to lose your potential reader. It’s important to make sure you get the right information included in your meta description.

What Changed?

The difficulty in the last year has been that meta description length has become a moving target. In November 2017, Google made a change that dramatically increased meta description length on their results pages. The average length of about 155 characters jumped to around 320.

This was great new because it gave the ability to include even more information in the meta description. In May of this year, that average dropped back down. Google confirmed that it was somewhere between the low of 155 and the November high of 320.

So How Long Can the Meta Description Be?

As with so many aspects of search engine optimization, there is no clear answer on meta description length. The only thing we know for sure from Google is that it is variable and dynamic. The length can change based on screen size what information Google deems relevant. Even in November, mobile search results were considerably shorter than 320 characters.

In general, you’re safe assuming that the first 120 characters will show up in mobile search results. Make sure that the most important information, including your keyword, is in the first 120 characters. Anything beyond that should be additional valuable content, but not critical info.

Google Can Override

One tricky thing about meta descriptions is that Google can decide to not even use the one you create. If they determine your description isn’t an accurate representation of the content, they rewrite it. They usually do this by pulling other information from your article or page content. Even with this in mind, it’s important to always provide the best meta description you can

What Goes into a Good Meta Description?

A good meta description really begins in the meta title, since this is the most prominent part of the search result. Try to naturally include your keyword in the page title, the site title, and your city if you’re a locally-based business. Next, make sure your meta description itself grabs your reader’s attention.

You have to strike a balance between providing enough value that they know you’re legit, but not giving them everything. If you provide the total answer in the meta description, they have no reason to click through to your site. Try to summarize the points you will be making, and give a call to action to entice them to come to see the rest.

Let WPamplify Help

Crafting a good meta description is important for your site’s overall SEO health. It will help increase your click-through rate as well as potentially boost your rankings. Don’t neglect this valuable tool in your SEO toolbox.

The team at WPamplify keeps a keen eye on SEO trends like the ever-shifting question of meta description length. If you think your site metadata, or overall content, needs a boost, contact us right away. We’re glad to help you analyze your SEO strategy and see what improvements can be made.