At the end of 2017, Google officially confirmed that it was changing the way it displays snippets in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
Instead of displaying 160 characters, it started to display snippets of an average length of 230 characters, leading to many webmasters asking the question “should I be making my meta descriptions longer”?
My advice would be don’t do it. At least, don’t do it right now. This is because the snippets which have been made longer are made up of a combination of both meta description and on-page content, and are usually generated as a result of query-based searches.
Also, Google is yet to confirm whether webmasters should be making their page descriptions longer, and so I would take this as ‘nothing has changed’ in terms of length. However, what it does impact is how marketers are writing their meta descriptions. They will need to consider how you entice people to still click on your website, despite them getting a lot of information from the snippet in the SERPs. Of course, if Google does confirm a change then webmasters will need to ensure that their meta data is in line with the guidelines.
In other Google-related news, at the start of this year, Google also announced that it’s releasing a new version of Search Console to all verified users. Back in July 2017, the search giant announced they would be beta testing a new search console, and now they have launched the full version.
The new-look Search Console will include functions including Search performance, Index Coverage, AMP Status and Job Posting reports, and according to Google, the changes haven’t stopped there with a promise that “over the course of the year, the new Search Console will continue to add functionality from the classic Search Console”. Until they’ve migrated all of the functionality, the two versions will sit side-by-side and will be interconnected by links in the navigation bar.
There’s at least two things to be keeping an eye on over the next few weeks and months, and no doubt there will be more movement from Google over the course of the year.