Google’s search result snippets are now longer than what once was the maximum length of 160 characters.
This change has been officially confirmed by Google, and is also supported by evidence from tracking tools like RankRanger.
According to data collected by RankRanger, search snippets can now be anywhere from 160 characters to 230 characters on average.
Going forward, search snippets could be up to 320 characters across every search engine results page (SERP). A longer snippet may be displayed if the query calls for it.
In other words— a longer snippet will be dynamically generated if it’s the best way to satisfy a user’s query.
What Does This Mean for SEOs and Site Owners?
Since longer snippets will be dynamically generated when the situation calls for it, SEOs and site owners do not have to change anything when it comes to optimizing meta descriptions.
In fact, that is the official recommendation from Google’s Danny Sullivan, who says “don’t go expanding your meta description tags. It’s more a dynamic process.”
As you may know, Google doesn’t always display the meta description that has been manually assigned to a page. In some instances, Google may pull a piece of text from the body copy and use it as the meta description.
Going forward, Google will be able to pull longer pieces of text from the body copy and use them as meta descriptions when necessary.
Expanding all meta descriptions would be wasted effort, so continue to focus on more important tasks.