While both meta description and title lengths have seen an increase in character limits this post will focus on the meta description update since it had the larger change. For those familiar with the meta description, the once 160 character limited area has been updated to feature a max of 320 characters.
Google started unofficially testing/rolling out some longer extensions last year but it wasn’t until recently that they announced the purpose of the change.
How To Get Longer Descriptions
For now this change is still a work in process for Google and it looks like it may be more of a dynamic update that pulls descriptive words in organically. From the search tests I’ve done the common ones that are changed to the longer description are:
- Articles: Food, News, Movies, etc.
- Product Searches
- Person Searches
- Movie Listing (My favorites desciption showed movies and ratings. Convenient!)
This is not to say that other types aren’t going to be added since its still a dynamic update, these were just the most commons ones I discovered so far.
For Yoast+Wordpress Users
For now Google has not endorsed making the change to 320 characters and has suggested that it’s not recommended to make the changes manually. This is probably because it’s trying to pull relevant content from the page instead of one generated through user submissions that are stuffed with keywords, CTAs, or emojis to just pull clicks.
For those that have been using Yoast, there hasn’t been an update to it’s snippet editor so making meta descriptions longer than 160 characters will look too long and wont generate a preview so for now i’ll wait for a version update.
When it comes down to it, i’d recommend at least an audit of your page titles and meta descriptions to make your sure content and keywords are still relevant to the pages. More than likely we won’t get much more info on the change from Google besides as the change being a way to improve the search experience.
Hi Jeremy, we're looking into it as we speak! Doing some research before we decide to change things 🙂— Yoast (@yoast) December 8, 2017