It has been confirmed by Google that it has now decreased the length of search results snippets. According to Danny Sullivan of Google who wrote, “Our search snippets are now shorter on average than in recent weeks.” He added that they are now “… slightly longer than before a change we made last December.”
Back in December, Google said that writing meta descriptions doesn’t change with longer search snippets. Back then, webmasters were told that there is “no need for publishers to suddenly expand their meta description tags.”
Sullivan said, “There is no fixed length for snippets. Length varies based on what our systems deem to be most useful.” He even said that Google isn’t going to state a new maximum length for the snippets because the snippets are generated dynamically.
RankRanger’s tracker tool puts the new average length of the description snippet field on desktop at around 160 characters, down from around 300+ characters while mobile characters for the search results snippets are down to an average of 130 characters.
Here’s the confirmation from Danny Sullivan:
Our search snippets are now shorter on average than in recent weeks, though slightly longer than before a change we made last December. There is no fixed length for snippets. Length varies based on what our systems deem to be most useful.
— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) May 14, 2018
When it comes to shortening the meta descriptions that you’d made previously, Google advises you not to focus much on those. Many of the snippets Google chooses are dynamic and aren’t pulled from your meta descriptions.