Support » Plugin: Yoast SEO » Change in meta description length

  • Resolved CB

    (@cbrandt)


    Hello everybody,

    I just noticed that beyond enhancements and bug fixes, Yoast SEO’s most recent update to 7.6.0 contains the following:

    Other:
    * Changes the maximum meta description length from 320 to 156 characters.

    What??

    I wonder what is behind Yoast’s decision to make such drastic reduction compulsory, instead of letting every website owner decide how best to approach Google’s capricious decisions on the search snippet’s description size.

    I had understood from what surfaced re: Google’s decision that the description size is now set dynamically, which means a search result snippet may have more or less text depending on the screen size, orientation, and many other factors. Source: https://www.compose.agency/insights/meta-description-length-2018

    Since 75% of my website visitor’s are mobile visitors, I prefer to have a bigger text, making sure the initial content (first 110 or so characters) makes sense in and by itself, but adding some extra elements, perhaps a call to action, in a longer version of the content description.

    When I do a site:example.com search on Google using Chrome in a desktop machine, I notice the snippet description size is in average 150 characters long (not including the trailing “…” added by Google to the clipped text.)
    Screenshot: https://snag.gy/r6R9QD.jpg

    However, when I use Chrome’s Developer Tools to toggle the display to mobile, under the Galaxy S5 screen size, the description size is increased to an average 192 characters, some as high as 205 chars. Screenshot: https://snag.gy/PqHFST.jpg

    On my own iPhone SE screen, the search snippet description size is in between.

    So I wonder, given the potential impact of such change, if it was a wise decision by Yoast to cut the maximum description length to 156 characters, and what was the basis for that decision.

Viewing 7 replies - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)
  • Please let us know the reason behind this.

    that confused me as well

    I agree. This should be given as an option to us.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 4 months ago by  godthor.
    Plugin Support benvaassen

    (@benvaassen)

    Our research (and others) shows that the snippets you see in the search results pages now tend to be shorter than before. All of the long meta descriptions we added to articles on Yoast.com, that were visible in the search results pages earlier, are now all replaced by short ones.

    Google has said that there is no set limit (it’s not a ‘hard’ limit). And you’re still welcome to write longer meta descriptions, but since these most likely get truncated in the snippets, we’d recommend writing shorter descriptions (based on our research and others).

    This was also mentioned in the article you shared:

    But the main thing is to ensure that your descriptions make sense in the first 110 – 130 characters as this will work well on mobile as well as the current average length of desktop search snippets.

    You can also read our release post for more context: https://yoast.com/yoast-seo-7-6.

    Hi, What about Yandex? How to change description length for Yandex?
    Hook maybe?

    Plugin Support benvaassen

    (@benvaassen)

    @siteussia To be honest, we didn’t look at Yandex. When I take a quick look at their documentation they state that the meta description should be several words (point 1) or a few sentences (point 4).

    Checking the meta descriptions in the search results shows around the same length Google uses, so I’d stick with the same recommendation.

    Thank you, @benvaassen. I had somehow missed your original reply, but now I understand that the new 156-character limit set by the update is only a suggested maximum, which is good because it gives us the necessary flexibility to accommodate specific cases.

Viewing 7 replies - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)
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