Meta Description Extended: Customize or Retain?

You may have noticed it already: Google shows longer snippets in the organic search results. In this year, Google officially confirmed that they have expanded the meta descriptions of max. 160 characters to 320 characters long.

According to Google, the purpose of the meta description does not change. The aim remains to inform the visitors and to trigger them with a short, relevant summary of what can be read on the page.

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According to Moz’s data there was a peak in the average length of SERP snippets in November. According to data, a large part of all snippets are already longer than 300 characters and in 2018 the 300 characters long meta description will even become almost standard.

This longer meta description is either dynamically generated or used by Google, which you enter in the meta description tag, or places content from the page itself in the description.

What are the pros and cons of these longer descriptions?

Lower click through rate

Because the users already get almost enough information in the search results, it is no longer necessary for them to click through. This of course reduces the number of clicks per search. This is a trend we discussed earlier in this article about machine learning and SEO.

Less Control Over The Meta Description

Google places pieces of text in the meta description that we prefer not to show directly in the search results. Despite the description below, google itself chooses the content of the description

Modify Or Maintain Current Meta Descriptions?


Customize all meta descriptions of your most important pages to the longer version of about 300 characters. Smaller websites can modify all meta descriptions but some have hundreds of URLs and then of course it is impossible to modify all of them. Then determine what the most important pages are (Home, shopping page, etc.) and extend meta description there.

What do you need to put in there?

Use the extra space to give the viewfinder some more information. Keep placing the most important keywords in the first positions because on mobile the meta description is much shorter.

Also place a clear CTA “read the 101 SEO tips” at the end so that searchers are more inclined to click your snippet:

Yoast has already increased the maximum number of characters to 320 characters.

Don’t use Yoast? Then be sure to contact your web builder with the question to increase the maximum number of characters you can enter to 320 characters.

Because Google is starting to fill in some of the meta descriptions itself, you might think that it is no longer necessary to add it yourself. We don’t think so, you can still give Google a push in the right direction by filling in the meta description. If you don’t fill in any text anyway, Google will definitely choose something from your page and that can sometimes be weird pieces of text.


Don’t rush to change all the meta descriptions of your pages. Create a list of your most important pages and modify the meta descriptions of these. Thinks carefully about what you put in.

Meta data does not affect your SEO, but it does affect your CTR in Google. Therefore, place a clear CTA in your meta description that triggers searchers to click through to your website.

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