Google down from 320 to 160 characters for meta descriptions

Several months ago Google increased the size of the meta descriptions in the search results from 160 to 320 characters.

This looked like an opportunity to give searchers more information about your page and potentially attract more traffic.

But no longer.

Now it looks like the search results are back down to the 160 character level, near where they were before.

One good thing out of this reversal is that Google is now more likely to use your page content itself for the results.

This means that by having larger product descriptions, Google will pick out your content automatically and tailor it towards the searcher. So instead of having one fixed-size description, any of the content on your page becomes a candidate for inclusion in the search results.

I still recommend you enter descriptions for your products, pages, and blog posts (called SEO website settings in Shopify). Even if Google is relying more heavily on the page content, they still use the meta description content in their algorithm. Plus, there are other search engines out there too who still might use your meta description.

Now’s a great time to focus on writing quality main page content.

Another simple improvement you can make is to get your structured data in order.

Google has been working on Rich Snippets so I bet there’s going to be more search enhancements coming out in 2018 for stores with structured data.

And JSON-LD for SEO is the easiest and safest option in the Shopify app store to automatically add that data.

Already trusted by over two thousand stores, it’s among the top SEO apps overall.

Or alternatively, if you’re not sure if you store would benefit from JSON-LD for SEO, reply to this email and I’ll be happy to give you a free Structured Data Audit. In that review I’ll manually check about a dozen different pieces of structured data scattered around your store and summarize it all for you.

Eric Davis

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