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300 Characters and Beyond

The end of the 155 limit

And how it's transforming the SERPs

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Google has moved away from its traditional 155-character limit for meta descriptions, and is now allowing brands to say more about themselves on search engine results pages (SERPs) when links to their sites appear. So who’s taking advantage and what does it mean for your own organic search (SEO) strategy?

Death of the 155 limit?

The end of November 2017 saw a spike in the average length of meta descriptions showing in SERPs, with Moz and Search Engine Land reporting that many snippets were exceeding 300 characters – up from a previous limit of 155.

At Click Consult, we actually started spotting longer descriptions appearing back in 2016, but with no particular consistency (at around the same time Google removed paid search ads from the right-hand side of the SERPs), but they didn’t officially roll out until December 2017.

As Google has not yet given any definitive advice regarding best practice, we decided to carry out our own research to find out how expanded meta descriptions are faring in the wild.

In this exclusive whitepaper, we explore:

  • How far Google has rolled out the expanded meta descriptions across six key industry sectors
  • Which sites are taking advantage of the longer character length
  • How Google appears to decide the copy to display
  • What we recommend marketers do to put themselves in the strongest possible position

Better meta descriptions = better CTR

Unlike the meta title, a page’s meta description has no direct SEO influence. However, it can be a make-or-break deciding factor in a user’s decision about whether your content is relevant to their search query and worth checking out, leading to a higher click through rate (CTR) and potentially higher quality traffic.

However well-crafted your description meta tag, there’s never been any guarantee that Google will use it. However there are things your brand can do to increase the chances of your expanded metas showing in the SERPs.

Download this today for an in-depth view of our findings and how you can apply them to your own SEO strategy.

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