Google Testing Description Length on Search Snippet

Posted by 9 January, 2009

I am Mercy Livingstone. Currently working as a senior executive in Dot Com Infoway. This is my first guest blog post in Thatsseo. Blogging is my long time passion and I thank Mr. Raghavan who has appreciated my interest and intented to be a guest blogger in his Blog. You can find my weekly column regularly in Thatsseo.

While tracking the keyword position for the website I work on, I came across with a pretty cool find in Google search snippet. The Google search snippet is normally the 2-line summary that appears along with the link to the website and it closes with utmost 165 characters. But I have found a snippet displaying nearly 4 lines with 298 characters totally. The below screenshot would give you clear picture about this.

google-snippet-description-length1
Is Google making any enhancement in search snippet? Has anyone of you come across anything like this?
Categories : Google Tags : ,

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Comments
January 9, 2009

Great Find. Nice to see you here :) )

Posted by Raghavan
January 9, 2009

Hey Mercy – I have been trying for a bit on a variety of keywords and can’t replicate your find. However, now that I know they are messing around with that I will definately keep my eyes out.

If they do roll this out – what do you think the acceptable meta description length might change to? 400? 500? 600? more?

Posted by Matthew Diehl
January 10, 2009

@Raghavan – Thanks! :)

@ Matthew Diehi – Yes you are right. And I wouldn’t be so happy seeing the lengthy description in snippets. As Live has already started showing lengthy description, I don’t see any better user experience there. People wont read stories in snippet instead they would like to see a pin point that need them understand what is all about!

Posted by Mercy Livi
January 12, 2009

Great Find! :)

It’s really going to be yet another cool update from “G”. Awaiting for that

Thanks for sharing and all the best for your future posts.

Posted by John Williams
January 12, 2009

This will be great for people who want to target a slightly longer phrase in there meta title tag.

Posted by Nick Stamoulis
January 12, 2009

@John Williams – Thanks for stopping by and for your wishes! :)

Posted by Mercy Livi
January 12, 2009

“PlanningForce offers an easy to use project planning and management tool. Manage your projects in the most effective way with our advanced project planning tool.”

That is the actual description field text they used-
It looks like Google grabbed part of their page copy from that shady grey keyword/link heavy segment at the bottom of the page. (Is anyone else a little bothered by that section?)

Posted by Jeremy Rivera
January 12, 2009

Can you also tell us if you were logged in to a profile?

It could indicate if it was your specific profile that was in the “bucket test” or if it was your entire data center that saw that result.

I currently show that result on page 2, and has this as a snippet ” PlanningForce offers an easy to use project planning and management tool. Manage your projects in the most effective way with our advanced project planning…” which is the normal length.

I have found that if you don’t have an entry in DMOZ, then Google is more likly to grab text from the page rather than use the description- I did a study on it here: http://footinmouthdisease.net/2008/10/06/google-still-uses-dmoz-data-in-the-serps/

Posted by Jeremy Rivera
January 14, 2009

@Jeremy Rivera – While I found the lengthy description in snippet, I haven’t logged into any of the account.

Posted by Mercy Livi
May 9, 2009

Nice post and observation, I haven’t seen anything like that. although I will sure be ready and thinking of targeting a longer description.

February 3, 2011

funny, I just came across a snippet for a page I am working on and they pulled my meta description, but cut it to display only 155 characters instead of 160, which was the total length of my meta!

Posted by Steve
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