Five months ago, Google had increased the length of search results snippets or meta descriptions from 230 characters to 320 characters. This change was meant to provide more descriptive snippets and to help people better understand how pages are relevant to their searches. As a result, it was observed that many meta descriptions became longer to provide more details of a website to a reader.
However, this May, Google announced that it has decreased the length of these snippets from close to 300 characters to 160 characters. Mobile characters have been decreased to an average of 130 characters.
Danny Sullivan, Google’s Public Search Liaison, had this to say:
“Our search snippets are now shorter on average than in recent weeks, though slightly longer than before a change we made last December. There is no fixed length for snippets. Length varies based on what our systems deem to be most useful.”
The commonly asked question at this point is whether these previous meta descriptions have to be shortened now? As far as changing your meta descriptions completely, Google’s advice is to not pay too much attention to this area. A study conducted by Yoast showed that Google creates a meta description based on the content of your website and not based on the snippet.
To conclude, SEO experts need to just be more specific with their meta descriptions from now on and there is no need for back-tracking in order to change previous meta descriptions.