For the longest time, we are told to keep the meta description to the limit of 160 characters imposed by Google and most other search engines. If you are new to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) implementation techniques, you can refer to SEO For Beginners and you will also note that the keyword should be contained within the 160 characters of the meta description.
As we follow the on-going discussions on this subject, as usual, Google has not quite confirmed what’s the final stand.
So we do some research and carry out our own testing.
A search for the keyword Low Competition Keywords produces the following search results (snippet):
You can see that the upper search result already captures more than 160 characters and the keyword even falls outside the 160 characters!
I have since updated my SEO plugin which in my case is All-In-One SEO pack and padded the meta description with more elaboration of the article:
If you are doing this for your existing published articles, do remember to go to Google Webmaster (Google Search Console) and Fetch Google.
There is no absolute confirmation from any authoritative figure in the SEO industry or Google itself though. Google may also have the original intention to lengthen the meta description but they have the prerogative to change their decision later. What should we do then?
What is clear is that the original 160-character limit will not change. What I recommend we can do is ensure our keyword still resides within this 160-character limit. That way, whatever the final direction, we are okay.
At the same time, we go ahead and update our SEO plugin and use the additional meta description characters to provide relevant and compelling additional description.