Google has changed over some of their search results to show snippets that are longer than the standard two lines in length. Instead, some search results are appearing with 3 or 4 lines – or longer in the case of results with structured data.
The one thing in common we are spotting with all the sites showing 4 line snippets is that they are all from high level quality or well known brand sites. I didn’t see examples from what I would consider to have low quality content.
It is also worth noting that none of these examples are the in-depth articles we see in some search results. In-depth results will show much longer snippets, but Google has made changes to those as well. The appearance of in-depth results has dropped by ~50% according to Mozcast. This could be a result of the longer snippets shown for non-in-depth results and the possibility of pages getting too lengthy. In-depth results usually display as a group of 3 results, all with the much longer snippets, however, that also seems to have been changed with this change.
Something else noticed is that if a site had a featured snippet, they also seemed to have a corresponding longer snippet below in the regular search results.
And if a featured snippet was also a recipe result, that recipe also shows a longer description. Instead of the standard 3 lines of description (plus the URL line and the ratings line) these now get 5 lines in the recipe snippet.Last year we spotted Google doing testing of these longer descriptions, but it appeared to be a 1% test as they weren’t showing to all users or all browser sessions. They first began testing the 4 line snippet results in July 2015. Later we noticed they had snippets that were as long as 7 description lines long in November 2015. But currently it seems that this permanent change is capping out at a maximum of 4 lines.
While most of the ones we spotted were 4 lines, there were a few 3 line description versions in the search results as well.
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