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.
They also show up with knowledge panel features as well, such as the medical knowledge panels.
The change does seem to be for everyone in all locations, not a test like we have previously seen.
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