Meta Description Limits - Funny Pattern

brettmandoes

Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2018
Messages
69
Noticing a funny pattern and wondering if any others can verify this...but the only meta descriptions that are extended from old limits (about 156 characters) are auto-generated from content on page. I've examined about a dozen pages with meta descriptions beyond 200 characters in local searches and none of them have a defined meta description in html. The ones that do have a defined meta description are hitting that limit of about 156 characters. I say about because I think it's actually based on pixel length, but it's close enough.

Can anyone refute this? Would love to see if you guys have noticed anything.
 

Phil Rozek

Local Search Expert
Joined
Jul 26, 2012
Messages
1,558
@brettmandoes, what are you asking people to refute, exactly? My understanding of the question (I'm paraphrasing here) is: "Does Google give you up to 200 characters if you do not specify a description tag?"

One factor is that most people who know to specify a description tag are used to the arguable best-practice of keeping 'em to 155 characters or fewer.

Anyway, like you, the only times I see a description longer than 155 characters is when it's dynamically generated by Google - when none's been specified by the site owner.
 

brettmandoes

Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2018
Messages
69
My question is more like: are there exceptions to this pattern I'm seeing? If so I'd like to know what triggers that since the meta description can be a pretty important factor to CTR > which means more traffic and leads. And if this pattern is consistent, I'd still like to know that because it alters the guidance I previously gave to my writers. I told them to follow Google's guidance until we knew more, which was that they'll sometimes show full descriptions without truncation (but I did tell them to keep the keywords in the first 150 characters).

If this pattern is fairly universal, then it doesn't make sense to write a meta description above 150-160 character range.

I hope that explains my thought process a little more clearly :)
 

Yan Gilbert

Administrator
Joined
Oct 15, 2016
Messages
295
Seems about right. The only ones I can trigger that are longer than 160 have been autogenerated.

Sometimes there is already a standard length description specified but Google ignored it and wrote a new longer one. But depending on the query that brings up that page, the description displayed will change as the algo tries to find sentences within the content that have part of the query string in it.
 

Phil Rozek

Local Search Expert
Joined
Jul 26, 2012
Messages
1,558
In most cases I don't bother specifying description tags anymore. If the content of the page itself is solid and detailed, Google does a good job of grabbing a good excerpt tailored to the query.
 

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