170 Meta Description Character Limit
There’s debate on this … but primarily its accepted that about 170 characters is the full length Google displays. It used to be a little lower and that’s why from time to time you may see 150 or 160 listed as the limit. Those lower numbers though are based on outdated info.
Writing A Good SEO Meta Description
Tons of programs and most free audit tools will check this for you but it’s also not as important as the description being:
A lot of sites leave these behind and never declare a description which leaves Google to create one for you, and its usually just the first couple sentences of an article. This is pretty bad for your conversion rate in organic search. Why check out the content if you author didn’t even bother to provide a decent description?
In the same thought your description should be unique. What makes this page worth clicking on? What makes this page any different from any other page on your site? If your descriptions aren’t unique then you don’t really make a case for why that specific page exists.
And while you may be selling something, keep in mind your description is not an advertisement for your business it is an ad for that page. This page for example should talk about SEO FAQs, even though I sell SEO Services and not SEO FAQs. A searcher seeking out SEO FAQs isn’t going to click on a description of the services I offer and a person seeking SEO services isn’t going to care much about meta descriptions if they are looking to contract that worry out to someone else.
Finally your description should be catchy… it needs to call out among the others and get someone to click on it. Overly technical descriptions will discourage someone seeking knowledge about that topic…so keep it simple. You dont need to prove your wealth of knowledge in the description as a person who is searching for information doesn’t know what you’re talking about likely … why would they be searching the topic if they already knew it?
What’s better for a page’s description with just this SEO FAQ on it?
- Check out our Many SEO FAQs including On Page, Off Page, Technical SEO by a Top Rated Freelancer And Ultimate SEO offering SEO Services
- SEO Meta Descriptions – Limits, Best Practices And The Way Its Done. How To Attract Searchers Using Proven Researched Methods – Ultimate SEO
Now each of the descriptions are less than 170 characters but one is a good description and the other is crap. If you’ve just Googled “Meta Descriptions” I’m betting you’re going to appreciate the second one better. And thats what the page is about. The first muddles the water up by mixing the page with the sites purpose and then advertising the credentials of the owner.
Another thing you may have noticed between 1 and 2 is capitalization. Research has shown that capitalizing the first letter of each word increases CTR. Its more eye catching but ITS NOT ALL CAPS so its not in your face.
And by the way…if you go over the length its not the end of the world. There’s no penalty there is just …