Meta Descriptions and Search Results

Meta Descriptions and Search Results

Dr. Peter J. Meyers has an interesting analysis of meta descriptions – the block of text which appears in Google results and, we are told, should be around 155 characters in length.

Meta descriptions for bagels

He analyzed 92,600 search results and found that most meta descriptions were truncated around 145-165 characters.

He found that in many cases Google makes minor changes to meta descriptions, for example adding a date or the number of similar results to the beginning of the description.  In one case Dr. Meyers found that Google had dropped the keyword when it appeared at the start of the description.

More interesting are the outliers; some results display very long descriptions up to 380 characters.  Dr. Meyers found that Google pretty much created all new text using list data from the page.

Very Long Meta Description

According to Dr. Meyers, the meta description for this page reads as follows:

Were you aware of all the uses of apple cider vinegar? From cleansing to healing, to preventing diabetes, ACV is a pantry staple you need in your home.

Confused?  You should be.  Google seems to be trying to provide more informative information in search results.  As Dr. Meyers says:

Google is taking a lot more liberties with snippets these days, both to better match queries, to add details they feel are important, or to help build and support the Knowledge Graph.

…[I]s it time to revise the 155(ish) character guideline? My gut feeling is: not yet. To begin with, the vast majority of snippets are still falling in that 145-165 character range. In addition, the exceptions to the rule are not only atypical situations, but in most cases those long snippets don’t seem to represent the original meta description. In other words, even if Google does grant you extra characters, they probably won’t be the extra characters you asked for in the first place.

Read the entire article here.

 

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