Although there is no official minimum or maximum length for the meta title in the description, Google advises making sure it is long enough to be entirely displayed in the SERPs. Remember that users may see different-sized snippets depending on how and where they search.
So, how long of a meta description should you aim for?
Here are some common mistakes you should avoid and tips to get you started and get the most power out of your meta descriptions.
How Long Should a Meta Description Be?
Although technically meta descriptions can be any length, Google often shortens snippets to between 155 and 160 characters. So, if your meta description is longer than this, Google will be the only one able to read it – your users won’t see the whole thing.
We advise keeping meta descriptions between 50 and 160 characters long for desktop and around 120 characters for mobile to ensure that they are fully visible and helpful.
The “ideal” length will vary based on the circumstance, so focus on providing value and encouraging clicks instead.
What Happens If a Meta Description is Too Short or Too Long?
If your meta description is too short or too long, it’s a wasted opportunity as you’re not using it to its full potential – it won’t benefit your SEO as much as it otherwise would and can lead to a lower click-through rate.
If it’s too short, it means it doesn’t contain enough information to let the readers know what to expect after clicking on your page. Google bots may also fail to recognize it as a sufficient response to a query and replace it with an automatically created one.
If it’s too long, Google will truncate it or even automatically rewrite it from chunks of text it randomly selects from your page’s content, which doesn’t look good and can even be misleading to users.
How to Write a Good Meta Description?
Here are a few extra tips to help you craft great meta descriptions.
Pay Attention to Pixels
Google doesn’t actually measure meta descriptions in characters but in pixels. Each character is a different pixel width, so the number of characters you can use essentially depends on their size.
When it comes to pixels, you shouldn’t use more than 1005 pixels in your meta description. In fact, the ideal length would be about 920 pixels. Otherwise, users won’t be able to see the entire text. However, your meta description should also not contain less than 400 pixels – if you want the description to be fully optimized, then you don’t want to make it too short.
You can always use various free snippet preview tools to see if it will fit into Google’s pixel limits and how it will look in the SERPs.
Keep It Short & Sweet
Use the space you have to the fullest. Briefly summarize the content of the page – use your meta descriptions to give users and Google bots an engaging hint about what the page is about.
Create a unique meta description for each pag as both users and Google benefit from it, especially when a user’s search results may include several pages from your domain.
Essentially, you should aim for a meta description that says just enough without saying too much. It may sound complicated, but you’ll get the hang of it with some hands-on practice.
Don’t Forget to Optimize It
Try to incorporate your main keyword and any related terms naturally in your meta description. However, don’t go overboard and stuff it with too many keywords – this can harm your SEO.
Whenever you can, you can always include a CTA (Call-to-action) to promote engagement and make users click for more.