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What is the Ideal Meta Description Length?

Meta descriptions are simply tags that appear in your site’s HTML, which should be carefully crafted to summarize your page content. Search engines (such as Google) can display it in search – though this is not always the case with the growing popularity of automatically rewriting meta descriptions based on the user’s search terms.

Nonetheless, optimizing your meta descriptions is a crucial part of on-page SEO, so in this knowledgebase article, we’ll walk you through how to write a great meta description & how Rank Math makes it easier than ever.

1 What is a Meta Description?

The meta description is an HTML element that is used to describe what a page is about. It appears in search results as a snippet under the title tag to provide a more descriptive context in just one or two sentences.

Here is what the meta description looks like:

<head>  <meta name="description"  content="This is an example of a meta description. This will often show up in search results."></head>

The meta description should be able to provide the search engine visitors with a brief description of what they’ll find if they click through to your website. This is what the meta description of our website looks like:

Meta Description in SERPs

Rank Math makes it very easy to pen down the meta descriptions, and to do so, head over to your post, click on Edit Snippet and add your meta-description as shown below:

how to add meta descriptions in Rank Math

2 Why Are Meta Descriptions Important?

Although meta descriptions aren’t a ranking factor – they certainly still play a big role in on-page SEO.

Here are a couple of reasons why meta descriptions are important:

  • Meta descriptions impact a page’s CTR (click-through rate) on Google, which can positively impact a page’s ability to rank. 
  • If the written meta descriptions work wonders for visitors, the benefits from a search engine optimization point of view follow naturally.
  • If you have a well-written meta description and when someone searches for a particular keyword or phrase, it will be bolded in search results where ever it appears. This makes your keyword stand out.

3 What is the Ideal Length for Meta Description?

The ideal length for a meta description is 160 characters. Google generally truncates them to ~ 155–160 characters. It’s a good practice to keep meta descriptions long enough to be descriptive, and hence we recommend writing meta descriptions between 50-160 characters.

Rank Math will guide you in various ways to create a meta description of the perfect length. The first is the length bar, and the second is the pixel measurement.

Rank Math limits the meta description to 160 characters, as shown below:

Rank Math's Meta Description limit

Rank Math’s pixel measurement shows the exact number of pixels your description will take on the search results and recommends the ideal length. Rank Math limits the meta description to 920 pixels, as shown below:

Rank Math's pixel measurement.

Note that the “optimal” length will vary based on the situation, and your primary goal should be to provide value and drive clicks to your website. However, at times, Google uses its own description tag and generates a search result snippet.

In some cases, search engines may overrule the meta description that a webmaster has specified in the HTML of a page. This is unpredictable, but it often occurs when Google doesn’t think the existing meta description adequately answers a visitor’s query and identifies a snippet from the target page that better matches a searcher’s query.

4 How to Write a Good Meta Description

Here are a few tips for creating meta descriptions of web pages:

  • Ensure the meta description is easy to read and contains relevant keywords.
  • Prevent duplicate content issues by making the meta description unique for every website page.
  • Though meta description is not a direct ranking factor, it can still influence the CTRs. So, it is better to use the primary keyword, if possible.

Meta descriptions are one of the major topics most people encounter upon entering the world of SEO. Luckily, it’s also one of the easiest to understand and master, so you won’t ever have to spend much time on it.

And that’s it! We hope you now clearly understand the ideal meta description length. If you have any queries related to this, please don’t hesitate to contact our support team.

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