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Google’s Title and Meta Descriptions Length (Updated 2020)

By winniewong on March 16, 2019

meta-title-description-length

In 2020, Google’s advice is to not focus too much on these, as many of the snippets Google chooses are dynamic and not pulled from your meta descriptions.

A lot of how Google decides what search result snippet to show is based on the searchers’ query and the content on your page. According to Google’s blog, there’s no limit on how long a meta description can be, but the search result snippets are truncated as needed, typically to fit the device width.

Here’s the average title and meta description length by Rankranger (Results on 21 Feb 2020) :

C:\Users\user\Desktop\Google-average-meta-description-title-length.png

Best Practices For A Good Headline or Title Tag in 2020

Still, we recommend keeping your headline at under or approximately 60 characters to fit Google results that have a 600-pixel word limit and avoid truncation. Additionally, here are some other SEO best practices:

  1. Always describe the page’s content accurately. Choose a title that reads naturally and effectively communicates the topic of the page’s content.
  2. Create unique titles for each page. This helps Google know how the page is distinct from the others on your site.
  3. Use brief, but descriptive titles. Titles should be both short and informative. If it is too long or less relevant, Google may only show a portion of it or one that’s automatically generated in the Google search result.
  4. The most crucial step is to make sure you carry out through keyword research to ensure you use high-value keywords in your title tag

Your Best Practice Checklist for Writing SEO-ptimized Meta Descriptions

    Keep yourself reminded on the best practices for writing title and meta descriptions.
    Not just the length. Discover all the do's and don'ts to make sure you craft the perfect meta description.
    It's our complete checklist to getting 268% increase in traffic!

Best Practices For A Good Meta Description Length in 2020

Meanwhile, your meta description length should be kept descriptive and between 150 and 160 characters for optimal length, and this includes spaces. Additionally, you also want to make sure to: 

  1. Accurately summarize the page content. While there’s no minimal or maximal meta title length for the text in the description, Google recommends making sure that it’s long enough to be fully shown in Google results (note that users may see different sized snippets depending on how and where they search).
  2. Use unique descriptions for each page. Having a different description of meta tags for each page helps both users and Google, especially in searches where users may bring up multiple pages on your domain.
  3.  Include your primary keyword and related keywords naturally

(*Updated in September 2020*)

Before that, more good reads on meta description best practices and the do’s and don’ts with meta description examples. 

Brief History of Title and Meta Description (2019)

In case you haven’t noticed, Google has made significant changes to the titles and meta descriptions length on the Google Search Results. More characters for both titles and meta descriptions are displayed in the search results now compared to the previous weeks.

What Are The Changes?

The first noticeable change would be the space of Google Search Results. To compare it with before Google made the changes, the latest search results is now 600 pixels wide, which is about 100 pixels wider.

Before:

Google Increases Titles and Meta Descriptions Length

After:

Google Increases Titles and Meta Descriptions Length

This is not the only change that we’ve noticed. Let’s look into more details on the other prominent changes.

Desktop

All these years, we have been writing our titles with no more than 55-60 characters. Today, Google has finally made some changes and increased the titles to 70-71 characters. I know, it doesn’t seem much, but at least you can still fit in another word or two in your title, which will make a difference.

But if you’re already happy with your current title, you can choose to add your site name at the end of the title for branding purpose.

Although the titles are longer now, you’ll still need to monitor the traffic and click-through rate (CTR) of your old titles compared to the new ones as it will affect your SEO. The organic results for your site will probably be higher or lower as well, which is why you have to keep things in check.

If you still can’t really see the differences yet, let me show you.

Here, I have a screenshot of the title before Google make the changes:

Google Increases Titles and Meta Descriptions Length
Google only shows 54 characters of this title, and truncate the rest of it.

And this is what happens after Google make the changes:

Google Increases Titles and Meta Descriptions Length
Google displays the entire title on the search results, which has 63 characters.

Not only Google has increased the length of the titles to be displayed, the meta descriptions showed some changes too.

When writing meta descriptions, we tend to keep it between 150-160 characters because Google usually truncate snippets that are longer than 160 characters. Besides, Google used to display only 2 lines of meta descriptions on their search results page. Just like this:

Google Increases Titles and Meta Descriptions Length

But look at what I’ve found today:

Google Increases Titles and Meta Descriptions Length
There’s a total of 222 characters for the meta description in this snippet, and none of the words is truncated.

This has once again proven that Google did some changes to its search results page. And Google not only made changes to the desktop titles. The titles and meta descriptions on mobile search have also increased and is even longer than the desktop.

Mobile

Google has increased the length of mobile titles from about 55-60 characters to 78 characters. So now the titles on mobile search have 7-8 characters more than the desktop titles.

The same goes for the meta descriptions. Mobile search used to have lesser room for meta descriptions than a desktop site, with a maximum of 130 characters. But if you search for a particular topic on mobile now, you’ll see that the meta descriptions have extended.

Let’s take a look at an example from the mobile search results.

Google Increases Titles and Meta Descriptions Length
Currently, the title displayed on mobile has 72 characters, and meta descriptions have 172 characters, which are longer than previously.

Comparing it to the titles and meta descriptions on desktop:

Google Increases Titles and Meta Descriptions Length
The same blog post; but Google only displayed 69 characters of the title and 144 characters of the meta description.

With these changes that we noticed on mobile search results, we think that it may be worth it to optimize your title tags for mobile if you have more visitors from mobile than desktop.

It is definitely interesting seeing Google adding the extra characters to both titles and meta descriptions in the desktop and mobile searches. But the decision on whether to increase the titles and meta descriptions length is still up to you.

Here’s a quick recap of the perfect title and meta description length for your web pages.

Our Thoughts?

These new changes may not be a bad thing, especially for those who were struggling within the title constraints. Furthermore, more characters equal to more LSI keywords that we can include in our titles and meta descriptions for it to be displayed in Google search results.

Because if you haven’t already, you should use LSI keywords in your meta descriptions to help Google know what your content is about.

After all, Google is now looking at understanding the total context rather than the keyword density. If everything is done right, you’ll see yourself at the top of the ranks!

Once again, while we strongly recommend adding in your primary and related keywords to your title and meta descriptions, do avoid spamming keywords and overusing them to prevent Google’s penalty.

Taking this opportunity, we’d like to recommend a keyword research tool that helps you find your best semantic keywords. It’s called BiQ SEO Suite. 

BiQ is the world’s first SEO suite that democratizes pricing and lets customer scale as their needs grow. You only need to pay for what you use and it offers a free tier plan that is more than sufficient for regular bloggers and SEO freelancers.  

More importantly, when it comes to identifying the keywords to optimize your title and meta description, you can find everything you need using BiQ’s Keyword Intelligence. 

You can easily get access to the much-needed keyword data like the total related keywords, search trend, volume, and search intent to identify the most profitable related keywords to include them in your meta description. 

An extra tip when writing your meta description is also to include popular questions as the first line in your description because not only are they relatable but often questions are easy to pique at our curiosity which most likely drives us to click. (You can find them on the same module too!)

Also, it’s important to note that making an edit to your title and meta description is a double-edged sword!

Though editing your meta description can result in an amazing 286% increase in traffic, it can also cause a suffer in website traffic when you fall out of certain keywords.

That’s why once you have edited your title and meta description, it’s very important to keep track of your ROI. 

Use BiQ’s Rank Tracking feature and start tracking the movements of your content’s across the SERP. 

Rank Tracking: Track Your SEO Performance Like a Boss

Voila, everything was done in a single platform. Of course, these are just the tip of the iceberg. Sign up for a BiQ free tier account and ALL the features it has to offer. 

Also, check out this meta description best practices written by the BiQ team that will show you through the whole process using their tool.

Your Thoughts?

What do you think of the title and meta descriptions length? Do you prefer it to be long or short? Do leave a comment down below and share your thoughts with us! I’ll update this space as I get new updates over time.

Are you ready to start overhauling your title and meta descriptions with SEO in mind? Spend 5 minutes on our SEO Quiz to test out your skills to make sure you’re on the right track! Test Your SEO Knowledge – SEOPressor

This post was originally written by Joanne and published on April 13, 2016. It was most recently updated on Sept 7, 2020

Your Best Practice Checklist for Writing SEO-ptimized Meta Descriptions

    Keep yourself reminded on the best practices for writing title and meta descriptions.
    Not just the length. Discover all the do's and don'ts to make sure you craft the perfect meta description.
    It's our complete checklist to getting 268% increase in traffic!

Updated: 30 November 2020

Winnie

About Winnie

Winnie is an aspiring copywriter & internet marketer in the vast world of digital marketing. She's as curious as she can be; constantly hunting for answers to her questions, never saying no to new experiences. When she's not spending her time typing up a storm, she is at home keeping up with her never-ending movie marathon & books.

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