For some of us that’s been watching Google closely these past few months, we all know that it seems like Google is having some rough time trying to make decisions and actually sticking to it.
Just last December, Google announced that they would be extending the meta description character limit to 320. And all the panicky companies and website owners did their best to extend their character limits like school children trying to finish essays on a time limit. Though real SEO’s never really needed to hit the 320 mark and just went with a character length only hitting the 200 character mark, many business minded people opted to write as much words as they can on each page they needed to tag. Competition these days among businesses is really heating up.
And lo and behold, Google then retracts back to a shorter character limit months later. Rendering all that preparation and panic writing useless.
But let us all step back and learn what meta descriptions are for and what you should really do.
Meta Descriptions are a summary of what the page’s content is all about. You can see that appear on search results.
Though these things never really contribute directly to the rankings, they do indeed help out in the CTR of a page. So in short it actually does in the end. SEO is like being in an argument with dorks. Everything has to to have a long and winding road going everywhere but still goes back to the same point. That’s why in SEO it’s vital to do your testing and experiments first before you jump to conclusions and follow everything you see online.
Now one of the main things you might know about meta descriptions is that you could insert a few keywords here. That is true. And is, when used correctly, very effective. Now you might go all crazy and stuff all your keywords on each and every meta description on every tag. Technically you can do that. But the effect will be massively hilarious most especially for your competitors.
Hence writing the same type of description for your pages is very dangerous. That’s right, you actually have to create a unique description for each of your pages. Trying to do SEO for your website also involves a bit of work.
When you plan on incorporating your keywords on these things, it’s very important that you pair up the keywords with the pages they are related to. If you have a keyword like “Cat Food”, a page that offers cat food or has cat food products that is being sold there, it’s pretty safe to assume that this is a good place to incorporate that keyword.
So how many characters is enough? Well, when you actually get to explore how the SERPS looks like these days, you’ll be able to see that it ranges from 200+ to 150+ There are blog pages that have descriptions that go past 150+ characters.
Then the normal ones usually has the shortened ones -150+ characters. So the safest limit is still the 150 character limit.
Lastly, after editing your descriptions and going through countless hours trying to come up with the greatest kind of meta description you can think of, you might start to wonder why your meta description doesn’t seem to be showing up on the search results.
In the end, Google still has control whether or not it will agree to display your meta description set up. Google chooses the best types of descriptions to display according to the specific search query. Where does it get these descriptions? From your site’s contents. That’s right. The importance of having the right kinds of contents still follows us here. So if you still cannot comprehend the fact that you need to have proper content on your pages, you will never last as long as your competitors.
The point with Meta Descriptions is that you should just honestly write and actually describe what the page it will be describing is all about. That’s it. If Google doesn’t use that all the time, that’s okay. Because it saw content that was related closely to a specific keyword. And it’s up to you to find these things out and refine your campaign instead of wasting time panicking about updates and changes.