Debate about the importance of meta descriptions rolls on

Filed under: Website optimisation > On-page

As we reported in SEO you need to know last month, there’s some confusion in the SEO industry about meta descriptions – that’s the text that appears in the snippet below the page title and url on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) – and how long they need to be. To quickly recap, the guideline until recently was that these should be 160-165 characters, until this was doubled towards the end of last year. Recently Google suggested that they would be generated dynamically – which basically meant that no-one was clear any longer on how long they need to be!

As you can imagine this generated much consternation, and SEO’s peppered Google with questions about this, pointing out that in the Search Console, there are guidelines about length of meta descriptions (see the HTML Improvements section – screenshot below). Google were quick to say that these guidelines may not be carried through to the new Search Console platform, which is still in Beta with a limited number of features carried across to date.

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