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Maximum Length for Meta Description and Page Title

Published to Blog on 20 Apr 2008

I was asked a couple of questions during my SEO for ASP.NET Developers presentation that I didn't have an answer for at the time.

Q. What is the maximum length for the Meta Description field for a web page?

A. I've read in several places over the years that 260 (or 255) is the maximum character for the Meta Description, but that you should strive for closer to 150 characters because search engines ignore anything over that.

However, this evening I found an "official" answer on the Google Webmaster Help Google Group that was linked to from the Google Webmaster Central Blog:
http://groups.google.com/group/Google_Webmaster_Help-Indexing/browse_thread/thread/7c5dc8cbb5f07dcd

Apparently it doesn't matter what the length of the Meta Description is as long as Google thinks it's relevant. One point to note, though, is that Google will only display the first 150 characters in the search results listing.

As a side note, the post that linked to above, http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2007/09/improve-snippets-with-meta-description.html, does a great job at describing a concept that I discussed during my presentation - that the Meta Description is a great place for wordsmithing exactly what you want to be displayed in the search results. One interesting and humorous quote that stresses the point I made:

For larger database-driven sites... programmatic generation of the descriptions can be appropriate and is encouraged -- just make sure that your descriptions are not "spammy." Good descriptions are human-readable and diverse.

Q. What is the maximum length for the Page Title field for a web page?

A. While I could not find an "official" answer as good as the one above for the Meta Description field I was able to find an answer by doing a little bit of investigation of my own.

After doing some Google searches for various random terms I found that the maximum number displayed was 66 characters. I suspect that like the Meta Description there is no true maximum, but based on Google only showing 66 characters there is an effective maximum. So my advice is to try to stay under 66 characters but if you have to go over then make sure the keywords you are targeting for the page are within the first 66 so they show up in the Google listing.


Dan Hounshell
Web geek, nerd, amateur maker. Likes: apis, node, mobile, motorcycles, watches, food, Nashville, Savannah, Cincinnati and family. Dislikes: mean people
Dan Hounshell on Twitter


  • On 22 Apr 2008 James Shaw said:

    Close. 64 characters is the recommended maximum for page title. :)

  • On 2 May 2008 Justin Kohnen said:

    All great information Dan. Thanks for doing all the leg work on this. I really got a lot from your presentation and it's already started to help me with my SEO.

  • On 5 May 2008 Dan Hounshell said:

    Thanks, Justin. That's great news! I might have to include that tidbit the next time I do the presentation.

  • On 20 Dec 2008 Stuart said:

    Hi dan found this article/your site through a Google search on Page Title length for Google SERPS.

    I have allways worked to 66 for title and 150 for Description as this is what I found is max "normaly" displayed in Google SERPS, (just through my own researching and experiments), I have also seen some very slight increases sometimes but as rule of thumb I stick to these numbers, to be safe.

    I am just writing some at the moment for a new SEO campaign and was wondering if I could squeeze a bit more into them, lol, after reading your advise above and seeing it's exactly what I've been using I think I'll just stick with that. :D

    Thanks, Stuart.

  • On 3 Jan 2009 Central America Forum said:

    The title for this site linked Central America Forum is 69 chars and seems to do fine in all search engines at present.

  • On 6 Mar 2009 redtube said:

    thanks for the info

  • On 16 Mar 2009 williams said:

    Google shows 156 Characters(Including Spaces) for Meta Description and 69 Characters(Including Spaces) for Page Title.

  • On 12 Apr 2009 web design said:

    nice post. the title is rreally important for SEO. so dont ignore it.

  • On 5 May 2009 Egypt said:

    I think 150 characters is ok.. If google doesn't read so It will not show

  • On 12 May 2009 pond biz mag said:

    Thanks for the info. This was one of the first results I found when searching for max length of page title. Just the right info that I was looking for. Thanks.

  • On 22 Jun 2009 Martin said:

    Great info, I was told that TITLE tags can be 80, but I will take your advice and stick to 66.

    Thanks

  • On 18 Aug 2009 Improfane said:

    I trim 150 words characters or 50 words from page content, whichever comes sooner. I have avoided the cut of from leaving half a word. Do you think it's worth cutting to the punctuation?

    Do search engines even analyse the meta description?

    This captcha on this website is easily broken if you get a 'please type in'.

    Thanks for the article.

  • On 30 Aug 2009 Search Engine Optimisation Brisbane said:

    Title: 66

    Description: 160

  • On 1 Dec 2009 Joseph said:

    Does anyone know what number of characters will validate?

  • On 2 Dec 2009 Angela Liang said:

    it's useful to me.

    and i found an article about the page title:

    www.w3.org/.../TITLE.html

    it says "The title should ideally be less than 64 characters in length."

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