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Thread: Meta tag length

  1. #1
    Destiny Manager Plebius's Avatar
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    Can somebody remind me how many characters are allowed in the meta description tag? Is it 255?

    thanks.

  2. #2
    Kat's Meow Senior ******* WebKat's Avatar
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    As no one had answered your question and figured you had found the answer by now <grin>, I decided to read more about Meta Tags at various resource sites and surprisingly found that there are many different character/words limits depending upon the website that you visit - and increasingly the emphasis is on the content/page text rather than the meta tags themselves...as you can see with these three different opinions!

    1. "Keep your keywords meta-tag length between 200 and 500 characters"
    2. "The keywords can include up to 1000 characters of text"
    3. "Maximum Recommended Keyword Tag Length: 874 Characters"

    From clicking around I didn't realize that "META Tags do not take precedence (on Alta Vista....)" and "Excite - Understanding Meta Tags" doesn't 'honor' meta keywords either in indexing sites but rather uses the meta description. This does not mean at all that Meta Tags - title, keywords or description - should be treated with less importance or not incorporated into your site, as search engines also use Meta Tags in addition to your page text while indexing your site...

    Meta Tag Generators that I have used also had different character limits such as:

    1. Scrub the Web - "META Keywords Tag: Our recommended maximum number of characters for this tag is 874" and "META Description Tag: Our recommended maximum number of characters for this tag is 150"

    2. or at Meta Scan their limits are the following - "Title: 100 characters; Description: 255 characters; Keywords: 255 characters"

    To answer your question, it seems that 255 characters is the 'relative' standard (and one I always used) but different search engines have different criteria, some going by characters instead of words or using page text exclusively. Some allow a maximum of about 1100 characters, some less. If you exceed their limit, you may jeopardize your chance of being listed - so best check each search engines requirements first - and it is best to manually submit using each of their specific requirements.

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  3. #3
    SitePoint Zealot Website Rob's Avatar
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    Good post WebKat, and you were bang-on about the different search engines having different criteria. What gets an excellent ranking with one, could get you banned from another!

    Being as Web Page Optimizing is one the services I provide, I know how much work it takes, to do it properly. This is an area where I have found that a good Rule of Thumb (RoT) is handy to have and from experience, have found that the following works pretty good with "all" Search Engines:

    Page Title: 60 characters
    Description: 200 characters
    Keywords: 12 - 15 words or phrases (character max. 1000)

    Using this RoT helps a person to get into the habit of creating "Search Engine Friendly" pages, without having to think about it. The page can be structured so that the Keywords will zing a page to some pretty high rankings, with alot of the Search Engines. Some people forget that Keywords must have relevence to the words in the page. Having the heading of a page coded in any size HEADING tag, will also help the page rank higher with most Search Engines.

    I agree that when focusing on getting a high ranking, with a specific Search Engine, it is best check each Search Engine's requirements and code the page accordingly. An excellent online to tool is MetaMedic and scroll all-the-way down, to the bottom of the page, to find the input area.

    Although it has it's own RoT, it does help a person understand how the Search Engines view a page. It shows how your page looks, with and without the use of meta tags and will give some pointers on your Meta tags.

  4. #4
    SitePoint Zealot SoldierMail's Avatar
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    I would suggest going to http://www.SubmitCorner.com they have a lot of tools for promotion and go over every since meta tag code.

  5. #5
    Destiny Manager Plebius's Avatar
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    Thanks for the great replies!

    I guess I'll just cut off my description tags at 200 characters.


  6. #6
    SitePoint Zealot
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    Each search engine has differnet meta tag criteria. Safe bet is try to limit your desc. in 128 characters or/and 25-30 words.
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  7. #7
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    Would you guys and gals know where I could find the extensive detail about meta tag of the major search engines. What I'm really looking for is the information about the lengths of title, description, and keywords of the major search engines spider. I remember seeing these information at searchenginewatch.com but I could not find that info any longer. I think they've removed that page already if I am not mistaken.

    I really appreciate if anyone could point the link directly or post a site related to my inquiry. Thanks!

  8. #8
    AdSpeed.com Son Nguyen's Avatar
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    You could go to altavista.com and read about their policy.

    I think other SEs also have their policy on meta tags.
    - Son Nguyen
    AdSpeed.com - Ad Serving and Ad Management Made Easy

  9. #9
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    Thanks!

    Any other site which have all the info about lengths of meta tags of all major search engines?

  10. #10
    SitePoint Zealot JK_Bowman's Avatar
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    Editor, J.K. Bowman
    Spider-Food.net

  11. #11
    SitePoint Zealot JK_Bowman's Avatar
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    Oh....

    Danny Sullivan also has great info on his site about this but I believe it is in the subscribers area.
    Editor, J.K. Bowman
    Spider-Food.net

  12. #12
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    Thanks for the link JKB!


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