Long Meta Descriptions Test: lkdsxcvaqeqoiu and lkjiqweuwvjfgj
It's been a while since I've looked at something as basic as meta descriptions. But with search engines constantly changing I think it's good to look back on what you think you know to confirm it's true. So today I'm looking at long meta descriptions. Particularly, I want to answer the question of whether Google will use the part of a meta description that is beyond their 155 or so character cut-off if that part is actually a better match for the user's search. I propose to do this by:
- Writing a meta description for this page that contains two complete sentences.
- One sentence will fit within the cutoff point and the second sentence will reside mostly beyond the cut off.
- Both sentences will contain a "word" of letters not currently returning results on Google. Each word will be different.
- The words won't appear anywhere else in the page.
- Use the two words in the title since meta descriptions aren't ranking factors (a test for another day).
Results to Look For
- Searches for the first phrase return a listing that includes the meta description since it's the only match on the page.
- Searches for the second phrase return a listing that includes the second part of the meta description that goes beyond the cutoff point i.e. the first part of the meta description will be cut.
Assuming I don't get filtered by our good friend the Panda, results should appear in a few days. Please don't use either of the phrases in comments to this post.
Update: April 20, 2011
Apparently Google likes this site more than I expected. This page has already been indexed and is ranking for both of the words I used in the meta description. As of today, the first word triggers the meta description as expected. However, the second keyword does NOT trigger any part of the meta description beyond the cut-off. Instead, the meta description displayed is the same as the when the first word is searched for.
SERP for First Word
SERP for Second Word
Update: June 22, 2011
Thanks to Mark Jackson for pointing out that the listing in Google has changed to show the second half of the meta description. Google was also smart enough to find the beginning of the second sentence and start the listing from that point so the snippet actually looks good.