Posted on 2/18/2015 in Digital Marketing

By Dean Dorazio


As search engines advance, they are delivering more information to users within the results (never requiring that people travel to a website). Ensure that your customers have access to all the necessary information about your company within the search by measuring the length of your titles and meta descriptions, elements visible in search engine results pages (SERPS).

Character counts are often used to measure title tags and meta descriptions. These on-page SEO elements should not be truncated in SERPs. Social media expert Joe Gill describes modern day SEOs as word surgeons when crafting these pieces of copy.

Search Engine Result Page with arrows pointing to Title Tags and Meta Descriptions

While this method is a good rule of thumb, it ignores the fact that characters are different sizes. For example: Below is a sequence of W’s and I’s.

WWWWWWWWWW

IIIIIIIIII

Both have exactly 10 characters, but the sequence of I’s are much shorter than the W’s. To combat this problem, you can measure the title and meta description lengths using Pixel Width Limits. They reduce the subjectivity of character counts by providing a more exact dimension.

ScreamingFrog is one of our favorite software tools and a credible authority in the SEO industry. The product crawls websites similar to a search engine to provide response codes, pixel lengths, and other detailed information for web presence specialists. The company tested many title tags and meta descriptions to determine the length of truncation. They found the following measurements to be true for title tags and meta descriptions:

  • Desktop Title: 482px Description: 928px
  • Mobile Title: 550px Description: 757px
  • Tablet Title: 550px Description: 1035px

For the Mac

  • Title: 482px Description: 928px
  • Mobile: Title: 552px Description: 763px
  • Tablet: Title: 552px Description: 1040px

Screaming Frog’s crawl of your website produces a file you can download into excel, where you can sort and measure these pixel width limits. Set up your Excel document prior to conducting your next round of keyword maintenance.

[caption id="attachment_993" align="aligncenter" width="685"]

Meta Description pixel width

Above is Screaming Frogs version of monitoring Characters and Pixel Width Limits.[/caption]

Before you rule out a clever title or meta description because of excessive characters, remember you have one more test to run!


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