Meta Description Length Testing Tool

In September we wrote about how title tags are measured in Google search results. We also released an accompanying title tag testing tool based on our findings.

We received wonderful feedback from the community, and even a couple of requests for a meta description length testing toolso we made one!

About This Tool

We followed the same method as we did when we created the page title testing tool — which meant we first had to measure the pixel width of each individual character as it appeared in Google search results.

One difference to consider with meta descriptions is the addition of boldness to keywords, something that Google does if a word matches the initial search query. This can increase the pixel width of a letter such as B, from 8.72px to 8.94 pixels.

Surprisingly, boldness can even decrease the size. Take the letter E for example: with no font weight applied, it measures 7.97 pixels wide, but when bold the width decreases to 7.88 pixels. 

We gathered both variants and used them in our calculations to help us find the ideal meta description length before truncation occurs.

Here is the key we used to help with these calculations:

Letters

CharacterPixel WidthBold Pixel Width
A9.149.42
B8.728.94
C9.139.17
D9.119.19
E7.977.88
F7.757.67
G9.559.55
H9.989.91
I3.814.09
J7.737.83
K98.89
L7.557.59
M12.2312.27
N9.989.89
O9.639.67
P8.849.03
Q9.639.67
R8.638.94
CharacterPixel WidthBold Pixel Width
a7.637.52
b7.867.89
c7.337.31
d7.917.89
e7.427.58
f4.885.03
g7.868
h7.727.84
i3.413.72
j3.343.64
k7.117.48
l3.413.72
m12.2812.13
n7.737.84
o7.987.92
p7.867.89
q7.977.92
r4.755.11

Numbers

CharacterPixel WidthBold Pixel Width
17.888.05
27.888.05
37.888.05
47.888.05
57.888.05
67.888.05
77.888.05
87.888.05
97.888.05
07.888.05

Punctuation

CharacterPixel WidthBold Pixel Width
|3.423.55
«6.587
»6.567
à7.637.52
ô7.987.92
7.888.05
À9.149.42
È7.977.88
Ê7.977.88
É7.977.88
é7.427.58
è7.427.58
ê7.427.58
9.198.86
3.885.44
:3.393.95
<7.137.13
>7.337.23
@12.5812.53
[3.723.89
]3.723.89
`4.334.64
~9.539.08
2.83.28
®11.0210.98
©1110.98
!3.613.81
4.484.5
#8.638.34
£8.148.33
$7.888.05
%10.2710.34
&8.79.19
2.452.27
(4.84.92
)4.884.94
*6.036.34
+7.947.66
,2.753.42
.3.694.08
/5.785.23
5.755.91
;2.973.67
=7.698.02
?6.636.97
^5.866.13
_6.336.25
{4.754.63
}4.754.63
2.883.2
1414
10.510.5

Google also counts the width of empty space between characters, which measures out to a pixel width of 3.47 with no font weight and 3.5px if bold.

Our Recommendation

While there are no ranking benefits to an optimized meta description, they can be helpful with earning the click of an interested searcher.

As with page titles, you’ll want to make sure your meta description is free from truncation to help provide full context for the reader.

Based on all of the information we looked at, the boundaries that we think are safest to work within are between 115-130 characters and/or between 670px – 770px

Some meta descriptions can go beyond the threshold above and still display in their entirety, but we have taken into account the possible fluctuations of width should two or three words become bold.

With both the character count and object width values in mind, you can find a perfect balance for meta description writing.

If you happen to make use of the Meta Description Length Testing Tool, we’d love to hear about anything interesting that stands out for you.

Let us know in the comments!

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