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#1363980 by Bill from Talos IV
Wed Feb 01, 2017 5:05 pm
I started using BING Webmaster Tools this week, and the the SEO Reports section found my site had several HTML problems. BING tells me that about 120 of my pages have META descriptions that are too long (or short), and that the issue "Severity" rating is "High".

BING's preferred description length is 25 to 160 characters. However with Analyze It! the description cutoff length is 200 characters. Why the discrepancy? And should I continue editing all the descriptions to BING's standards?

#1363991 by Mary from Mico
Wed Feb 01, 2017 6:04 pm
Hi Bill,

I've wondered about this, too. I usually try to keep mine below 150 to 160; but sure might have a few that are greater. I remember reading that at BWT years ago and may have written here about it. I've tried searching for that conversation with several terms, but haven't found it yet.

I'll post here if I find it.

#1363997 by Will from Los Ojos
Wed Feb 01, 2017 7:58 pm
Hi Bill,

I know this might sound flippant, but it's not meant to be. Try putting some searches into Google to see how many characters get returned. Or if you get more traffic from Bing vs Google, do the same exercise on Bing. I don't think there will be a lot of difference between them.

I count the characters with my Word Processor (it's just a copy and paste, and then a hot key) and Google returned anywhere between 160 to 260 characters.

The keyword I entered was "dry rub barbecue cooking"

This is the number 4 result on page 1. ... rub-242244


That's 265 characters, but it's an exception. Most are around 160, maybe up to 200 characters in length.

If you look at the View Source, Google has made it's own description up for that entry because the one in the code is

"OK, this is ground zero—the ur American basic barbecue rub. Use it on ribs, pork shoulders, chickens—anything you want to taste like American barbecue."

Google didn't like that, and supplied its own description instead.

So, it's not set in stone. The basic idea is to write a Description that will entice the visitor to click through. That's it, the number 1 reason for a description.

Do some checking in the Google SERPS to see what you find.

#1364157 by Mike from
Fri Feb 03, 2017 4:05 am
The discrepancy is due to inconsistencies across search and social platforms in terms of character limits.

Will is right with regard to making sure that the description helps entice the reader, but I'd recommend trying to keep within 160 characters. Aside from getting rid of annoying warnings, if a platform uses the correct description, and you've kept it limited, you can rest assured that it will display entirely.

Keep in mind they're pulled for Google and Bing search results, as well as Facebook shares, Tweets, Pins, LinkedIn & even Google+ link previews.

From a reader perspective, it's probably best to be as brief and to the point as you can, demonstrating why they'd want to click through to your page or site.
#1364178 by Bill from Talos IV
Fri Feb 03, 2017 3:24 pm
Hey Will, Mike,

I compared BING and Google search results for one of my pages and found that both trimmed off the end of a slightly long description. Google cut more off of the description, and the description for the following result was MUCH longer. I didn't check, but it looks like Google pulled that description from the body of the page.

[Image Private]

[Image Private]

Google seems to choose how much space to allow for the description on a site by site, or page by page basis. I agree that it would be best to write descriptions that are concise but on the short side, 160 characters or less. And if longer, to make sure the best of the description is within the first 160 characters.

And even though BING webmaster tools warns that a lot of my pages have over-length descriptions, it also shows me that most of those pages still rank fairly well, around position 6 on the first page of BING results. But then, shortening the descriptions might bump them up a position or two. I downloaded the page rankings from BWT this morning, and will check in the future to see of the edited descriptions helped with BING.

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