[updated January 2018]
Lately, I have been getting many calls from businesses concerned with optimizing the back-end data of their website called the META. This data is helpful in informing search engines and viewers alike about the pages of a website.
These calls have typically concerned the technical aspect of META Tags with questions ranging from “are we properly keyword optimized?” to “are we within character limits for our META elements?”.
I think I have written enough recently on keyword research & keyword optimization, so I’ll jump right to the mysterious side of META Tags, and character count limits as they impact search engine optimization.
Let me start by saying many of the character limitations you read/hear about aren’t actually character count limitations at all, but rather pixel limitations. Different letters and numbers occupy more/less pixel space than others (think of “i/I” vs. “w/W”). It can seem overly complicated to measure text in pixels– so character counts have been overly simplified and used as the standard. It is for this reason you typically see number-ranges instead of hard-set numbers when researching the topic. So character counts it is.
And also be aware that character counts are mainly best practice SEOsuggestions – so don’t assume that nailing these will instantly drive more traffic to your website, by itself – it will not. But they should certainly be considered when assessing which of the 200-ish website SEO signals of your website you need to modify in order to improve your visibility and rank.
So without further ado – here’s our top 6 elements to consider taken directly from our META Data SEO Cheat Sheet we use in-house for character count consideration.
Used wisely and with discretion, the information below will aid in fine-honing your website’s search engine optimization elements and help to signal more traffic to your site. Note: limits expressed include characters & spaces.
META-Title 30 min > 70 max characters (updated Jan 2018)
META-Description 70 min > 320 max characters (updated Jan 2018)
META-Keywords (stop using these - they don't work any longer)
H-Tags 70 characters max
URL length 115 characters max
Image Alt Attribute 100 characters max