Google Rewrites Meta Descriptions Over 70% of the Time

September 29, 2020

Google Rewrites Meta Descriptions Over 70% of the Time

Google rewrites meta depictions for pages over 70% of the time, as indicated by a recent report examining search results for 30,000 keywords.

Portent analyzed mobile and desktop search results to discover Google rewrites meta descriptions at a pace of 71% on mobile, and 68% on desktop.

Based on the data, it’s sensible to deduct that Google will use a page’s own meta description around 30% of the time.

Meta Description Rewrite Rate via Search Position

Information from the study focuses basically around the first page of organic search results, excluding featured snippets.

Potent notes there’s a bump in the pace of meta descriptions rewrites from positions 4 to 6, which might be because of Google attempting to boost relevance of those results.

“I speculate that since positions 1-3 get the most click-through rate, Google might be trying to boost the relevance for 4-6 to get more clicks before users leave the page or search for something else.”

So meta descriptions are probably going to be rewritten more regularly relying upon where the pages rank.

Meta Description Rewrite Rate by Search Volume

Trends were seen while looking at the relationship between rewrite rate and search volume.

Notably, the higher the search volume, the less likely Google is to rewrite the meta depiction.

Portent speculates this is because SEOs organize writing meta descriptions for keywords with the most search every month.

“So why do we see this relationship? I think it’s because SEOs tend to focus on writing meta descriptions for head terms more than the long-tail…

You’re probably not hyper-focusing on the 10 searches per month terms, and they probably vary too much to even target with any one description.”

Meta Description Display Length


Another factor that can differ when it come to meta descriptions is the number of characters Google decides to show.

On desktop, it was discovered that displayed characters peak at 156 and drop off sharply after 165.

That number could drop to around 142 characters if a date is shown in the snippet.

When Google revises the meta depiction it’s probably going to show between 160 to 167 characters. With dates, the range is between 147 to 149 characters.

Obviously, Google is giving itself more space to work with when writing meta depictions than it provides for site owners.


On mobile, displayable characters for snippets without a publication date peak at 118 and drop off after 121.

Meta description length on mobile for snippets with a publication date fall somewhere between 95 to 105 characters.

When Google rewrites the meta description on mobile it will show around 114 to 121 characters. With dates, the range is between 99 to 105 characters.


What can SEOs do with this new information about meta descriptions?

This is what Portent suggests:

Keep meta descriptions somewhere in the range of 150 and 160 characters for regular pages.

Keep meta descriptions for blog posts between 138 to 148 characters (and other pages with publication dates).

Despite Google utilizing site proprietors’ meta descriptions just 30% of the time, it’s significant not to abandon on writing them.

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