Whether you’re a beginner in SEO or a seasoned pro, it’s important to keep up on how your pages will be displayed in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) across each engine. Every engine displays your page differently and depending on what you are trying to target there are different approaches to optimizing by engine. This article is not to tell you how to optimize your pages, it is merely to give you the current character count that is displayed for the Title Tags and Meta Descriptions for Google, Yahoo, Bing and Ask.com
A few years ago (2004), Yahoo would display up to 120 characters in the Title Tag. Can you believe it? So much has changed since then. Earlier this year, we had MSN. Now we have Bing. Do you know the proper meta description length displayed in Bing?
Google shows 69 Characters (Including Spaces) for Page Title.
Google shows 156 Characters (Including Spaces) for Meta Description.
It should also be known that if you don’t include a Meta Description or if Google feels a better description for your page could be given by using a web snippet, then the description shown can be up to 320 characters. Of course, they won’t be the characters that you choose so they might not best represent what you wish your audience to see in the SERP’s.
Also, check out SEO Tidbits to see a Google engineer explain why Google does not use Meta key words at all.
It appears that Yahoo shows up to 72 Characters (Including Spaces) for a Page Title. (PDF’s up to 75 characters)
Yahoo shows up to 161 Characters (Including Spaces) for Meta Description.
According to the Bing Webmaster Blog:
Bing shows 65 Characters (Including Spaces) for a Page Title Tag.
Bing shows up to 150 Characters (Including Spaces) for Meta Description Tag.
However, as you can see in the example above, Bing will readily show 69 characters for the Title Tag and up to 185 for the description.
Ask shows 69 Characters (Including Spaces) for an SEO Page Title.
It appears that Ask.com pulls a snippet of text from the page and can commonly display around 312 characters for a description.