Google answers if meta description matters for ranking seo

Google answers if meta description matters for ranking Google search console

Google’s John Mueller answered the question about whether a meta description can be used to influence the search rankings.

It’s a good question because Google advises using unique meta descriptions on web pages. So there is some kind of influence but is that influence related to rankings? John Mueller answers that question.

Meta Element

The meta tag is formally known as a meta element. The meta element is used to describe (represent) document-level information about a web page.

In order to describe different properties of the web page, the meta element (like all HTML elements) has attributes that kind of extend the meta element so that it can provide a specific kind of information to a web browser or to a web crawler (like Googlebot).

For example:

  • meta name=” viewport”
  • meta HTTP-equiv=” refresh”
  • *meta name=”google-site-verification”
  • meta name=”googlebot” content=”notranslate”

Meta element data is information that is not meant for site visitors to directly see (although it can be seen indirectly via the search results).

Meta Description

The W3C is the standards-making body responsible for defining HTML (among other things)

The official W3C specification for the meta description tag says that the meta description is designed for use by search engines.

Google’s Use of Meta Descriptions

Google’s documentation of snippets notes that meta descriptions are used for generating search results snippets.

If a meta description is properly used then the meta description displayed in the search results will communicate to the potential website visitor what the page is about and give them an idea of what to expect if they click the link and visit the website.


There is no limit on how long a meta description can be.

However, there is a limit on how much meta description search engines will choose to show. The limit is defined by how much can be shown on the user’s browser device.

Does Google Use Meta Description for Ranking?

The person asking the question was specifically asking about adding location name information to the meta description and if it would help rankings.

Google’s John Mueller answered with a broader scope than just adding the location name, his answer was about whether anything in the meta description affected rankings.

Meta Description and SEO

There’s a lot to know about HTML meta elements and this question is a good example of the value of understanding HTML and how they are used by browsers and search engines.

Understanding the background information about meta elements and the meta description tag, in particular, helps build a better understanding of how all the pieces fit together for SEO.

Does Meta Description Matter for Rankings?

Watch John Mueller answered the question at the 26:47 mark in the video:


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