How Long Does It Take For Meta Descriptions To Update?

by Terry Williams • updated August 08, 2022

Quick: Describe the content on your website in 158 characters or less.

It sounds simple, but writing meta descriptions (also known as meta tags) can be tricky; you need to strike a balance between captivating your reader and describing the relevancy of your page for search engines. The same goes for title tags (or meta titles), which are like headlines for your website. 

You already know that title tags and meta descriptions are important; they can…

  • Increase your click-through rate.
  • Tell search engines what your content is about.
  • Help your site stand out in Google search results.

Once you write a shiny new meta description for your website, you might wonder how long you’ll have to wait until it updates.

In most cases, it takes 1-2 weeks for meta tags to change. If you’re wondering what factors affect that time and how to get your website indexed more often, keep reading! I’m going to cover everything you need to know about updating meta descriptions: 

Table of Contents

  1. How To Get Your Meta Description Reindexed Fast
  2. How To Write a Good Meta Description and Page Title
  3. Proper Length
  4. Proper Keywords
  5. Using Jasper.ai To Write Meta Descriptions
  6. Google Rewrites Meta Descriptions
  7. Getting Rich Snippets in the Meta Description 
  8. Conclusion

How To Get Your Meta Description Re-indexed Fast

Don’t feel like waiting 2 weeks for your meta tags to update? No problem—We’ve got a few tricks you can use. 

The first tip is to update your website content regularly. Fresh content will encourage Google to crawl your website more often. Try to upload content regularly, whether it’s blogs or recent projects you’ve completed. 

You can also manually request indexing. To do so, go to Google Search Console and submit your URL. Select the button that says “Request indexing”. This won’t get your website crawled instantly, but if you have good site authority, it can help speed up the process. 

Next, be sure to interlink to other pages on your website. For example, if you’ve just updated the meta tag for your home page, link to that page in your next blog post. 

With a high-quality website, fresh content, and the right amount of domain authority, your site might be re-indexed in just a few minutes. 

How To Write a Good Meta Description and Page Title

Here’s a tip: The better your meta description is, the more likely Google is to use it.

That’s right—sometimes, Google might choose not to use your meta description. But more on that later. For now, I’m going to cover how you can write better meta descriptions and page titles. 

Writing good descriptions and titles is a balance of art and science. Let’s get started:

Meta descriptions

You only have about 150 characters to convince readers to click your page (and tell Google what it’s about). So, you have to make each word count!

First of all, make it catchy. Concise. And compelling. Otherwise, users will keep scrolling and wind up on your competitor’s site. Don’t just summarize the content on the page—tell readers why they should care about it. 

Secondly, don’t force keywords into the description if they don’t make sense. It’s better to have an accurate meta tag that connects with readers than one that sounds like it was written by a robot. 

If possible, try to insert your keywords near the beginning of your description, and avoid using the same keywords more than once.

Title tags

Now it’s time to write a stand-out title tag. To do so, you need to leverage the unique selling points of your business.

What differentiates your website from your competitors? Do you have great Google reviews? What unique promotions do you offer? Do you have any guarantees? Try to describe these qualities in as few words as possible. 

Next, let’s talk about formatting. Use title case with your page titles (Which Looks Like This). Stay away from all caps—it’s too jarring for most readers. 

Proper Length

There’s a lot of debate when it comes to the right length for title tags or meta descriptions. That’s because Google is constantly changing its character length limits. It’s time to set the record straight:

Meta descriptions are measured by pixels. The current limit is 920 pixels, which translates to roughly 158 characters. If your description is longer than this, it will be truncated with an ellipsis. Keep in mind that on mobile devices, the limit is even shorter (about 120 characters, or 680 pixels). To prevent your meta tag from getting cut off, try to keep it between 120-150 characters. 

Title tags have a limit of 600 pixels; that’s equivalent to 50-60 characters. Make sure your title tag is short, descriptive, and eye-catching.

Need to check the length of your meta description or title tag? Try this Meta Length Checker tool. Simply paste in your text, and you can see if it’s the right length (plus a preview of how it will look in search engine results). 

Proper Keywords

First, let’s clear up what kinds of keywords you should use. You’re probably tracking two types:

  • Primary keywords are more competitive but get the highest search volume. This is what people usually look up when searching for your products or business. Ex) “dentist near me” or “residential painting service”.
  • Secondary keywords are long-tail variations on your primary keywords; since they’re less competitive, they’re easier to rank for.

In your title tags and meta descriptions, we recommend using your primary keywords first and foremost. Only use your secondary keywords when it fits in naturally with the content. You don’t want to run the risk of writing a keyword-stuffed title or description. 

Using Jasper.ai To Write Meta Descriptions

Writing one or two meta descriptions is no big deal. But what if you run an e-commerce site with hundreds of product pages?

Your time might be better spent elsewhere. Instead of spending hours on meta descriptions, use an AI assistant instead. Jasper.ai is one of the most popular writing assistants. You can use this tool to quickly generate hundreds of meta descriptions. 

Once they’re written, you can read them over to double-check that they include your primary keyword, accurately reflect your content, and fit within the character limits.

Google Rewrites Meta Descriptions

As we mentioned earlier, Google might choose to use its own meta description instead of the one you wrote. Why is that?

A recent study revealed that Google rewrites meta descriptions 62.78% of the time! That means a majority of meta descriptions get re-written, even after all that effort you put into writing them. Even so, it’s worth your while to craft a well-written meta description. There’s still a chance Google might use it, and if you’ve done a good job, you can increase your relevancy for your targeted search terms.

A few reasons why Google might rewrite your meta title or description include:

  • The description doesn’t accurately describe the page content.
  • The re-written description is a better match for the search query.
  • The description is too long or stuffed with keywords.

Getting Rich Snippets in the Meta Description 

Wish you could display more data than a measly 150-character description? With rich snippets, you can. 

A snippet is the page title, meta tag, and URL of your website that appears on search engine result pages. A rich snippet includes additional information. Since these snippets stand out from other search results, they tend to get a higher click-through rate. 

There are many different types of rich snippets. Depending on your industry and the purpose of your website, you can use rich snippets to increase your CTR. A few of the most popular types include:

  • Star rating. Want to boast about your 5-star reviews? Display your review score directly in search results with this rich snippet.
  • Product markup. Display the price, inventory status, and images of a product that you sell.
  • Recipes. This structured data allows you to show images, the time it takes, and reviews of a dish.

To add a rich snippet, you need to add schema markup to your website. You can use a plugin or a website to streamline the process for you. Find the type of rich snippet you want, generate the code, and put it on your website. Once you’ve found what you’re looking for, use the Google Structured Snippets Tool to check for any errors in your code.

Conclusion

Follow this guide to ensure your meta descriptions and title tags are updated as fast as possible. By optimizing your meta tags, you can ensure a higher click-through rate and tell search engines what your content is all about. With these tips in mind, you can write compelling (and optimized) meta descriptions with ease.

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