This Is How Often Google Rewrites Meta Descriptions

SEO companies and webmasters already know that meta descriptions are not considered as a ranking factor. However, they can garner more clicks, which results in more traffic.

Despite this, it can be noted that Google does not only take the hardcoded meta description. Sometimes, it looks for a different snippet from your webpage.

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If you have spent some time writing an engaging meta description, this can be annoying.

However, how often does this happen?

To answer this question, a comparison of hardcoded meta descriptions with the actual Google desktop snippets for 25,000 keywords was completed.

But first, it is quite interesting to know that 25.02% of high ranking pages do not have meta descriptions.

top ranking pages

Proportion of URLs

If you are wondering, the Spearman correlation here is 0.28. This can be considered weak.

But for those with descriptions, how often will they appear?

Google is rewriting meta descriptions 62.78% of the time

Yes, for the most of search results, Google rewrites meta descriptions.

Google Rewrites

Though this is quite telling, it is always more useful to divide the data. That number soars to 65.62% for long-tails and drops to 59.65% for fat-head.

Ahrefs hypothesised that Google would produce a description more often for long-tail keyphrases.

This was based on the fact that the standard first-page result results for hundreds of keywords and phrases, along with the hardcoded descriptions, are usually written based on the main “head” keyword.

As an example, Ahrefs focused on the primary keyword “youtube keyword tools” and created the meta description focused on that.

As a result, Google showed the hardcoded description in the results for the target keyword:

YouTube Keyword Tools

However, this is not the case for some of the long-tail keywords the post ranks for:

YouTube Keyword Research

The reason behind this activity is because the hardcoded description is not that relevant for that long-tails. That’s why Google is inclined to pick its own snippet.

But Ahrefs found something surprising.

While Google will most likely rewrite meta descriptions for long-tail keywords, it’s only by a small margin.


According to Ahrefs, they are expecting that this gap will increase as time passes. This is because Google is improving on understanding search intent and generating the most relevant search snippets subsequently.

As a disclaimer, Ahrefs says that their methodology for this is not perfect. They clarified that there’s no way to determine long-tails and fat-heads with accurate certainty.

Google is slightly less likely to edit truncated meta descriptions

Google truncates very long meta descriptions.

Technical SEO

However, does this have an impact on the chance of Google replacing them? In short, is Google more likely to produce its own snippet for very long meta descriptions?

Here is the data:


The results are quite equal. Google rewrote 61.46% of meta descriptions which are very long and 63.69% of the rest.

Remarkably, it appears that putting meta descriptions within limits does not have that much impact on when Google will rewrite them.

This is because you can find long descriptions almost anywhere on the Internet. 40.61% of 192,656 unique pages’ descriptions that Ahrefs studied were very long.

Meta Descriptions

Is writing meta descriptions still important?

Yes. Interesting and relevant meta descriptions garner clicks, so writing them is still advisable, despite the fact that they only appear 37% of the time only.

  • Already get organic traffic
  • Are likely get shared on social media (for this, meta descriptions will be utilised for the social snippet description, in case the OG tags are not present)
  • Were created to rank in Google

Considering this strategy should have the most impact without doing that much.

What We Know About Google My Business Allowing Businesses To Be Tagged As Temporarily Closed

Sometime last week, the search engine said that Google Search and Maps would start showing whether a business is temporarily shut down amidst the coronavirus crisis. Before this, they released a directive to local businesses to update all relevant content, especially hours, in Google My Business.

Questions about “opening hours” started trending since many are trying to find out which nearby businesses are still open and what their current hours are. This is especially true for supermarkets.

How to do it. On March 25, instructions on how to “mark a business temporarily closed” was released. This feature is under “Close this business on Google.”

Update your business profile

Listed below are the options that business owners can choose from: mark as permanently close, temporarily closed, or remove listing.Close this business on Google

Special COVID Posts. Last week, some local SEO experts and webmasters were crying out about numerous troubles and delays in publishing new listings or hours and take care of updates. Google is operating with reduced support personnel, which is the main reason why everything seems to be consuming more time than usual. And until further notice, Google has suspended “new reviews, review replies, and all Q&A”.

Google made a new category of Google Posts for COVID-19 related communication earlier this week. It is unclear whether Google will allow them to persist on profiles or if they must be reposted or update each week.

Why we care. It is essential for local business managers and brand to make the most of Google My Business to communicate updates to clients.

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With so many SEO companies UK based right now, finding the best one to assist you in improving your website rankings and performance should be one of your top priorities. Visit Position1SEO today and learn more about our packages.


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