How Google Handles Duplicate Meta Tags
- May 18, 2020
- Bradley Taylor
If you have done any type of work with a website, you have run across meta tags. For those of you not “in the know”, meta tags are strips of code that are in each page that are placed there to help Google figure out what your site (and each page specifically) are about.
You can create meta tags with a description, page title, keywords, as well as many other things. You are helping Google and at the same time helping yourself by describing exactly what your page has to offer a visitor.
Whether you add your meta tags manually or use a plug-in for your WordPress installation, you want these tags to be as honest and clear as possible.
Recently someone asked Google optimizer Guru John Mueller if they could add multiple version of the same meta tags to their page. The reason this came about is because the webmaster wants to insert some temporary text for the Covid-19 pandemic which he will remove later.
Duplicate meta tags like he is talking about may look like this:
<meta name=”Description” content=”We are a full service restaurant serving Palm Bay Florida. We offer fresh seafood and delicious appetizers.” />
<meta name=”Description” content=”During Covid-19 pandemic we are offering groceries to go. You can purchase grocers right from our restaurant and pick them up in our drive through. ” />
You can see the point here. Well, Mueller has answered that this is perfectly fine and that Google will just read the tags as if they were one. Essentially, Google automatically combines the contents of meta tags with the same meta names.
It is important to keep in mind that MOZ recommends keeping your description to between 55-160 characters. Any more than that and you will be wasting your time.
You can just keep and edit the one meta tag and not worry about adding the second is the other information that you can glean from this exchange.
Here is the exact text verbatim from searchenginejournal.com:
This is the question that was asked:
“Concerning the meta description of the page, I got the SEO tip to include a second meta description and title concerning this topic into the header.
Would this really make sense to Google?”
John Mueller answered:
“So, if you’re including a second meta description tag on a page we will treat that the same as if you just extend the existing meta tag on the page.
…there’s no kind of bonus to using a second meta description tag on a page compared to just adjusting your existing one.
With regard to the title, that’s the same thing. It’s not that there’s any kind of a bonus attached to making a second title tag.
Essentially, you might as well just write a clear new title using the existing title tag.”