Marketing 2 min read

How Google Handles Extra Meta Descriptions and Title Tags

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Google's webmaster trend analyst, John Mueller, explains how the search engine handles extra meta descriptions and title tags.

A publisher wanted to update some of their content pages due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

The process involves temporarily changing the website’s meta and title HTML elements. After a specific period, the site owner would then revert to the original versions.

However, the publisher was unsure about how to handle a temporary change in the meta descriptions and title tags. So, he or she consulted Google’s John Mueller in a recent episode of Webmaster Office Hours hangout.

The question reads:

“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?”

In response, Mueller provided an insight into how Google handles invalid HTML and other mistakes. Here’s what the webmaster trend analyst said.

It’s Okay to Use Extra Title and Meta Descriptions

According to John Mueller, Google treats a second meta description tag on a page as if you extended the existing meta tag on the page. In other words, it treats double elements as a single element.

He noted:

“…there’s no kind of bonus to using a second meta description tag on a page compared to just adjusting your existing one.”

The same thing applies to the title tag.

Mueller pointed out that the search engine doesn’t give any bonus for making a second title tag. “Essentially, you might as well just write a clear new title using the existing title tag,” he said.

Although Mueller’s response suggests that it’s okay to use extra title and meta description tags, it doesn’t mean that you should.

And here’s why.

Ideally, Google displays what you input as your title element precisely. However, when you add a second title element, you’re inadvertently relinquishing that control to the search engine.

That means Google can choose how it’ll display the double tags, introducing an element uncertainty.

To remain on the safe side, publishers should adhere to the standard practice of one title element and one meta description per page.

Read More: Google’s Mueller Explains Negative SEO and Ranking Issues

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