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Optimal length of Merchant Feed product descriptions displayed?

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Hi all,

A client has asked me a very good question which I don't know the answer to but probably should!


Does anybody know what the optimal number of characters or pixels in the first part of the Merchant Feed product descriptions is? (I'm meaning the number that will be displayed in the ad as opposed to the whole description).

I'm expecting that because of the multiple ways that shopping results are displayed there will be no single answer, but it would be good to at least be able to give a guide for desktop viewing as this is currently what the majority of my client's customers are.

I tried to do an average by characters (about 141) and pixels (819) in my own very small survey, but wondered if anyone else had any advice.

Many thanks,



1 Expert replyverified_user

Re: Optimal length of Merchant Feed product descriptions displayed?

[ Edited ]
Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

generally, most merchant-defined values have two (character) limits --
(1) a hard-limit that if exceeded will result in items removed or disapproved;
(2) a soft-limit that may help or hurt quality --
this is typically designated as a recommendation.

for description --

(1) the hard-limit is 5000 characters;
(2) the soft-limit is 500 to 1000 characters.

google may sometimes display about 1000, 250, 150, or 0 characters depending
on the context; however, this may change at any time; google decides all format
and display of all submitted data -- for example, google may change what might
be displayed based on user behavior or to implement a new (shopping) feature.

all these limits might be taken into account.

however, description is mainly used for indexing to help users find an item --
so all characters can impact relevance in either a negative or positive way,

regardless of being displayed or not (similarly with most all submitted data).

importantly, description should describe the physical item
or how the physical product might be used -- nothing else --
using only plain (ascii) text with proper, standard, (english)
grammar, punctuation, spacing, spelling, and capitalization.


the description should describe the physical item --

so users can find exactly what they are seeking

and know exactly what they would be buying in

the most relevant terms possible by matching

both the product's physical characteristics and

what is displayed on the link landing-page.


irrelevant information can harm quality.

any promotions, gimmicky repetition, gimmicky text, keywords (stuffing),
html, shipping, billing, stock, or store information, etc., are not allowed
and generally violate the policies and are grounds for lower quality
or item disapproval -- severe or repeated violations can result in
entire site disapproval or account suspension from the program,
at any time.


see also


Re: Optimal length of Merchant Feed product descriptions displayed?

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Thanks for taking the time over such a details reply Celebird!

I'm happy that I'm up to speed on Google's policies and how to write a good description. I really wanted to be able to advise my clients on how to optimise it further by giving them an idea of how many of the first characters/pixels are most important for the way their products' ads are displayed. On desktop and tablets these are invariably formatted as in my screen shot.
I am viewing this with my 'SEO hat' on, in that it is similar to the meta description for a web page.

Thanks again,