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So I'm programmatically generating meta descriptions from the first 160 characters of my site's product listing descriptions. (I'm putting a 160 character limit on it. Is that still best practice?)

Does it matter if a word at the end of the description gets truncated? So if the word was, say, webmasters, it might get truncated to webmast. I can make it so only whole words are included by dropping the final truncated word, but some sentences will necessarily be chopped in half. Does that also matter?

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    If words are unrecognizable and your description doesn't appear semantic to Google, it might compose its own description based on your content. You may also get indexed under the truncated portion of the word. If there are just too many product pages to add custom descriptions and you absolutely need to automate it, then I'd suggest leaving off the final truncated word for the above reasons.
    – dan
    Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 5:38
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    Full and complete sentences are best. As well, where possible, include the search terms people use. For example, Sony 4k flat screen Smart TV. Many product descriptions from manufacturers are front loaded for this reason. If this is your case, then go for it. If not then I recommend something else. While Google does not match search queries to description meta tags, having commonly used search terms will cause Google to use the description you provided for most search queries. This is highly valuable if your descriptions are compelling. Cheers!!
    – closetnoc
    Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 6:20
  • @closetnoc So my title meta tag is extracted from the product title, which is always going to be something like "Sony 4k flat screen Smart TV". What do you think about appending this title string to the meta tag description as well? So it would be something like: "Sony 4k flat screen Smart TV. Featuring an Ultra HD resolution and High Dynamic Range capabilities, this Smart TV delivers crisp, vivid, and lifelike details." So the same text would appear in the title and the start of the meta description.
    – nmit026
    Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 21:35
  • I may be a bit confused... Who knows? Your title tag should only be about 55 or 60 characters. If I do not have it right, then please ignore me. The example you gave looks good for the description meta tag. Cheers!!
    – closetnoc
    Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 21:40
  • @closetnoc I meant if the product title is "Sony 4k flat screen Smart TV", that's what I'm going to programmatically use for my title tag. And since the first 160 characters of a product description can sometimes be meaningless waffle, I was thinking of using the product title at the start of the meta description (guaranteed to be meaningful) and then appending the product description until I hit 160 characters. So on the search page the title tag and the first part of the meta description would be the same. Just an idea, I'm probably overthinking it.
    – nmit026
    Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 21:48

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Actually Google own support.google.com doc pages using auto generated meta description. Also the words are not truncated properly. In most of cases Google ignore your meta description when user query does not match with your current meta description. For example in above doc the meta description is this

The payment methods available to you depend on your currency and country. In most countries, you can set up a credit card, debit card, or bank account as a primary payment method. You can also set u

Now if I type this query on Google search "how to change my payment details in google cloud" then it will not going to display same meta description for same page, instead they will generate it automatically. And that is why many of people who have large amount of webpages use auto generated meta description. But a good hand-written description may increase CTR(Click through rate from search result), for example if you know there are some query who gives you the most traffic to your site, so based on that query, if you write good meta description then you may get better CTR. But it is purely based on user, because I have seen many people just read your title and not meta description. So it is your choice to what to optimize for better CTR.

Regarding ranking they don't use meta description in ranking factor.

Even though we sometimes use the description meta tag for the snippets we show, we still don't use the description meta tag in our ranking.

Here is also good answer written by stephen about meta description.

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