I am trying to fill up title and meta description for my Tumblr blog.

The way I will do that is via the themes.

For the title, it isn't too much of an issue, I can just get the title for the post although some post types do not have titles.

The main question is about the description. I am thinking of using the start of the body content. For now, there is no way to limit the length of body content. I wonder if its OK to have the whole body in the description?

I have contacted Tumblr support to suggest that they have a way of creating limiting text length in their template tags.

  • 1
    Can you please fix the capitalization/punctuation of your question? It is hard to understand what you are asking. Sep 17, 2010 at 8:53

2 Answers 2


Not specific to Tumblr but using a theme to insert META information is generally a bad idea. This should be handled on a per page (not per site basis) via the CMS. If however the only way to insert HTML tags into your blog is via a theme then yes this does make sense.

Depending on your crawler audience (Google, RDF readers, etc) the length of the description can be varied, however generally for a blog you'll want:

  • Title: 60 characters max
  • META-Description: the same as the RSS/Atom summary and around 160 characters max (some say 100) - not a duplicate or snippet of your body content

Depending on the search engine and results presentation the length can vary.

If you are wanting to limit the CMS based on some "best practice" beware that there may be exceptions where the rules need to be broken. Warn the user when the content is too long, but do not block it as there may be method in the madness.

  • in tumblr, there is no way to set the description of the page, so with that limitation in mind, i was considering using the the start of the body content as the description
    – Jiew Meng
    Sep 17, 2010 at 12:55
  • If you are just using the start of the body content then you may as well have no meta description at all. Search Engines will pick up the body content and use it as appropriate in the search results. Sep 17, 2010 at 14:04

Google and other search engines are perfectly capable of picking the excerpt from the page content themselves - and will ignore the meta description tag if they suspect anything fishy about it.

So, duplicating your entire post in the meta description will:

  1. get your meta description tag ignored

  2. make your site slower since you almost doubled the size of the HTML by repeating yourself - this will hurt your rank on Google.

  3. maybe cause parsing problems (I suspect browser and spider writers don't spend as much time on the meta tag parsing code as they do on the body)

  4. if the search engines will honor your description they will show the start of the post in the excerpt and not the part around the search keyword - this is likely to lower the number of clicks on that result and reduce your traffic.

So, if you don't have anything meaningful to put in your description just drop the meta description tag.

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