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I am looking to do some on-page SEO, wherein I want to limit the length of Title, Description, and more in my HTML meta tags.

Is there anyway I can access metatags already present in wp_head, and change their content.

For example, I want to ensure my title in <head> tags is 60 characters max.

But, if I have a Title length 90 characters, I want my actual <h1> to have full length, but the head tag should have <title> only 60 characters wrong. Same goes for descriptions, keywords, etc.

That's just an oversimplified example, though.

Adding additional tags in header.php is possible, but I suspect duplicate tags are a bad idea.

Is there any non-destructive way to do it? Looking for advice.

1 Answer 1

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Sure, we can modify meta tags in WordPress using actions and filters.

The <title> tag is pretty easy, WP already has a filter called document_title_parts that allows you to manipulate the title before being outputted to the page. Here's a simplified example of using it :

add_filter( 'document_title_parts', 'filter_document_title_parts', 10, 1 );

function filter_document_title_parts( $title_parts ) {
    
    // Trims the title to a maximum of 60 characters
    $max = 60;
    if ( strlen( $title_parts['title'] ) > $max ) {
        $title_parts['title'] = substr( $title_parts['title'], 0, $max ) . '...';
    }

    return $title_parts;
}

The meta description tag can be a bit more complex because WordPress doesn't have a functionality for meta descriptions, so if you have them you're most likely using a plugin. Yoast SEO and All In One are the most popular, so I'll give examples for them, they should cover most people.

Yoast SEO :

add_filter( 'wpseo_metadesc', 'filter_wpseo_metadesc', 10, 1 );

function filter_wpseo_metadesc( $metadesc ) {
    $max = 155;
    if ( strlen( $metadesc ) > $max ) {
        $metadesc = substr( $metadesc, 0, $max ) . '...';
    }

    return $metadesc;
}

All In One SEO :

add_filter( 'aioseop_description', 'filter_aioseop_description', 10, 1 );

function filter_aioseop_description( $description ) {
    
    $max = 155;
    if ( strlen( $description ) > $max) {
        $description = substr( $description, 0, $max) . '...';
    }

    return $description;
}

Same thing like the title - we just get the metadescription before the page is rendered and we manipulate them. You can modify the $max variable as you like.

Are there other metas you'd like modified? We can find a hook for them.

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  • Hey thanks for it. Could you please advice me on how to modify other meta tags in head as well? I want to trim the meta description, and couple of other tags as well. Is there any generic way to find and modify any tag in wp_head
    – Amit Bajar
    May 26, 2023 at 18:08
  • The meta description should already be editable using the hooks I provided in the answer. What other hooks do you need? You can check the document_title_parts hook. If it doesn't have the hooks you want, you can just add a PHP variable to the meta value in header.php to trim it.
    – alex
    May 27, 2023 at 14:56

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