A good meta description is a short snippet of text that accurately describes the content of a web page and encourages users to click through from the search engine results pages (SERPs).
It is clear, concise, and relevant to the target keyword. In this post, you can expect some tips and best practices on how to write effective meta descriptions.
What is a meta description?
A meta description is an HTML element that briefly summarizes a web page. The meta description tag of a page appears in the search snippet on a search engine results page (SERP) and aims to provide users with an understanding of the page’s content and its relevance to their search query.
Why are meta descriptions important for SEO?
Do meta descriptions affect search rankings? Yes and no. In 2009, Google stated that meta descriptions and meta keywords don’t affect how Google ranks websites in search results.
However, meta descriptions can influence how many people click on a page in Google search results. They give website owners a chance to describe their content to searchers, helping them decide if it’s relevant to their search and has the information they need.
Since meta descriptions can indirectly affect search rankings and greatly impact user behavior, it’s important to spend time crafting them carefully
How do you write a good meta description?
The meta description tag is like an ad for a website. It helps attract people from search engine results and is essential for search marketing.
A good meta description should use the right keywords in a natural way that makes people want to click on the website.
When search engines show the description, they may highlight keywords from the user’s search. So, choosing relevant search terms for your descriptions is important but don’t go too far with it.
A good meta description should:
- Be unique for each page
- Summarize content accurately
- Use sentence case
- Create something click-worthy, not clickbait
- Match search intent
- Include your target keyword organically
What is the recommended or ideal meta description length?
It has been considered a standard SEO best practice for years to keep meta description character limit at around 160-165 characters maximum (or 156-160 characters, depending on who you talk to).
The reasoning behind this is that this optimization helps to avoid the truncation of the meta description in the search results.
Truncated meta descriptions
Sometimes your meta description will get truncated by search engines. This can happen because your description is too long, or search engines build a different meta description and grab other elements from the page.
But Google uses the meta description to better understand the webpage, and there is no limit to how long the meta description can be, although Google suggests no longer than a short paragraph.
This is what Google recommends:
“A page’s meta description tag gives Google and other search engines a summary of what the page is about. … a page’s meta description tag might be a sentence or two or even a short paragraph.”
SEOs recommend keeping the meta description within a set limit based on how much of the meta description Google can show on a search results page.
Google says to be concise and write as much as a paragraph.
Automate meta descriptions with templates
You can automate meta description in WordPress. If you have a WordPress website with many pages, you can use the Yoast plugin to create templates for your meta descriptions. This will save you time and effort, as you won’t have to write each meta description manually.
To create a meta description template in Yoast, go to the Search Appearance section of the plugin settings. You can create templates for the homepage, posts, pages, categories, tags, and archives.
Once you have created a template, you can simply apply it to any page or post when you are editing it. This will automatically generate a meta description based on the template.
Download our free meta description template to help you write effective meta descriptions for your website.
7 Writing Tips And Best Practices For Meta Descriptions
1. Research your competitors
Look at what other brands are doing in the SERPs for your target keywords. What are their meta descriptions like? What are they doing well? What could they be doing better? Use this information to inspire your own meta descriptions.
2. Map your customer’s journey
What is your target audience looking for when they search for your keywords? What are their needs and wants? Tailor your meta descriptions to their specific needs.
3. Use your brand’s unique tone and style
Your meta descriptions should be consistent with your brand’s overall tone and style. This will help to create a cohesive experience for your customers.
4. Include keywords your audience actually searches for
Google doesn’t use keywords in the meta description for ranking purposes, but they can still be helpful for attracting clicks. Include the keywords your target audience is actually searching for in your meta descriptions.
5. Take advantage of trending social headlines
What are people talking about on social media in your industry? Write meta descriptions that are relevant to trending topics. This will help your pages to show up in search results for those topics.
6. Target a specific search intent
Don’t just write generic meta descriptions. Tailor your meta descriptions to the specific search intent of your target audience. What are they looking for when they search for your keywords? Write meta descriptions that answer their questions and meet their needs.
7. Refresh your meta descriptions for older content
Your meta descriptions should be evergreen, but it’s a good idea to refresh them from time to time. This will help to ensure that they are still relevant and up-to-date.
Meta descriptions are an important part of SEO and user experience. Serving as short summaries of web pages on SERPs, they can influence the number of people clicking on your page.
By following the tips in this blog post, you can write effective meta descriptions that will help you attract more visitors to your website and improve your SEO.
Good meta descriptions should be clear, concise, and relevant. Remember to target keywords but avoid keyword stuffing. Lastly, make sure you write unique meta descriptions for each page.