Meta Description


Meta Description


The meta description is the short explanation of the contents of a web page that the search engines include on results pages. While the meta description does little to directly impact search engine optimization, it does wonders for improving click-through rates. Which, of course, will then improve your ranking.

In some platforms, the meta description is automatically generated based on the first 150 to 160 characters of the page copy. In others, the developer creates the description or has the opportunity to modify it. Either way, there are certain guidelines that will help you make the most of your meta description.

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Meta Description

Why They're Important

Google announced in 2009 that meta descriptions do not factor into its algorithm for search rankings. Despite this, the meta description remains a very important piece of the SEO puzzle. Not because it helps pages rank higher (it won’t, directly), but because it helps users determine whether a page is relevant to their search. When the page is highly relevant, users will click through to your web page to get the information they were looking for. And a click-through to your web page helps improve your search rankings, hence the indirect correlation to ranking.

Meta Description Meta Description Meta Description Meta Description Meta Description Meta Description Meta Description Meta Description Meta Description Meta Description Meta Description
Meta Description

Compelling Text

Your goal with a meta description is for your audience to deem your content relevant by reading your meta description. As with any online content, you need to get your audience’s attention right away—before they move on to the next result. Include keywords within your description because the search engines will bold them in the results. And include a tantalizing detail or bold statement that illustrates the page’s contents. But be sure it’s relevant to the actual page contents or you’ll swiftly drive your audience away.

Meta Description Meta Description Meta Description Meta Description Meta Description Meta Description
Meta Description

Ideal Length

Your meta description can be any length you wish. However, the search engines will not display beyond 150 to 160 characters depending on the search engine. In addition, Google will not display quotation marks. If you must include quotes, use single quotes (an apostrophe) instead of traditional quotation marks to avoid Google cutting off your description. Your best bet is to get to the point quickly in your description to avoid any truncating. know what the article is about.

Improving Results


In addition to writing compelling text and keeping your meta description to the search engines’ recommended length, there are other ways you can use them to improve your click-through rates.

Meta Description

Use a Call to Action

Let readers know what they can expect to “discover” or “understand” or “learn” on your web page by using an effective call to action. Or maybe you want them to watch a video or download an app. Whatever it is, use action-oriented words and then be sure to deliver!

Meta Description

Test

If you have a number of similar pages on your site, test out different meta descriptions to see which convert best. Use a variety of keywords, change up your call to action and try out various description lengths.

Meta Description

Use Keywords

Even though they don’t directly help improve SEO, keywords help grab your audience’s attention on the results pages. Search engines will bold the keywords in search results, helping the user see which results are closest to the actual need.

What Not to Do


The biggest mistake you can make with your meta description is fail to include one for each web page. Yes, it really is that important if you want to get attention on the results pages and potentially improve your ranking.

  • Don’t stuff keywords. As with good content, a meta description should include keywords. Remember that search engines will bold any keywords you include in your description, so including them will help draw the eye to your result. That said, good content (and a good meta description) should never be “stuffed” with keywords. Include one or two keywords, as appropriate, so the description reads smoothly for human consumption. Stuffing keywords into your description will turn off your audience and the search engines alike.
  • Don’t skimp on quality. Also like good content, meta descriptions should be original and handwritten. Duplicate meta descriptions for multiple pages on your website do nothing to entice users to click on your results. This can be a challenge for large websites that host hundreds of pages of content. However the more time you take to create quality descriptions, the more you’ll see a benefit in click-throughs and search rankings.

Why They’re Important

Google announced in 2009 that meta descriptions do not factor into its algorithm for search rankings. Despite this, the meta description remains a very important piece of the SEO puzzle. Not because it helps pages rank higher (it won’t, directly), but because it helps users determine whether a page is relevant to their search. When the page is highly relevant, users will click through to your web page to get the information they were looking for. And a click-through to your web page helps improve your search rankings, hence the indirect correlation to ranking.

Your meta description will only display on the search engine results page—not on your web page. This makes it easy to forget about. But when you don’t craft your own description, Google (or the other search engines) will do it for you, typically out of the first characters of the page. This gives you little control over what you spotlight for your potential readers. You lose out on the opportunity to “sell” your audience on your own content, in your own words. It’s vital you create your own meta description so you can capture your audience’s attention.

Compelling Text

Your goal with a meta description is for your audience to deem your content relevant by reading your meta description. As with any online content, you need to get your audience’s attention right away—before they move on to the next result. Include keywords within your description because the search engines will bold them in the results. And include a tantalizing detail or bold statement that illustrates the page’s contents. But be sure it’s relevant to the actual page contents or you’ll swiftly drive your audience away.

Ideal Length

Your meta description can be any length you wish. However, the search engines will not display beyond 150 to 160 characters depending on the search engine. In addition, Google will not display quotation marks. If you must include quotes, use single quotes (an apostrophe) instead of traditional quotation marks to avoid Google cutting off your description. Your best bet is to get to the point quickly in your description to avoid any truncating.

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