A Meta description is a 160-character snippet, a Meta tag in HTML, which summarizes a webpage’s content. On a search engine results page (SERP), the Meta description appears under the page title and URL. It’s a crucial component of on-page SEO, which is why you need to understand its optimization best practices.
Search engines show the meta description in search results mostly when the searched for phrase is contained in the description
Where Do You Add the Meta Description?
In the HTML code, a meta description tag looks like this:
<meta name=”description” content=”A page’s description, one or two sentences.”/>
But you don’t have to be a sophisticated webmaster to add a meta description! If you use a content management system like Word Press or HubSpot, you can bypass having to dive into the HTML code since these platforms allow you to change the meta description, title tags, and more all through the general settings
What Does the Meta Description Do?
The main purpose of a page’s meta description is to get the visitors from SERPs and social media to click the link to your page. In that sense, you can write and think of it as a “mini-ad” for your page, offering a preview of the page content.
Why is the Meta Description Important?
The meta description, if written well, helps improve click-through rate (CTR) to your site from the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Users will click content that appeals to them and answers their query, so make sure that you write your meta description with the user in mind. Searchers will appreciate good content, you just have entice them to get to it first.
How to Write Meta Descriptions for SEO
Now that you know what a meta description is and why it’s important for your site and content, let’s go over how to write one. A good meta description prioritizes the user experience and has the following three features:
- Answers these user questions: “What is the page about?” and, “Why is the page the best choice for my search query?”
- Includes the primary keyword the page aims to rank for. Remember the text that appears in bold!
- Uses benefits-focused content.
To write a good meta description and increase your organic search click-through rate:
- Put the most important information first. Every meta description needs to quickly communicate the subject matter — and benefit — of your page. If the web page is for a specific product, brand or topic, put those terms and keywords at the beginning.
- Make your meta description conversational. Write for people, not search engines or algorithms. Natural language communicates better.
- Position all content in terms of the benefits for the user.
- Edit it two or three times. With a second and even third pass through, you’ll see better ways to fit more benefits, details and value into the 160 characters.
Best Practices When Writing Meta Descriptions
- Length should be up to 160 characters and no more!
- Use action-oriented language. It gets clicks!
- Make it specific and relevant. Put that keyword in!
- Don’t deceive searchers. They will hate you for that!
- Provide a solution or benefit. Create value!
Write like this and meta descriptions become more than simply another important ranking factor for your page. It makes clicking your blog post, product or web page the only practical action.
What to Avoid When Writing HTML Meta Descriptions
- Don’t stuff keywords. Repeating your keyword Many times will get you penalized.
- Don’t copy and paste a large block of content from the page or post as the meta description. Take the time to write unique copy to give your user and search engines a page description that serves as your mini-ad.
- Don’t use the same description on more than one page or post. That confuses the search engine and dilutes the effect. The same goes for your title tags and overall page content — you can run a site audit to check for duplicate content.
The meta description is a small but mighty aspect of search engine optimization – it’s your chance to beat out your competitors. Too many businesses leave this out and in turn, miss out a critical opportunity to improve CTR. Be sure to create an engaging meta description for your website that persuades end users to choose you over your competitors.