What Is a Meta Description & The way to Write One

A meta description is an HTML factor that summarizes a webpage’s content material. This brief description reveals up within the search engine outcomes web page (SERP) beneath the web page title and URL.

Like this:

Meta description reveals beneath web page title and URL in SERP

Meta descriptions can affect click-through fee (CTR). Which suggests they’ll affect whether or not a consumer decides to go to your web page.

That makes them a essential on-page search engine marketing issue.

On this article, we’ll cowl how you can write participating meta descriptions and how you can use instruments that verify for meta description points.

Let’s start with some examples.

Meta descriptions seem in your web page code, on the SERP, and in some social media shares.

Right here’s what each seems to be like:

In Web page Code

Right here’s an instance of what a web page’s HTML meta description seems to be like:

An instance of web page’s HTML meta description

You will discover the meta description in a web page’s <head> HTML code.

Most content material administration programs (CMSs) and plug-ins help you add and edit meta descriptions by typing in a delegated area:

Right here’s what that usually seems to be like in WordPress:

Meta description in WordPress

On the SERP

Meta descriptions additionally seem below the title tag on the SERP:

Meta descriptions below the title tag on the SERP

Remember the fact that Google does continuously rewrite meta descriptions that don’t match customers’ search queries nicely.

In line with Google, they use meta descriptions, wealthy snippets, and content material on the web page to determine what snippet to point out on the SERP.

And your web page’s meta description could change relying on the search time period somebody makes use of.

However should you comply with one of the best practices to match consumer intent, you’ll have a greater likelihood of Google utilizing your description (extra on that later).

In Social Media Shares

Meta descriptions additionally usually seem in lots of social shares. 

Like this:

Meta description on social media

Should you don’t embrace a meta description, social media platforms will use the primary textual content they’ll discover or none in any respect. Which can not make sense or be an excellent hook.

An efficient meta description is sort of a good gross sales pitch. It rapidly offers readers your worth proposition and makes them wish to purchase in—i.e., click on your hyperlink.

Your aim is to enhance the CTR of your pages with attractive meta descriptions that make customers wish to click on. As a result of extra clicks means extra guests to your web page.

Meta descriptions aren’t a direct search engine marketing rating issue. However they’ll not directly affect rankings by encouraging the next natural CTR for explicit key phrases.

Right here’s what meta descriptions can do:

  • Enhance CTR
  • Differentiate your SERP end result from opponents
  • Assist with model publicity

And people components can not directly affect your rankings.

Listed below are a couple of meta description greatest practices to comply with, plus some examples.

Be Conscious of Meta Description Size

Meta descriptions can technically be any size. However Google will reduce them off after about 160 characters on desktop and 120 characters on cell.

(That is equal to about 960 pixels on desktop and 680 pixels on cell.)

In case your meta description is reduce off within the SERP, customers could not get the total context of your web page out of your meta description. They usually could click on on a unique search end result.

❌ Dangerous instance: A meta description is a blurb that describes what a web page is about. Meta descriptions do not affect rankings, however can affect whether or not or not a consumer clicks your hyperlink.

✅ The way to repair: A meta description is an HTML factor that gives customers and search engines like google and yahoo with a abstract of a webpage.

It’s greatest to maintain your meta description round 120 characters or fewer. That approach, cell and desktop customers can learn the total factor. 

The dangerous instance above is 168 characters. Google would truncate it in each cell and desktop search outcomes.

Right here’s what it seems to be like on the SERP when the outline is reduce off:

An instance of when meta description accommodates too many characters

The consumer would possibly get the gist of it. However they seemingly gained’t ever see something previous the cutoff level. So it’s greatest to maintain it transient.

That being mentioned: 

It is best to take up as a lot of your 120 characters as attainable. In case your meta description is only some phrases, you in all probability aren’t adequately speaking your web page’s subject.

Use a Goal Key phrase

It’s greatest to incorporate your goal key phrase in your meta description. 

Meta descriptions don’t instantly affect rankings. However they’ll encourage customers to click on. 

That’s notably true should you embrace the key phrase the consumer is probably going looking out. And if these key phrases match the consumer’s search intent.

Let’s say your goal key phrase was “greatest path trainers.”

❌ Dangerous instance: Discover our athletic footwear immediately. Whether or not you want cross trainers or trainers, we’ve got what you want.

✅ The way to repair: Discover one of the best path trainers obtainable in retailer or on-line. We now have Brooks, On Cloud, Adidas, & extra.

The above dangerous instance doesn’t point out “greatest path trainers” particularly. Despite the fact that that’s what our fictional web page is about.

It’s additionally useful to make use of your goal key phrase as a result of Google will daring related phrases and synonyms from the search question that seem within the meta description.

On this instance, “greatest path trainers” is bolded:

How related key phrases seem in search question

So should you embrace the key phrase a consumer is looking for, Google could daring it. Making it extra seen (and presumably extra clickable).

Use Energetic Voice & a Clear Name to Motion

Meta descriptions are speculated to encourage customers to go to your web page. Energetic voice can assist with that. 

Right here’s an instance of lively vs. passive voice:

  • Energetic voice: Evelyn ate a chunk of cake.
  • Passive voice: The piece of cake was eaten by Evelyn.

Energetic voice is extra direct—the topic (Evelyn) performs the motion the verb expresses (consuming). 

Utilizing lively voice can prevent characters and clearly clarify to customers what they’re going to see in the event that they click on in your web page.

Energetic voice conjures up motion. And motion is the purpose of any name to motion.

Suppose phrases like:

  • Be taught extra
  • Strive without cost
  • Discover out extra
  • Discover our providers

Listed below are a few examples:

❌ Dangerous instance: Baggage, journey equipment, and extra can be found on our web site. Complimentary monogramming might be accessed with any buy.

✅ The way to repair: Store on-line for premium baggage & journey equipment. Entry complimentary monogramming with buy.

Each examples above technically say the identical factor. However the first one is a bit clunky and longer (and makes use of passive voice within the second sentence).

The brief (corrected) description above lets us know the main points in a quick, direct approach (and in lively voice).

Make Distinctive Meta Descriptions

Use distinctive meta descriptions for each web page. That approach, customers can have a better time understanding what every of your particular pages is about.

Right here’s what it will appear like should you used duplicate meta descriptions:

An example of duplicate meta descriptions

These are all completely different pages, however they use the very same meta descriptions.

Generic, duplicate meta descriptions don’t add worth. They usually positively don’t describe what you’ll discover on a selected product or class web page or weblog submit.

As an alternative of reusing the identical meta description, be particular about what the consumer will discover on every web page.

Right here’s how you can appropriate the duplicate meta descriptions from the picture above:

How to correct duplicate meta descriptions

Now, every search end result’s meta description displays a separate web page and subject.

And customers can simply inform what sort of web page they’re navigating to. 

Establish Duplicate Meta Descriptions

Use our Web site Audit device to determine pages in your web site with duplicate meta descriptions.

Enter your area title within the device search bar and hit “Begin Audit.”

Site Audit tool

The device will take a couple of minutes to research your pages. When your report is prepared, head over to the “Points” tab.

Issues tab in Site Audit 

Enter “duplicate meta description” within the search bar. And click on on the primary end result that pops up.

Find duplicate meta descriptions

You’ll get a full listing of pages with duplicate meta descriptions

Results of the site audit

Undergo the listing and determine which meta descriptions to replace. Then, change the meta description on every web page to be extra particular.

Assessment How Google Shows Your Meta Description on the SERP

You need to use our On Web page search engine marketing Checker to see whether or not Google is rewriting your meta descriptions.

Begin by getting into your area title into the device. Then click on the “Get Concepts” button.

On page SEO checker

Subsequent, scroll right down to the “TOP pages to optimize” desk. Select a web page and click on the “# concepts” button to the proper of the web page title.

Top pages to optimize

Go to the “Content material” part to search out particulars about your meta description.

In case your meta description doesn’t match what Google’s exhibiting in its search outcomes, you’ll see this message:

Provide a more relevant meta description

Remember the fact that you gained’t be penalized if Google chooses to rewrite your meta description. 

However should you don’t assume Google’s model is essentially the most useful, you may edit your present meta description. Attempt to make it extra related to the web page’s subject.

Make Fast On-Web page search engine marketing Adjustments from Your Browser

PageImprove can immediately make adjustments to meta descriptions, title tags, hyperlinks, canonicals, and extra. 

All you could do is add a chunk of code to your web site. Then, you may replace on-page search engine marketing parts like meta descriptions with out logging into your CMS from then on.

So, if you end up procrastinating with on-page search engine marketing adjustments, PageImprove is a superb choice.

Right here’s how you can use it:

Set up the PageImprove Google Chrome extension by clicking the “Strive It For Free” button on the product touchdown web page. Observe the prompts that seem.

Try it for free

Set up the code snippet onto your web site. (Utilizing Google Tag Supervisor is the quickest approach so as to add it to each web page in your web site.)

Code snippet installation

And voila! When you add the code snippet to your web site, you may edit your meta description proper in your stay web page.

Edit meta description on your live page

Once you’re achieved writing your meta description, hit the inexperienced “Adjustments” button within the prime proper nook of your display.

Finish writing your meta description

Assessment your draft and hit “Proceed to publishing” to save lots of your work.

Continue to publishing

Obtain Free Chrome Extensions

A number of free Chrome extensions can assist you verify your meta descriptions and get different helpful on-page search engine marketing data.

Listed below are a couple of of our favorites:

Maintain Studying About On-Web page search engine marketing

Now that you just’ve realized how you can write a meta description, be taught how you can write an efficient title tag.Or find out about different on-page search engine marketing components in our in-depth on-page search engine marketing information.

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