Meta description is often an overlooked step of SEO optimization. Metadata isn’t quite as vital for SEO as it has been in the past. It also doesn’t directly affect SERPs ranking. However, meta descriptions still play a key role in on-page SEO.
Meta description optimization is important and actually, studies suggest that about 25% of top search results don’t have a meta description. This means that 75% of websites that rank have a well-written meta description that is relevant and optimized.
Because Google rewrites meta descriptions about 70% of the time, you may be wondering if writing compelling page descriptions is worth your time and worth optimizing.
The short answer? Yes.
Great meta descriptions get more clicks, so it’s still a good idea to do to optimize your on-page SEO.
The rest of this guide will explain the best ways to optimize your meta descriptions, show you how to write the perfect meta descriptions and everything else you need to know.
Let’s get started!
What Is A Meta Description?
A meta description is a piece of HTML on your webpage that allows you to describe your page.
This snippet appears below the title tag in the search results and allows you to include your keywords and increase your click-through rates.
Google shows meta descriptions under your page’s title in the search results. They’re an opportunity to persuade users to visit your website.
Title tags and meta descriptions are really only suggestions for Google and other search engines like Bing. So, search engines don’t have to show their users exactly what you want them to see.
However, if written correctly and optimized to perfection, then Google may display your meta description.
What is the Difference Between Metadata and Meta Descriptions?
Let’s take a second to talk about metadata and meta descriptions and how they are different because these phrases can sometimes get a little confusing, especially if you are new to the world of SEO.
In a general sense, metadata is measurable metrics that are used to optimize SEO. For example, metadata is found in HTML codes and can’t be seen by a visitor of the website.
They are often found in meta tags, title tags, description tags, and SEO titles. Whereas, the meta description is displayed on search engines for users to see.
Optimizing your metadata and your meta descriptions tag gives search engine crawlers access to your website and all your important pages that are valuable with relevant information for users.
How Do Meta Descriptions Affect SEO?
A compelling and perfectly structured meta description has the ability to boost the click-through rate (CTR) of your organic search results. That essentially means more users that see your website in SERPs will click through and see your page’s content. This boosts traffic and your search ranking all at once!
Google will consider your ranking based on your click-through rate, so if your website or page has a high CTR, then Google is more likely to move your content up in the SERPs.
As I mentioned above, sometimes Google won’t use your meta description. So, why write them?
If your business targets high-traffic keywords, there is a higher chance that your original meta description will appear as you wrote it.
Also, be aware that having duplicate meta descriptions can happen if you’re uploading a large number of products at once to your website. Fixing any meta description duplicates will also optimize your website.
This can save time and money. If potential customers are drawn to your website through search engines because of your top-selling product, then your click-through rate will rise and they may take a look at the other services you have to offer.
Should Every Page Have a Meta Description?
Yes! Every page needs a meta description. Even if it runs the chance of being rewritten. Google actually says that “identical or similar descriptions on every page aren’t a good thing.” So, if your pages aren’t individualized, the click-through rate may suffer. That’s not good for business or traffic or rankings.
If your page doesn’t have a meta description then you run the risk of Google grabbing a random chunk of information and displaying it. That may not be relevant or provide a good user experience for your audience.
Should Your Content Copy Your Meta Description?
Not exactly. Yes, your content should match your topic, your niche, and the basic concept of your business. But, you should write a unique description that has researched and targeted keywords, be the correct length, and be a summary of what your page is all about.
What Is The Optimal Length For A Meta Description?
The optimal length for a meta description is between 100-150 characters. Google often cuts off meta descriptions that go beyond the 150 character limit.
The meta description should be long enough to describe the page, but short enough to be easy to read.
An optimal length can sometimes vary depending on the circumstances. Your goal should be to provide enough information and value to your meta description to drive traffic and clicks.
How To Write Perfect Meta Descriptions
Google can sometimes think descriptions that aren’t optimized are completely irrelevant for the article and will ignore the content and pick something else.
You can always use our tool Hoth Web Copy for a fully optimized web copy if you aren’t sure how to create one yourself.
Here are some really helpful tips to writing a great meta description:
Write Compelling Copy
Because the title tag and meta description both show up in search results, think about writing them like an ad. The Title tag is like the headline, and the meta description is the subhead.
Use a compelling copy to get the reader to click. Show them what they will get when clicking on your search result.
To be able to write a compelling copy, you need to include a few things. You need keywords, a call-to-action, and to create desire.
Here is a more in-depth look at what you’ll need to a great meta description copy:
Use Your Target & Secondary Keywords
Include your target keyword somewhere in a unique meta description, and also include other secondary keywords or search terms.
If you use your targeted keywords as a part of your meta description, Google will be more likely to use and highlight them on the search engine results page. That can make your link appear more inviting to your customers. Remember, that Google will often highlight related words or synonyms. So, using a secondary keyword can boost your chances of Google showing users your meta description.
Keep it relevant to your topic
This is a vital piece of information. Google and other search engines can figure out if you’re using meta descriptions to be deceptive, which can impact your rankings.
Don’t ever mislead your audience to get clicks. Your bounce rates will also increase if you do this, which impacts your site’s performance.
Your goal should always be to build trust. That’s why it’s so important to make sure your meta description is relevant to your topic and keywords.
Don’t Use Filler Words
Google will often pick up on what you’re trying to say in your description. However, if you’re using filler words like “nice” or “good” Google will be less likely to show your meta description.
Use a call-to-action
A call-to-action is exactly what it sounds like. It asks your potential customer to do something urgently. “Get it now!” or “Try it for free today!”
Use compelling invitations to draw in more traffic.
Meta Description Examples
Google’s not entirely clear about exactly what they’re looking for in meta descriptions, so here are a few examples from highly-ranking search results and why they work well:
Example: Cheap Flights
In this example, kayak.com used keywords that are commonly searched when looking for flights including brand names. They also mentioned starting prices to give the searcher a reason to click the search result.
Example: Email Digital Marketing Guide
In this example, campaignmonitor.com describes what benefits the user will receive and also includes their target meta keywords.
Example: How To Ride A Bike
In this example, WikiHow asks the users questions to confirm their situation and includes their target keywords.
It is always a good idea to stick to your brand tone. Also, try to keep your meta descriptions conversational. It’s also good to make sure that your content is different on each page of your website. And, as always keep it relevant to your niche.
Using these tips will help ensure that your meta descriptions important information isn’t looked over by Google.
How To Edit Your Meta Tags In WordPress
WordPress is an awesome and user-friendly hosting software that allows anyone to set up a blog or website.
Some WordPress templates come with a meta tag already installed. If yours doesn’t have one, you can create it yourself.
These tags help to bring traffic from organic search engines. You can add meta descriptions the same way you add title tags.
If you aren’t sure where to check this, follow these simple steps:
- Start by logging into your WordPress Account
- Click “Settings” on the dashboard to the left
- Click on “General” on the menu
- Type in your new description into the box that is labeled, “tagline”
- Click “Save” and you’re all set!
WordPress also has some really great plugins that are designed to help you optimize your website to its fullest potential. These include Yoast and SEOPress. These can help you with keyword research, on-site and landing page optimization, and everything else you need to get your blog or business up and running.
Meta Tags in Social Shares
Almost all businesses and websites encourage users to share their pages on social media. It shouldn’t really come as a surprise that sharing on social media is one of the most effective ways for businesses to gain awareness. That’s why optimizing your social meta description is a good idea to boost traffic!
Now that you know all about meta descriptions in SERPs, you may be wondering how to optimize your descriptions for social sharing on platforms like Facebook or Linkedin.
Let’s use Facebook for example. Facebook uses a page’s meta tag as the description of what shows up when a page is shared on a website.
You’ll want to start by inserting the URL into your post box. For example, Facebook uses data from the URL to create a neat formatted post. The format is shown as a preview for you to see and adjust as need be. Your meta descriptions can also be seen here. Using a tool for this process might also optimize your social media post.
The main point of using social meta tags is to control how your content is viewed on timelines. It’s usually a good practice to make sure that Facebook and other social platforms aren’t creating your headlines and tags for you.
Here are some tips to make sure that doesn’t happen:
- Make sure to create a title headline
- Try different picture displays to see which ones generate the most traffic
- Keep your audience in mind
- Use open graph tags and a Twitter card markup
Make sure you use a headline for your social media posts. It’s usually best to use less than six words for this headline. You may also want to include a target keyword.
You will also want to try different image graphics for your posts. These can be created by using sites or apps like Canva. It would be best if you research what images do best for what service or product you are promoting. This can involve anything from text font to color scheme.
Don’t forget to keep your audience in mind and create your content based on what people who use or like your service would want to see. Different media platforms use different methods to spread business-related content. Twitter is said to use open graph tags, but it’s always a good practice to include a Twitter card markup as well.
Without the tag, social sharing platforms would use the first text that their crawler can find. It really depends on what that first piece of content is and it might not give your potential customer the best user experience for people encountering your business on social media.
Meta description optimization won’t boost your rankings and it isn’t as important for ranking as it once was, but because of how important it is for click-through rate, you will see positive results if your meta description is fully optimized.
You will want to create a compelling description with a call-to-action to entice your audience to click on your page. Google may re-write it, but it’s still a good idea to try to write the best one you can for your niche.