Learn About Meta Description

What is a Meta Description?

Meta descriptions are HTML attributes that provide search engines and people a summary of what a web page is about. The description meta tag is placed within the <head> element of your HTML document. Meta descriptions aren’t a ranking factor in Google.

Meta description examples

The meta description of a page is the text that appears under the page title in search results. You’re probably familiar with them, here’s what they look like in Google:

An example of a meta description on Google

Here is an example of the code you need to place in the <head> element:

<head><meta name="description" content="This is Tom Donohoe's example meta description for the learn section of my website. I hope this appears in Google Search results."> </head>

How to write a meta description

When you’re writing a meta description you must keep two things in mind, first people search for content and second search engines trying to present that content. I believe people are more important when writing a meta description, so you should be writing to enticing people to click through to your website.

Summarise the content that users will find on the page

Write meta description that entices a user to click through to your page but also clearly describes what the user will find if they were to click through to view your content.

Avoid: writing clickbait descriptions to get the click and then no deliver what you promised. This will provide a poor user experience and have a negative impact on your bounce rate.

Use unique meta descriptions for every page

Meta descriptions should be unique to every page on your website.

Avoid: using a single meta description across a group of pages or even worse your entire website.

Include your primary keyword

When possible include your primary keyword in your meta description. It is not a ranking factor, however, Google will place it in bold, which can help improve your click-through-rate.

Avoid: stuffing your keywords into the description as many time as possible. This disrupts the flow of the description and will not improve your rankings.

Keep within ideal meta description length

Google constantly tests and changes their meta description length but most SEOs recommend to keep them under 160 characters. Additionally, Google won’t always use your meta description they automatically generate one from your content.

Avoid: chasing the meta description length and rewriting meta descriptions constantly. If Google switches back you’ve wasted a lot of time.

Include your value proposition to encourage clicks

You’re competing against ads, Google’s new search features and other organic results for clicks, so you need to highlight your point of difference to get the click over competitors.

Avoid: listing all the features and benefits of your page, keep it short and compelling enough to get the click.

Include a call to action

Tell people what you want them to do next. Close your description off with a strong call to action to push them through to your website.

Avoid: being too sales heavy with your call to action, a simple ‘learn more’ or ‘find out more’ is sufficient.

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