Since meta descriptions are not a direct SEO ranking point, people tend to pay too little attention to them. However, that’s a big mistake! A meta description is fundamental to your overall online visibility. In this article, you will learn what a meta description is, why it matters and how to write it well.
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Meta is short for “metadata.” Meta tags provide information about your page and its content. They’re short pieces of text that summarize your page. However, they are only visible in the site’s HTML code, and not on the website itself.
What is a Meta Description and Why is it Important?
A meta description is a part of the meta tag – it is a brief summary of your content. It is visible in the search engine results right under the headline.
Additionally, when someone shares your content, the text will appear on the shared post.
While meta descriptions don’t correlate directly to your page’s ranking results, they are essential for your website’s visibility.
First of all, search engines like Google rely heavily on these descriptions to determine the relevance of your content.
Secondly and most importantly, a good description encourages users to click on your link and read your content.
In short, a good meta description can increase the traffic on your website.
How to Write Good Meta Description?
Since a meta description is one of the main keys making users click on your link, you need to keep a couple of things in mind. Your text should have these three main copywriting elements:
- The problem
- The solution
- The outcome
When reading it, users should understand what the topic (the problem) is, and how will your content help them (the solution and the outcome).
What is more, every good meta description should have these components:
- Keywords. This is the most crucial part. Keywords will give the reader a clear understanding of what the content piece is about. Search engines will often bold the main keyword, so it is visible at first glance.
- Good writing. Make sure, that your writing is clear, readable and understandable. Your keywords should be present, but not overused. The meta description should be a quick read, so don’t put in any bloated sentences and irrelevant information.
- Appropriate length. A good meta description should have between 135 and 160 characters. Anything longer than that might be chopped off by the search engines.
- Original content. Never re-use meta descriptions. All of your pages should have an original description. Otherwise, search engines might penalize you for duplicating them.
Now let’s try these tips in practice.
If you wrote an article about the best vegan recipes for beginners, your description should reflect that.
Just started your vegan journey? Check out our article: we collected the best vegan recipes for beginners to help you out in your lifestyle change.
Problem: just started being vegan. Solution: collected recipes for beginners. Outcome: you will learn new skills to help you on your vegan journey.
The keyword is present, but not overused. What is more, this meta description has an action formula, which increases the chances of readers clicking on your link.
If you wrote about dog-friendly restaurants in London, you could come up with something along the lines of:
Do you want to eat out but don’t feel like leaving your furry buddy behind? Here’s a list of the top 10 dog-friendly restaurants in London.
Problem: you want to eat out, but want to bring your dog along. Solution: a list of dog-friendly restaurants. Outcome: you will learn where you can bring your dog.
Overall, you have to treat your meta description as a small, easy advertisement. It should be compelling, and always relevant to your content.
A bad description can actively put users off from clicking on your link. If users don’t feel compelled to click on your link, you will lose traffic.
How Do I Add in the Meta Description?
There are a couple of ways to add You can either add it to the part of your website’s HTML code.
Copy and paste this snippet:
<html> <head> <title>An amazing website</title> <meta name=”description” content=”Our website is amazing, we have great content, click here to read it!.”> </head>
Or, if you are using a CMS (Content Management System) like WordPress, you can add the description with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) plugins.
With WordPress, you can install the Yoast SEO plugin. In the WordPress editor, at the bottom of your post, you will find the plugin section.
You’ll see the snippet preview, where you can edit your title, slug and meta description.
The best thing is that the Yoast SEO plugin automatically shows whether the text is too long or too short.
Good Meta Description Examples
Here are two good examples, of what a meta description should look like. Both examples have important copywriting components and meta description components.
A meta description might not be the most important factor of good SEO.
However, you shouldn’t ignore it, as it serves as a small piece of advertising. A well-written description can greatly increase your traffic.
Writing one takes only a few moments, so there really aren’t any excuses for not doing it!