A meta description or meta description tag is an HTML attribute that summarizes the content of your web page. Search engines, like Google, display the meta description in the search results page for visibility and higher click-through rates. A meta description should be 160 characters long and persuade the reader to click the link to an article or web page. Optimizing the meta description is essential for on-page SEO and can also increase your ranking in Google’s SERPs.
Why Meta Descriptions Matter
Meta description tags have a considerable impact on your search engine optimization efforts. Meta descriptions can also act as “organic ad text” which means, when your article ranks for a keyword, Google will show your meta description as a summary of a page.
This makes the meta description incredibly valuable on the SERPs. A compelling meta description has the ability to increase click-through rates and visits from organic search. This means users who see your page in the search results, are more likely to click through to your website, which ultimately leads to more traffic and visibility of your content.
Meta Description Length
It is best to keep meta descriptions between 155-160 characters, including spaces. In this case, less is more. Make sure to include the most important information and relevant keywords, in the beginning, so the information will be displayed to search engines, social media and mobile devices.
Remember, the goal of your meta description is to get visitors to click through to your website, so you will want to keep it relevant and stay within the character limits.
Meta Description Examples
Good Meta Description
Keyword Searched: Digital Marketing
In this example, the keyword is defined and included in the meta description. It also includes the correct character limit and ends with a complete sentence.
Bad Meta Description
Keyword Searched: Digital Marketing
In this example, the keyword is included in the meta description, but the term is not defined. The meta description is also deemed too long for Google, so it is cut off at the end.
Make it SEO Friendly
Write Compelling Ad Copy
In your meta description, you want to provide a short preview of your content and give the user a clear benefit of clicking through and reading your post. Your meta description essentially acts as advertising copy for your content, which makes it incredibly important to your search marketing. For best results, create informative and valuable copy that will sell what your content has to offer.
Avoid Duplicate Meta Tags
Meta descriptions should be unique to each of your webpages. If you create identical meta descriptions for different pages, it will result in a duplicate on SERPs. One way to avoid duplicate descriptions is to create an original description for each page.
For larger websites, that option is not always feasible. If you don’t have the time to create an original description for each webpage, I recommend using machine learning tools to help you semi-automate your writing process.
Your meta description should include one or two targeted keywords that help describe the content of your webpage. Make sure these keywords are relevant to the body copy of your page and help explain what visitors can expect to see if they click your link. Using keywords in your meta description will maximize click-through rates on search engine results pages when a query containing your keyword is searched.
Stay Within Character Limits
As previously mentioned, the character length of your meta description is important. Google measures this information by pixels and will cut off your description after a certain width. To play it safe, keep your meta description between 155-160 characters.
Meta descriptions aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Taking the time to craft a good meta description will help you engage with your potential visitors and show them what your content has to offer. With patience and the right approach, crafting a good meta description will boost your rankings and help your overall SEO efforts.