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What is a Meta Description?

What is a Meta Description?

Meta descriptions are a crucial part of your content. It’s the piece that you use to sell your post and get visitors clicking on it, so writing an effective one is essential for increasing traffic to your site. But what makes a good meta description? And how do you write one? This blog post will answer those questions and more!


Definition of a Meta Description

A meta description is a short snippet of text, usually 160 characters or less, that appears under the title and URL of your post in search engine results pages (SERPS). It’s often used to describe what content bloggers have written about.

WebCitz Google result with the meta description highlighted

Why are Meta Descriptions Important?

It’s what you use to entice your visitors into clicking on a link, so writing an effective meta description is essential for increasing traffic and leads. You see, the meta description is often the only piece of information about your content that searchers will see in search engine results, so it’s important to use keywords and be concise.

Related: How to Write Effective Page Titles.


What is an Effective Meta Description?

An effective meta description grabs the attention of readers and provides a snapshot of what the article’s content contains, without giving away too much information or providing any spoilers. It should also contain keywords that are relevant to your target audience so it can rank higher in search results. Let’s dive deeper…


How to Write Effective Meta Descriptions

1.) Use relevant key phrases

Use key phrases from your content so readers who don’t want to read the whole thing know whether or not they’re interested for them before clicking through. Make sure these phrases reflect what people would be looking for if they were searching on Google, which means including words like ‘best beauty products’ as opposed to just ‘beauty products’.

WebCitz Meta Description highlight showing a Key phrase

2.) Do not duplicate meta descriptions

Duplicate meta descriptions are one of the most common mistakes you can make. This is because it will tell search engines to show the same meta description for both pages, which is a bad thing. To avoid this issue, you should create unique and relevant descriptions for each page on your site.

Two Duplicate websites with a red x through one of them

3.) Do not use too many keywords

Using more than three or four keywords will look spammy and may even cause your post to rank lower on Google’s results page. Instead, try using a keyword phrase that captures what your article is about in descriptive terms.

4.) Write concisely with an eye for SEO value

Your meta descriptions should be no more than 135 characters in length to make them readable and easy for search engine crawlers to index. Long meta descriptions can also make it harder for readers to figure out what your post is about.

5.) Don’t repeat keywords

This one is pretty much common sense, but it’s the easiest way to see your post rank higher on Google without having to do a bunch of complicated SEO strategies.

If you have links within your article that are relevant or important enough that they can stand alone as their own piece of content, include them at the end with ‘read more’ after each description so people who don’t want click through will still know what content awaits them.

If you’re an avid blogger or run a website where new posts get published regularly, this process becomes even more important. Your meta descriptions should be dynamic and change as needed to reflect the content of each post, whether it’s a new product you’re reviewing or an article on a recent event that everyone is talking about.

7.) Use rich snippets

Meta descriptions can now include rich snippets, which show up as yellow ‘snippets’ under the title on Google’s search results page. The goal here is to make it even easier for people to find your content in a sea of competing posts and websites by providing information like a site rating or review score. These are added through HTML tags within the description itself, so be sure to include them when they’re relevant!

8.) Keep the length just right

The average meta description should be between 160 and 170 characters in length. This is the ideal length because it’s long enough to be descriptive but short enough that people don’t get bored and scroll past your post.

9.) Don’t include too much promotional language

The goal of a meta description is not to sell the product or service you’re offering, but rather to intrigue readers with what they can expect from reading your content. This means avoiding phrases like ‘why you need to buy our products’ in favor of something vague like ‘how this cream saved her skin’.

10.) Use numbers when appropriate

If you’re writing a list or have numbered points in your post, include the numbers to make it easier for people to find what they’re looking for. In fact, you should include numbers here and there throughout your meta descriptions as it makes them more descriptive without being too wordy.

Using numbers also makes your post look more accurate and authoritative. In fact, studies have shown that posts with numbers see higher conversions and more social shares.

the number 50 highlighted in a meta Description

11.) Tags are also important

Tags provide search engine crawlers with an indication of what category or subject matter each article covers so that they can better index content based on relevance rather than just keywords alone. It’s a good practice to use keyword rich tags whenever possible to improve rankings, while simultaneously giving readers relevant options about where their interests lie.

If you feel like you’re lacking in any of these areas, make sure you take a look at our post on what an SEO Audit is to see if that path is right for you!


Final Thoughts on Writing a Great Meta Description

In conclusion, writing effective meta descriptions is a nuanced process that takes time to master. As much as we may want, there’s no magic bullet or easy solution for this problem.

But by following some basic guidelines about length and content, you can at least ensure your post has a fighting chance of ranking high on search engine results pages, while also providing readers with the information they need when deciding whether or not it’s worth clicking through.

Disclaimer: WebCitz, LLC does not warrant or make any representations concerning the accuracy, likely results, or reliability of the information found on this page or on any web sites linked to from this page. This blog article was written by Timothy A in his or her personal capacity. The opinion(s) expressed in this article are the author's own and may not reflect the opinion(s) of WebCitz, LLC.