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Meta Descriptions: A complete guide

Meta Descriptions hold a prominent place behind the success of SEO campaigns. If you are planning to get the most out of your SEO efforts, you need to have a clear picture of what they are and how to use them.

What is a meta description?

The Meta Description is the summary of a web page. This meta description will be shown when that specific website is displayed on search engine results pages.

Meta descriptions for Search Results | SEOly

When you search for something on Google, you will be able to see a small description under the URL on the results pages. That’s the meta description. It is playing a major role behind the rankings that you can secure in search engine optimization.

The Meta Description is part of the meta tags (HTML elements) that are defined in the <head> section of a webpage. The structure of a meta description is the following:

Anatomy of the meta description tag | SEOly

How to write the perfect Meta Description

We’ll go through a handful of suggestions to optimize and improve your meta descriptions.

Make sure it is readable

You need to ensure that your meta description is readable. You shouldn’t be writing the meta description for search engines. Instead, you will need to keep the people in mind when writing your meta description. Make sure that you don’t add special characters such as the trademark icon, copyright symbol, and star sign your meta description. You should also refrain from the usage of excessive punctuation characters such as dots, dashes, and commas to get the maximum results.

Include keywords within the Meta Description

You should do keyword research and include the focus keywords related to your web pages in their respective meta descriptions. Along with this, you can deliver an indication of what is included on the page. You need to keep the keyword in meta description consistent with the primary keyword of your web page content. Then you will be able to keep the search engine algorithms away from getting confused. As a result, you will be able to secure better rankings. You can include multiple keywords in the meta description. However, ensure that the readability of your meta description is never lost while including multiple meta descriptions like that.

When you use the right keywords in your meta description, you will be able to secure better rankings. People who search on Google will be able to quickly see the keywords in your meta description. Hence, you can expect to receive more results. In other words, it is a proven method available for you to increase the CTR of your pages. When you do that, you can get more people to see what your business is offering and increase your chances of taking the business to greater heights.

Keep it under the appropriate length

There is a length restriction that you need to adhere to while writing your meta description. You need to keep it in your mind and make sure that your meta description is appropriately sized at all times. However, there is no hard and fast rule on the number of characters that you should limit. You just need to make sure that your meta description is not too long or not too short. Hence, we recommend you keep it under two sentences. In other words, your meta description should have between 70 and 155 characters when you are writing a meta description for Google. This would vary for other search engines.

Deliver the core message with a call to action

Your meta description should be in a position to deliver the core message of what your page is all about. You need to provide a reason for the search engine users to go ahead and click on the URL that you have included. Therefore, you should communicate what the page is all about through meta description.

One of the best methods available to encourage the visitors to click on your URL is to include a call to action. You can describe a problem that your potential customers have, provide the solution in brief, and ask them to click on the URL to get additional information about the solution. This is a perfect way to use a meta description and increase the number of visitors you get through search engines.

Keep the meta description unique

You know about the importance of having unique content on your web pages. The same applies to meta descriptions. You will need to keep your meta description unique as much as possible while differentiating from your competitors. This will keep you away from getting all benefits that come along with the meta description.

Think beyond your copy

You shouldn’t just write a summary in the meta description. Instead, you should beautify the meta description. Then you can make it look great on the search engines. Content in the meta description should be properly structured. Then you can catch the eyes of people who use search engines. For example, you can think about using customer reviews in your meta descriptions as well. Social proof is one of the best methods available for you to ensure the growth of your brand. Hence, you don’t have to think twice before you use customer reviews in the meta description.

Ensure meta descriptions are unique

Some people tend to duplicate meta descriptions and add them to multiple pages. You shouldn’t do it. Every single page should have a unique meta description and it should be related to the content. Then you can boost the click-through rates.

When’s the last time you checked your website’s meta descriptions?

SEOly has a suite of tools designed for Small Businesses and Agencies. We’ll do a full On-Page analysis for your website and spot any issues with your meta descriptions. Sign up now!



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Catalin Ionescu

Catalin Ionescu

Ruby on Rails Software Engineer Consultant. Bristol University alumnus. Founder of Organisely. Author of Modern Rails.