Make Meta Descriptions Work for You

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When it comes to SEO, there are many items you need to pay attention to that aren’t part of the visible page content. One is the meta description for each page.

What is a meta description?

A meta description is part of the HTML coding of each page that summarizes the page content. Search engines show the meta description in search results just below the page name when the searched-for phrase is within the description. This makes the meta description really important for SEO.

Descriptions are about 155 characters. They can make someone click or choose another search result. So, your descriptions need to be great.

What does a meta description do?

The purpose of the meta description is to offer a brief summary of the page content. This lets searchers decide if your page is helpful. A good meta description will get someone searching on Google to click your link. That’s a good thing!

Search engines say they don’t use meta description text it in their ranking algorithm. But there are reasons to make your meta descriptions great:

  • Google uses click-through-rate (CTR) as a way of working out whether you’re a good result. If more people click on your result, Google considers you to be a good result and will – based on your position – move you up the ranks.
  • If the search keyword matches a part of the text in the meta description, Google will use the meta description and highlight the keyword in the search results.
  • The description can make someone visit you, or not. You want it to make the case of why you should get that click!

What makes a great meta description?

Follow these guidelines to create great meta descriptions:

  • 155 characters
  • Accurately describe the page content
  • Use a focus keyword or phrase that reflects the page content
  • Active voice – entice people to the page
  • Answer the what’s-in-it-for-me for your page
  • Unique for each page and the site

Where do I put the meta description?

Most website content management systems have a field where you enter your meta description. Many will guide you on length to make sure yours is not too short or too long.

If you don’t have a CMS, you will need to enter the <meta name=”description”> tag to the HTML of your page.”