Meta Description: Everything You Need to Know

Written by: Akanshha Agrawal on

The meta description is a small text that search engines display in the search results. This is a small snippet that users read before opening the web page. This plays an important role in on-page SEO.

After reading this article, you will know the following:

  • What is a meta description?
  • What is the importance of a meta description?
  • How to write a good meta description?

What is a meta description?

As the name sounds, the meta description tag provides a short description of the web page. It is an HTML tag that is included in the code of your website. This is one of the SEO meta tags that help your page ranking.

You can add a meta description to your website using the following code: <meta name=”description” content=”…” />

The description is shown in the search results. Apart from the title and URL, this is the only thing that the reader sees before opening a page. It wouldn’t be incorrect to say that meta description plays a huge role in whether a reader opens the page or not.

At times, Google chooses a random snippet from your webpage and displays it as the meta description. The chances of happening this are the highest when the keyword being searched for is not mentioned in the description.

Importance of meta description?

The meta description is one of the few things that the user looks at while looking at the search results. A good description will tell the user enough such that they want to open and read the web page.

The description is a great way of increasing the click-through-rate. This gives you a way of engaging with the user before they actually read your content. They are more likely to open your website if you can even show them a snippet of something they like.

Search engines such as Google do not use meta descriptions directly while ranking web pages. However, it does have several indirect benefits:

  • Meta descriptions can raise the click-through-rate, which then improves the page rank.
  • Meta descriptions serve as an ad copy that shows the users a snippet of the content.
  • If the description includes the search keyword, Google will bold the same and direct users’ attention to your page.
  • Communicates the purpose and nature of the web page to Google. As the description is so short, it is implied that only the most important part of the page will be included there.

How to write a good meta description?

Writing a good meta description is surprisingly very easy. All you need to do is keep a few points in mind.

We discuss all of these in detail below.

Write about 155-160 characters

The meta description should be simple and concise. There is no specified character limit for this. Generally speaking, the description length should be between 155-160 characters is a good idea. This will ensure that you get the point and connect with the reader.

If you are unsure of the length, you should use tools such as Mangools’s SERP Simulator. This will give you a preview of the website as seen on the search results page.

Match the search intent

Before writing the meta description, you should be aware of the search intent of the user. Some of the common search intents are:  

  • Informational: This is the most common search intent. This is when users are simply researching and look for information on many topics. This could be anything from a recipe to the weather to computers.
  • Transactional: Millions of people buy products on the internet. Prior to buying something, people come to the internet to research it. For example, you want to buy a laptop, but you are not sure of the brand or model. In such a situation, you will want information on many different laptops.
  • Commercial: This search intent is when users want to buy an item. This usually comes after the transactional intent as users have narrowed down on the product they want.

The description should match the search intent. If the intent is informational, then you should add a description of a product you are selling.

Add a call to action

You should always add a call to action at the end of the meta description. This should match the search intent.

For example, if the search intent is informational, then the call to action can be “Read to find out!” or “Find the step-by-step guide here!”.

Focus on readability

As with everything else, your meta description should be readable. Writing in an active voice is really helpful in this regard.

Active voice reflects how we speak. It follows the following format: subject + verb + object. If you are doubtful of this, just read the sentence out loud and see how it sounds.

Make sure the words you use aren’t complicated or just plain boring. It shouldn’t be something repetitive that you have just copied from the competitors.

The description is equivalent to an ad that you see before deciding on buying the product. The ad should excite you, and you want to see the real deal.

Use focus keyword

You should add your focus keyword to each meta description. Ideally, this should be at the beginning of the description.

If a user searches for the keyword, then the keyword in the description will be highlighted by Google. This tells the user that the article contains exactly what they are looking for.

Make sure that you don’t overdo it and stuff the description with keywords. At the end of the day, readability remains the most important aspect.

Keep it unique

You should add a unique meta description for each web page. This should reflect the content of the page.

Don’t simply copy one SEO description to each web page or copy someone else’s. This is a great way to connect with your users, and you should take full advantage of it.

Conclusion

So, there you go! That’s everything you need for writing an SEO meta description. Here’s a quick recap of the points we discussed:

  • The description aims to give a brief summary to the readers.
  • Add a unique description for each web page.
  • Keep the description simple and concise.
  • Focus on writing a readable description rather than just stuffing it with keywords.
  • Include a call-to-action in each description which prompts the reader to open the web page.

Following these simple guidelines will ensure that you always write the perfect description.

As always, please reach out to us if you have any questions about meta descriptions.

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