What Is Meta Description?
Meta description refer to the webpage summary that shows in search engine results. It is placed under the title tag on the search engine results page (SERP).
Meta descriptions are crucial for the sales funnel and search engine optimization. It lets users know what to expect when opening the webpage.
It encourages them to click through and enter the page rather than check out other results.
Google displays meta descriptions below the URL and title tags, but more often than not, Google doesn’t show them. In these cases, you can safely assume it’s a problem with the HTML code on your website.
In the <head> section of every page’s code, you should provide the meta description if you want it to appear on the search engine results page. It looks something like this:
<meta name= “description” content= “Description for a certain website that you can customize on your own.”>
If you’re using content management systems or SEO plugins for your website, they allow you to add meta descriptions for your pages without editing the page’s code.
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On WordPress and other content management systems, it should appear under the Slug edit option.
Why Is Meta Description Important?
SEO meta descriptions don’t directly factor in ranking a page. Search engines like Google and Bing don’t usually consider them when deciding website rankings.
Are you familiar with the snippets that appear on a Google search when searching for a topic or a question? These are the reasons why meta descriptions are essential for search engine optimization. They generate snippets that tell searchers and prospects about your page.
Impact On CTR
Another reason why meta descriptions are vital for your website pages is the Click-Through Rate (CTR).
When a snippet is generated, an effective one can convince customers and searchers to click on your link, thus increasing your click-through rate and improving brand awareness.
Improving your click-through rate can positively impact your search engine optimization. As the search result drives traffic to your website, it indicates to Google that it offers quality content that searchers are interested in.
Google Rewrites Meta Descriptions
However, suppose Google suspects your HTML meta description isn’t related to your website page or doesn’t satisfy the searcher’s intent. In that case, it can generate a different snippet based on content from your website.
In March 2022, Google began to rewrite hard-coded meta descriptions to match them with the triggering search query. Officers at Google explained that their search engine rewrites meta descriptions occasionally for different reasons, such as:
- Poor use of meta descriptions. For example, if the meta description doesn’t match the content of your web page, Google will rewrite it to match the page’s existing content to match the searcher’s intent.
- Google can rewrite the meta description of your page to accurately match the search query with the web page if the meta description content is missing a part of the search query.
- Google is trying to match the search query with the content.
Meta Description Examples
Meta descriptions take several forms, each serving a different use. Remember the searcher’s intent for your web page when writing your meta descriptions. Your meta descriptions also appear in social media snippets when sharing your web page.
Here are the different examples of meta descriptions:
Meta Description HTML Example
The meta description tag goes inside the head section of the HTML document. Here is how your meta description will look like in the HTML code:
<head> <title>Page Title</title> <meta name= “description” content=” This is a brief 150 character summary of this web page. It highlights the main topics covered and gives search engines a preview of the content.” > </head>
And in our Homepage , our Meta description in the HTML source code looks like this :
The essential parts are:
- The name attribute is set to “description.” This identifies the tag as the meta description.
- The content attribute contains the actual description text.
- The description should provide a concise overview of what the page is about. You should include focus keywords and long-tail variations to match the searcher’s intent and search queries.
- The meta description tag controls how your web page is displayed in search engine results pages (SERPs). Refining your website page to follow the standard search engine optimization rules is crucial.
Search Engines Preview
Most major search engines, including Google, Bing, and Yahoo, use the meta description tag to generate preview snippets for pages in search results. Here is a brief of how it works:
- When a user searches for a keyword or phrase, the search engine scans its index for relevant web pages.
- The search engine looks for a meta description tag for each matching page. It will be used to create the preview text snippet if one is present.
- The description is truncated to fit nicely within the search results—usually about 1–2 lines of text.
- Google will auto-generate a snippet from the page content if no meta description exists. However, this may not accurately summarize the page, so you should always write an accurate summary of your page to match the searcher’s intent.
If the meta description fits the character length, relates to the searcher’s intent and search query, and lives up to the standard of the quality content Google has set for meta descriptions, it will improve CTR.
Social Media Platforms Preview
Social networking platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn also make use of meta descriptions when displaying content previews. Here are some examples:
- Facebook Open Graph meta tags allow control over how posts and pages display when shared on Facebook. The “og:description” tag is used for the main text snippet.
- Twitter has summary card meta tags to customize previews. The “twitter:description” tag is used for the description text.
- LinkedIn looks for the standard HTML meta description tag to generate preview summaries of shared pages.
- Other social platforms like Pinterest, Skype, and Slack likewise use meta descriptions for link previews.
Here is how our Homepage is being displayed as Card when shared on Twitter
When content gets shared on social media, the meta description generates an accurate, engaging summary of your website page.
Meta Description Length Limit
Our SEO specialists recommend keeping meta descriptions between 150 and 160 characters. Here is why:
- Search engines cut off descriptions longer than 160 characters. Any extra text is wasted.
- Short descriptions are more likely to display fully in search results. Longer ones often get truncated.
- Scannability is important. Searchers prefer concise previews they can skim.
- Less text is displayed on mobile devices, so shorter descriptions work better.
However, the 160-character guideline is not a hard rule. Here are a few exceptions:
- Google sometimes displays snippets longer than 160 characters—up to around 320. So, longer descriptions may be previewed fully.
- Long titles can force longer descriptions, so the optimal length depends on the title tag.
- Descriptions right at 160 characters may get truncated awkwardly mid-sentence. Allowing 170+ characters can improve flow.
- Unique descriptions tailored to each page provide more value to users than rigidly short ones.
The most important factors are:
- Providing a concise, accurate preview of the content.
- Catching attention with compelling, benefit-focused text.
- Achieving full display in search and social results.
So, while 160 characters are recommended, the best length depends on context. The goal is an informative, engaging description optimally positioned where users will see it.
How To Write Meta Descriptions That Win?
Writing optimized meta descriptions is crucial for improving search engine and social media click-through rates. The process of writing meta descriptions is associated with SEO copywriting, as writing an accurate summary of your website page that gives an accurate outline of the page to your readers is an art of its own. Here are 5 Best Practices To Write Winning Meta Descriptions:
1- Avoid Long and Misleading Meta Descriptions
When writing your website page meta description, you need to keep in mind that the ideal meta description length is between 150–160 characters. Anything longer risks getting cut off in search engine result pages (SERPs). Misleading descriptions that don’t accurately portray the content will only frustrate users, resulting in hard-coded rewriting from Google, and decreasing of click-through rates.
Keep your descriptions brief and ensure they provide an accurate preview of what readers will find on the page. The content should match the description—don’t oversell or include information not actually on the page. Stick to an honest representation of the core topics covered. And always remember, you’re writing for humans before Search engines.
2- Keep Away from Stuffing Keywords
Don’t just stuff the meta description full of keywords to rank better. Search engines will see right through that tactic, and rewrite the entire meta description. Most rewritten meta descriptions don’t put an accurate summary of what the page is actually about.
Use keywords naturally where appropriate, but focus more on writing high-quality descriptions for users. Your keywords and phrases should be targeted for users who would search for what you sell, so they immediately know the content will be relevant.
But keep the overall description engaging and readable.
Further Reading : What Is Keyword Cannibalization?
3- Make it Short and Concise
Get straight to the point. Neither you nor your reader have the time to read useless fluff. You only have a few seconds to grab the searcher’s attention in the SERP snippets. Highlight the content’s most compelling and exciting aspects rather than trying to cram in every topic.
Write tight, scannable descriptions that communicate the core focus and value of your content to the searcher. Every word counts.
4- Keyword-First Placement
Our SEO specialists at Brandria tell us that placing your target keyword right at the beginning of the meta description improves the click-through rate. But don’t force it—fit it in naturally, so it flows well.
Suppose you force your focus keyword at the beginning of your meta descriptions. In that case, you will not only face issues with an unnatural flow of the meta description content, but you will also risk decreasing the overall click-through rate of this specific web page.
The prime positioning of having your focus keyword at the beginning of the sentence makes it more eye-catching and emphasizes relevancy.
5- Avoid Programmatically Generated Meta Descriptions
Many content management systems (CMS) auto-generate meta descriptions from page content. This often results in bloated, unwieldy, and unnatural descriptions that are far from optimal for your readers and search engines.
Always take the time to handcraft meta descriptions for essential pages. Treat it like any other type of creative content writing. This will be a job for your SEO copywriters, as they’re trained to handle meta description in ways that increase conversions. When you hire an SEO agency, like Brandria, you won’t have to split your focus on such trivial yet critical parts of your search engine optimization strategy.
Research the target keywords and what users are looking for. Then, carefully compose compelling, strategically optimized descriptions tailored to each page.
Investing effort in custom meta descriptions provides better ROI than relying on generic sitewide-generated ones. Show users your pages merit clicking on through well-written previews.
Meta Description Testing Tools
SEO specialists around the world are equipped with the most sophisticated tools to write and check all sorts of SEO-related texts, including meta descriptions. These meta descriptions checker tools host the ability to assist you in writing optimized meta descriptions. Our SEO specialist recommend using these tools to write winning meta descriptions:
- MozBar – Browser plugin that shows the meta description Google displays. This allows testing different versions to pick the best one.
- SERP Snippet Optimization Tool—Previews exactly how meta descriptions will appear on desktop and mobile Google results.
- SEO Review Tools – Analyzes meta descriptions for issues like being too long or stuffed with keywords.
- Ubersuggest – Researches keyword demand to help optimize descriptions for top searches.
- SEMrush – Shows keyword difficulty so that you can match descriptions to searcher intent.
- Surfer SEO – Identifies missing and duplicate meta descriptions to improve coverage.
- Google Search Console – Provides data on query impressions and click-through rates.
- Google Analytics – Tracks meta description click-through and site conversion rates.
- SEO Quake – An online meta description checker Chrome extension.
- SEO Minion – A Chrome extension that hosts a lot of SEO tools, both On-page and technical SEO. It also provides SERP simulation tool for meta directions.
- Mangools – An online SaaS tool that simulates meta directions and title tags.
Testing different meta-description variations is critical to improving click-throughs. The right tools make this process more efficient by providing data insights and previews. Invest time perfecting your meta descriptions for a measurable SEO and user experience boost.
While meta descriptions don’t directly affect search engine optimization, it can have an impact on rankings and click-through rates. Your meta descriptions are the first impressions that you give the searchers, if they like it and find it fit for their needs, they will click on your page, if not, your rankings will decrease.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is meta description with example?
A meta description is a short summary of a web page’s content that displays under the title tag in search engine results pages. For example:
<meta name="description" content="This is an example page meta description of around 150 characters that summarizes the main topics covered on the page.">
The description should provide a concise overview of the core focuses of the page content to inform searchers.
Is Meta description the same as SEO?
No, meta descriptions are just one aspect of overall SEO best practices. The meta description tag optimizes how a page appears in search results, which can help improve click-through rates. But many other on-page and off-page factors go into SEO as well.
Where do I write my meta description?
The meta description code should be written in the head section of a web page’s HTML, contained within a <meta> tag. It goes inside the <head> tags before the closing </head> tag. You can also write your meta descriptions without having to embed the text in the <head> HTML tag using content management systems (CMS) like WordPress and Wix.
What is a meta in SEO?
In SEO, a “meta” refers to metadata—which is data that describes other data. The meta description, meta keywords, meta title tags, and open graph meta tags are all examples of metadata used to optimize web pages for search engines and social sharing. Metadata gives additional context and information about the actual content on the page.