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All About Meta Descriptions

Before you publish a new post or page, do you write a meta description? You may ask, What is a meta description? A meta description isn’t as complex as it sounds. It’s simply an HTML attribute that provides a concise description of a webpage. They are found below the links in search results pages, and are generally between a single sentence to a short paragraph of text. 

Example of meta description on search result

In fact, you probably read a meta description before finding this article. What do they do? The main purpose of a meta description is to explain what is on the specific page. Most all internet users glance at the meta description without even knowing it. The ultimate goal is to attract users to click on your website.

Meta descriptions do not directly impact your page’s ranking within Google; however, it does indirectly affect them. One of the ranking factors that Google uses is click-through-rate (CTR). If a user searches for “delicious cupcakes” and finds the World’s Most Delicious Cupcakes search result and clicks it, Google now knows that this search result is valuable to the user.  They will now begin serving that page higher within searches with the ultimate goal of providing the most valuable results to users.

Google can generate meta descriptions automatically but that doesn’t mean you should pass up the strategic advantage you gain by writing your own. When you craft a solid meta description, you can:

  1. Be more specific with targeting a specific audience through your custom meta description.
  2. Rest easy knowing that Google didn’t accidentally mix information and display a short description that is inappropriate or confusing.

If you’re struggling with your website being on the bottom of search results, work to craft a meta description that can attract visitors to help Google bring your website higher in results.

How do you write meta descriptions?

If you’re using WordPress, we recommend using the BoldGrid SEO plugin to input your meta descriptions. Meta descriptions should be between 50 and 320 characters, including spaces. They should be sufficiently long to accurately describe the contents of the page. Descriptions that exceed approximately 320 characters are shortened by Google, so it’s best to keep descriptions below 320 characters.

Shortened meta description in search results

The style of the meta description should be positive and calling for action. Try to answer these questions while writing your meta description:

  • What is this page offering?
  • Why should someone visit this page?

Use words like ‘today’ and ‘learn’. For example, if my page is about frosting cupcakes, my meta description might be: “Frosting the perfect cupcake for a party can be a challenge. Learn how to overcome it today in our blog post”. This meta description allows us to relate to the viewer and then use a call to action to hopefully draw them in to click and read the full post.

Start with a question or a statement that people can relate to, then give the solution.

Keep them relevant

You have to keep your meta description relevant to that specific page. Otherwise, a user may not find what they are looking for because of an inaccurate meta description. When they click back to the search results page, this contributes to a high bounce rate and signals Google that the page does not contain valuable content to the user. This causes Google to lower rankings.

Include your keywords

If the keywords in your meta description match the keyword on that specific page, there is a high chance that Google will favor your website and move your rankings up.

What the Reader Will gain

Instead of just copying your first sentence and using it as your meta description, include a short description on what you think the viewer will gain by visiting that specific page or post.

Use Your Meta Description Strategically

Meta descriptions are important to the SEO of your website as they can help drive more traffic and leads. Focused descriptions can bring websites to the top of the search engine results. Remember that the BoldGrid SEO WordPress plugin allows you to easily input meta descriptions on each page and post to ensure online viewers can understand your website pages.

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