The Meta Description: What Is It and How To Utilize It

Spoonfed SEO - The Meta Description

Welcome back Spoonfeeders! (Told you I was sticking with it!)

Today we’re going to be taking a look at the meta description. One of the more under-utilised and underestimated aspects of any SEO campaign.

The Meta Description – What Is It?

The meta description is just that; a description of your page. It’s your visitors first impression of your site and if you don’t give them what they’re looking for in this brief paragraph, chances are they wont click through!

It’s not visible on your website, just on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page). It’s that little paragraph just under your title and URL on the SERP.

SpoonfedSEO Meta-Description Example

While the meta description technically has no direct impact on SEO and rankings, it does influence CTR (Click Through Rate), which has a huge bearing on your rankings on the SERP.

So stuffing keywords wont work, as Google doesn’t really care what this paragraph says. However, smart positioning of keywords is vital as these get bolded when the search query matches a term in your description.

Think of it like this; the better, more relevant and enticing your meta description, then the more likely users are to read it, get a sense of “this is what I’m looking for”, and click through to your site.

The more clicks, the higher CTR. The higher your CTR, the higher you rank. Simples.

Writing The Meta Description

There’s a few key items to bear in mind when writing your meta description:

Length:

There’s a lot of conflicting information out there about how long the description should be. This is due to a recent-ish change where Google increased the description size up to a massive 300+ characters. People lost their minds and wrote descriptions for days!

However, they quickly returned this to the usual 155 – 160 characters and that’s where it currently stands. So anything over 160 characters and you’re likely to get cut off.

Keywords:

Just like the length, there’s a lot of conflicting information about the use of keywords in the meta description as well. There’s people who say keywords don’t matter in the description and people who say they do.

The truth is; they’re both right.

As I mentioned above, the description has no direct bearing on SEO. Meaning all those keywords you just stuffed in there are useless.

However, when someone searches for a keyword; if that keyword is in your description, then it will be bolded and stand out to the user, prompting them to read it and hopefully click through.

So yes, keywords have absolutely no effect on SEO in your description, but careful use of keywords in your meta description is vital for an increased CTR and thus better SEO… Am I making sense?

Uniqueness:

Listen to me very carefully. For the love of all that’s holy, don’t just write one meta description and then duplicate this across all pages on your website.

If that sounds crazy to you, then good! But there’s actually people who do this.

Duplicating your descriptions holds no value to you. You need to utilise each description to accurately describe each page. Your home page, contact page, about us, product pages etc. all have different uses and different stories to tell.

So why would you introduce all of them with the same paragraph?

Take some time, look at the pages you have and draft an appropriate meta description for each page.

Don’t Leave it Blank

Lastly, the only thing worse than duplicating a meta description, is having no description at all.

You’d be shocked at the amount of websites that haven’t bothered at all with meta descriptions. They might even write one for the homepage and pack things up ‘cause that’s a job well done.

Folk’s, no. Stop it!

If you leave this vital real estate alone, you’re leaving it up to search engines like Google to just make up their own description based on the content that they find on the page.

You’re gonna have a bad time.

You're going To Have A Bad Time - SpoonfedSEO

So that’s a wrap for the Meta Description. I hope you found the answer you were looking for! For an overview on any other SEO related terms you can check out our last post here on SEO Key Terms.

If you’d like more information or need to get in touch, you can contact me on through the form on the Contact Us page.

‘Till next time, Spoonfeeders!

Author: Brian C

Brian is an SEO Manager for a leading Irish digital agency. With years of experience across Social Media Management, Content Development and Strategy and SEO for clients across a diverse portfolio, Brian shares his insights to make digital digestible for everyone.

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