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How to create the right meta description

What is a Meta Description?

A meta description is a short snippet, a description tag in HTML, that summarizes a webpage's content. On a search engine results page (SERP), the meta description appears under the page title and URL.

It's a crucial component of on-page SEO, which is why you need to understand its optimization best practices. 

How to Write Meta Descriptions for SEO

Now that you know what a meta description is and why it's important for your site and content, let's go over how to write one. A good meta description prioritizes the user experience and has the following three features:

  • Answers these user questions: "What is the page about?" and "Why is my page the best choice for the search?"
  • Includes the primary keyword the page aims to rank for. Including the target keyword here is an on-page optimization opportunity. 
  • Uses benefits-focused content. Tell the reader what they'll get from clicking on your listing. 
  • Make it unique
  • Make sure it matches the content of the page
  • Show specifications, where possible 
  • Use your focus keyword
  • Include a call-to-action

To write a good meta description and increase your organic search click-through rate:

Put the most important information first

Every meta description needs to quickly communicate the subject matter - and benefit - of your page. If the web page is for a specific product, brand or topic, put those terms and keywords at the beginning.

Make your meta description conversational

Write for people, not search engines or algorithms. Natural language communicates better.

Position all content in terms of the benefits for the user

Rethink the concept of search engine optimization to search experience optimization. 

Edit it two or three times

With a second and even third pass through, you'll see better ways to fit more benefits, details, and value into the allotted space.

Don't be afraid to go back and update your meta descriptions, either! (But do note that updated meta descriptions don't immediately change on the results page - bots have to crawl your page again to pick up the change.)  

Best Practices When Writing Meta Descriptions

  • Length should be up to 920 pixels on desktop and 680 pixels on mobile, and no more!
  • Use action-oriented language. It gets clicks!
  • Make it specific and relevant. Put that keyword in and don't create duplicate meta descriptions!
  • Don't deceive users. They will hate you for that!
  • Provide a solution or benefit. Create value!

Write like this and meta descriptions become more than simply another important ranking factor for your page. It makes clicking your blog post, product or web page the only practical action. Hello, high CTR!

What To Avoid When Writing HTML Meta Descriptions

  • Don't stuff keywords. Repeating your keyword 9 times will get you penalized.
  • Don't copy and paste a large block of content from the page or post as the meta description. Take the time to write unique copy to give your user and search engines a page description that serves as your mini-ad.
  • Don't use the same description on more than one page or post. That confuses the search engines' bots and dilutes the effect. The same goes for your title tags and overall page content - you can run a site audit to check for duplicate content.  

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