Meta description is a concise summary, usually around 150-160 characters, that describes the content of a web page. It’s an HTML attribute that provides a succinct explanation of a webpage’s contents. While not a direct ranking factor for search engines like Google, meta descriptions are essential as they appear in search results beneath the page title, playing a crucial role in a user’s decision to click on a page.
The primary purpose of the meta description is to generate click-throughs from search engines. Well-written meta descriptions can entice users to click on your webpage instead of a competitor’s, increasing your page’s click-through rate (CTR) which is an important user interaction signal for search engines. This is why including target keywords in the meta description is beneficial. When a user’s search query matches words in the meta description, search engines are likely to highlight them, making the link to the page more enticing.
To craft an effective meta description, start by ensuring that it accurately reflects the content of the page. Misleading users can result in high bounce rates which may negatively impact SEO. Keep the length within the recommended 150-160 characters to avoid truncation in search results. Incorporate target keywords, but avoid keyword stuffing. Use a compelling and active voice with a clear call-to-action (CTA) like “Learn more,” “Discover,” or “Get started.” This encourages users to engage with your content.
To add or edit a meta description, you’ll typically use the content management system (CMS) you’re working with, like WordPress, which has specific SEO plugins (such as Yoast SEO) where you can enter your meta description. For those coding a site manually, the meta description can be added in the head section of your HTML using the following tag:
<meta name="description" content="Your compelling meta description goes here.">.