I’ll be the first to admit this: When I first blogged, I had a lot of new terms to learn.

Specifically, I don’t know the purpose of meta descriptions and why adding meta descriptions to blog posts is so important. After all, wouldn’t Google highlight the most relevant parts of my blog in search results? incomplete.

This post will show you why meta descriptions are important and how to write effective descriptions. Before that, though, let’s discuss what a meta description is.

What is a meta description?

Meta descriptions are snippets of information below the blue links in search results. Its purpose is to describe the content of the page to the searcher.

Any words that match the search term are bolded in the description. The ultimate goal is to convince and convince searchers to click through to your website.

Here is an example of a meta description that would appear on a Search Engine Results (SERP) page:

Meta description example on SerpNote that because the query is “What is inbound marketing?”, these two words are bolded in the meta description.

Also notice how the meta description gives a clear and concise snapshot of the topic, which shows readers what they can expect.

To remain visible in Google, you should keep your meta description between 140-160 characters in length.

Why are meta descriptions important?

Meta descriptions are important because they let Google know what your page is about. If Google can read and understand the content of your meta description, it will be easier for them to rank your pages to answer search queries.

🧡 TL;DR: Meta descriptions increase organic traffic and bring more attention to your pages.

If you don’t include a meta description, Google will display a paragraph of text from the first paragraph of your page. If there is a search keyword in this text, it will be displayed in bold. While that’s not a bad thing, excluding meta descriptions means missing out on an opportunity to personalize the message you deliver to your browser.

Meta description example

The meta description should be a quick, one- or two-sentence summary of the content of the web page. They should tell readers what they can expect to find when they click your link. For example, here is a meta description for a data-driven marketing report:

The meta description accurately describes what is in the report, who provided the information, and why the content is helpful to readers. If a browser is typing a query like “2021 SEO trends”, this meta description will most likely appear in its results.

Meta descriptions follow some simple rules: they are short, descriptive, and use keywords. But after that, you are free to dictate what they will say. Take advantage of this when you create meta descriptions:

Screenshot 2022-04-13 4.21.44 PM

If you know your web page will render content that is often considered a bit boring, the way to attract browsers is to craft a compelling meta description, like the one above.

Readers typically only check the first page of results for a search query. Therefore, your ranking on the page is important. Even if meta descriptions aren’t all that determines your rankings, in the end (you need to fully optimize your on-page SEO for this), they can definitely help.

A good meta description may appear on the first page of results, and a good meta description may even be the first, as in the following example:

real estate search results

The meta description tells Google how their page will solve the challenge of the query.

Now, you might be wondering if there is a secret key or formula for writing the dollar description in addition to the above rules. While the key hasn’t been found yet, there are some tips and tricks you can follow when writing your meta description. A few words, next.

Meta description hints

Google recommends that meta descriptions should tell users what the page is about. Based on the information in the meta description, search engines rank results based on relevance.

Think of the meta description as your page’s promotion. Communicate why the page is helpful to readers and make sure it accurately reflects what’s on the page. If readers don’t find what the meta description promises, they may click away.

Let’s learn some tips for writing amazing meta descriptions.

1. Answer the question.

People are likely to search Google for answers to their questions. Try to get inside their heads and think about what they are looking for and your content can help.

Use your meta description to answer the question with a solution or benefit. For example, let’s say your web page provides readers with free templates for writing standard operating procedures.

The most likely question an audience will ask on Google is “What is an SOP?” Well, your meta description should tell readers that they can use your Bootstrap template to learn how to write one. For example, if I were to write one to answer this query, this would be my meta description:

💻“Learn all about writing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and learn how to write amazing programs.”

This meta description answers that question and provides some details about the rest of the post.

2. Mention the solution to the challenge.

Provides solutions to challenges readers wish to solve. For example, if you’re writing a blog post that is a summary of a list of useful CRM software, mention how many items are in the post and why the post is valuable to readers.

If I were to write a meta description for a roundup, in this case I would use something like:

💻“Discover the 15 best CRM software options for your small business and see why they’re great for simplification, customer retention, and organization.”

Remember, the meta description is the elevator promotion for your page – selling your post content in a way that gets readers to click. The description tells the reader how many options they will read and why it is important to know them.

3. Keep the description concise.

The body of the page is where you educate your audience, so the meta description doesn’t need to be very long. Provide a quick summary of the page – or a point of the page that stands out to the reader. The length of the meta description should be less than 160 characters.

A good way to check the length of your meta description is to draft a tweet. Twitter limits you to 280 characters and notifies you when the limit is reached:

Meta description tweet checkIf your description takes up more than half of the circle in the tweet box, you should consider trimming it off. The meta description should serve as a snapshot, not the body of the article – save it when readers visit your page.

4. Don’t overuse keywords.

While your meta description should have keywords, it should also read naturally to the reader. If you overuse keywords just to rank high, readers may not understand your meta description. Incomprehensible descriptions can drive browsers away from your page.

For example, let’s say your web page is serving up content for interview materials, and the main keywords are “interview success,” “tips for great interviews,” and “interview preparation.”

You can write a meta description that reads as follows: “Interview Success Offer that can be downloaded for free to successfully prepare for an interview.” However, this is a bit clumsy to read and hard to understand, right? Instead, try to use something more fluid:

💻“Learn about interview tips and tricks with this downloadable job search toolkit.”

This description still uses two keywords, but is also meaningful to readers and gives them the context they need to understand how this offer page will help them.

5. Attractive and unique to readers.

If you can, make your meta description interesting and engaging. Something compelling will stop readers from scrolling through the SERPs. This is especially useful if your web content is engaging and unique.

Match the tone of the content in the metadata. Let’s say your page content is a blog post about funny workplace memes. Your description for this might be simple and do everything a meta description should do, e.g. “These 20 workplace memes are fun, timely and shareable.”

A description like this covers all your bases, but it ignores personality. This article sounds interesting and interesting, so it shouldn’t just stop at the text! Instead, try this more dramatic approach:

💻 “Make any professional understandable with these fresh and fun memes. Cat videos, anyone?”

A description like this can market your content, tell readers what they can expect, and still be fun in just two sentences.

6. Engage readers with calls to action.

If you want to convince readers to take action — or create a sense of urgency — try adding a call to action at the end of the description.

Let’s look at this example from Neil Patel:

Screenshot 2022-04-13 3.51.52 pm

There are many CTAs to choose from – for example: learn more, Sign up nowor Start your free trial. Context matters here, so choose what goes with what you provide.

7. Avoid repetitive meta descriptions.

While Google won’t actively penalize you for duplicating meta descriptions on your site, it’s still bad for SEO. Why? If you have too many identical descriptions, search engines may mark some of your content as low-quality or redundant, affecting your rankings.

Instead, make it meaningful, understandable, and descriptive—like it’s an elevator pitch for your blog post.

back to you

Your meta description is your chance to win over readers. Be sure to create engaging meta descriptions for your website to convince people to choose your content in the first place. After all, if your web page is useful and valuable to the browser, so should the content that describes it.

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