The meta description is an HTML attribute used to explain what a web page is about. It may seem in search outcomes as a snippet below the title tag to supply extra context.

1 site explorer meta description

Right here’s how the code snippet appears to be like:

<meta identify="description" content material="Website Explorer runs on an enormous database of 12 trillion hyperlinks and 402 million tracked key phrases to provide the most full website positioning information about any web site or URL.">

Although the meta description attribute is just not a rating issue and Google reveals it in search outcomes solely 37% of the time, it’s nonetheless part of on-page website positioning that content material publishers typically encounter.

On this information, you’ll learn to create nice meta descriptions quick and how one can audit them effectively. However first, let me clarify why meta descriptions nonetheless matter regardless of their seemingly low website positioning significance.

Why meta descriptions nonetheless matter

Having a compelling meta description entices extra individuals to click on in your web site within the search outcomes. That’s vital, though Google solely reveals meta descriptions in 37% of the time.

2 google rewrites meta descriptions study

For instance, in case your web page will get 50,000 impressions a month, Google reveals the meta description for 18,500 of these impressions on common. Growing your CTR from 4% to simply 4.5% on this occasion would lead to nearly 100 extra clicks.

So when you shouldn’t obsess over meta descriptions, it’s nonetheless value spending a minute of your time on pages the place ‘sure’ is the reply to at the very least certainly one of these questions:

  • Is the web page meant to drive natural site visitors?
  • Is it more likely to be shared on social media?

That second query in all probability wants an evidence.

You see, when a web page is shared on social media, it pulls the outline from Open Graph meta tags.

3 meta description social

However in the event you haven’t set an OG or Twitter description, it pulls the meta description as a substitute. So in the event you’re solely keen to make an effort to set certainly one of these tags, it needs to be the meta description.

Onto the creation course of.…

Tips on how to write a meta description

Observe these 5 steps to create your meta descriptions rapidly and simply:

  1. Develop in your title tag
  2. Match search intent
  3. Use energetic voice
  4. Be concise
  5. Deploy the meta description

Let’s get into it.

1. Develop in your title tag

All the time take into consideration the outline as one thing that enhances the title tag. Titles ought to summarize a web page utilizing just a few most important key phrases that characterize the subject. The meta description presents an opportunity to increase on that additional.

4 check broken links meta description

Within the case above, the quick description motivates customers to click on on our damaged hyperlink checker as a result of:

  • It checks pages and web sites.
  • It takes inside and exterior hyperlinks under consideration.
  • The software is quick.
  • It’s not a lead technology entice; you should use it on the web page proper away.

Don’t fear about shoehorning key phrases right here. It’s extra vital that you simply create one thing that connects with the reader and entices the press. Use your USPs the place appropriate.

2. Match search intent

Search intent is the ‘why’ behind a question. In different phrases, what are most individuals on the lookout for once they seek for your most important key phrase?

  • Do they need info?
  • Do they need to purchase one thing?
  • Are they on the lookout for a particular web site?
  • Do they need a fast reply to a query?

You should utilize the search outcomes as a proxy for this. Google strives to supply essentially the most related outcomes for searchers, so search for commonalities amongst the snippets of top-ranking pages.

For instance, nearly each outcome for “meta description” reveals a definition within the snippet…

5 meta desciription definition snippets

…so we’ll go along with that as properly.

Different SERPs will not be as easy, however you possibly can at all times decide up on some clues. Let’s check out “how one can tie a tie”:

6 how to tie a tie

All of the snippets speak about various kinds of knots, and most point out how the submit consists of step-by-step directions. That tells us this stuff are in all probability vital to searchers and are value together with in a meta description.

Simply watch out with blended intent SERPs like “standing desk.”

7 standing desks results

You possibly can see that there’s a mixture of outcomes right here. Some are weblog posts reviewing the very best standing desks, and others are product class pages from on-line shops.

In circumstances like this, it is best to take inspiration from the web page snippets that the majority intently align with the kind of content material you’re publishing. If you happen to’ve written a weblog submit about standing desks, take a look at the evaluate and comparability posts. If you happen to’ve created an ecommerce class web page, take a look at these.

3. Use energetic voice

Lively voice improves readability and entices the press by addressing the searcher instantly.

Right here’s an instance:

activevoice md

You possibly can see that it begins with a verb and makes the searcher the topic of the sentence. In different phrases, it’s the searcher who’s performing the motion.

Now take a look at this:

In comparison with the primary instance, it’s boring and demotivating. That’s as a result of it’s written within the passive voice.

Sidenote.

I wrote that as a foul instance to make the purpose. It’s not an actual description. 

In fact, it’s not at all times clever to jot down meta descriptions in an energetic voice. Working example: definition-style descriptions. However as a common rule of thumb, passive voice is extra the exception than the rule.

Be taught extra concerning the distinction between energetic and passive voice right here.

4. Be concise

Meta descriptions should not a spot for storytelling. Each phrase issues as a result of customers rapidly determine what to click on on by skimming the outcomes and since descriptions truncate after a sure size.

10 tie knots snippets

Proper now, that size is 920px (~160 characters) on desktop and 680px (~120 characters) on cell. Your greatest wager to maintain them inside size is to make use of a software like this one, or a WordPress website positioning plugin like Yoast with the performance built-in.

11 meta description length

Whether or not you’re higher off optimizing for cell or desktop customers will depend on your viewers. If you happen to usually go for longer descriptions for desktop customers, be sure to get to the purpose by ¾ of the size so even cell customers can see it.

What’s the takeaway right here? Be concise for customers, not serps. The size restrict is an effective sign that there is perhaps pointless phrases.

5. Deploy the meta description

If you happen to’re utilizing a CMS, that is tremendous straightforward. In Wix, Squarespace, Shopify, and most others, you’ll discover a place to sort or paste your meta description within the backend.

12 squarespace meta description

In WordPress, plugins like Yoast and RankMath add this similar performance.

If you happen to don’t use a CMS, simply paste the meta description tag into the <head> part of your HTML code.

13 meta description code

Suggestion

If you happen to’re including the meta description straight into the code, don’t use citation marks within the description itself as a result of it can break issues. As an alternative, use the HTML entity &quot; so it appears to be like like this:

<meta identify="description" content material="Simply exhibiting how one can use &quot;citation marks&quot; in meta description.">

If you happen to use citation marks when including a meta description in CMS and plugins, they’ll normally handle the HTML transcoding for you.

Tips on how to prioritize meta description creation and enhancing

Throughout the publishing course of is just not the one time it is best to take meta descriptions under consideration. You would possibly have already got pages which have a foul meta description or none at all.

There’s no level in auditing your complete web site for meta descriptions. As an alternative, concentrate on pages that get essentially the most search site visitors. That’s when a greater meta description could make an actual distinction.

You will discover these pages in Ahrefs Webmaster Instruments. Simply make a free account, run a crawl with Website Audit, then go to Web page Explorer and apply these filters:

14 site audit page explorer filters

Subsequent, click on on the “Handle columns” button and choose “Natural site visitors,” “Meta description,” and “Meta description size”:

Lastly, type the pages by their natural site visitors:

16 page explorer organic traffic

Now you’re taking a look at your most vital meta descriptions. Test for those who aren’t nice or which can be lacking fully.

Whereas I like to recommend this “catch-all” technique, it’s also possible to select solely to verify lacking meta descriptions. And that’s even simpler as they’re reported instantly within the On-page report:

17 page explorer on page

Click on on the “View affected URLs” button to open the report and kind the pages by natural site visitors to get the prioritization proper:

18 meta description empty error

That was a reasonably straightforward audit, proper? What about some extra writing inspiration?

Nice meta description examples

Let’s wrap issues up with just a few examples of well-crafted meta descriptions throughout industries and search intents.

1. Healthline

19 healthline meta description

Most searchers are seemingly on the lookout for a definition right here, in order that’s what this meta description reveals. It then prompts the reader to be taught extra about the advantages of glycine by clicking. Easy and environment friendly.

2. TimeOut

20 timeout meta description

I assumed that I’d see blended outcomes of neighborhoods and lodges right here, however the search outcomes predominantly concentrate on Prague’s areas. And this description matches intent completely. It presents an answer in a concise, lighthearted, and actionable method. Mentioning “5 greatest “neighborhoods additionally tells the search they received’t need to spend an age studying it.

3. Patagonia

21 patagonia meta description

Right here, the searcher is on the lookout for sale objects. I just like the urgency sign initially; it feels extra authentic and fewer aggressive than these are usually. Then you definitely see an affirmation of what you got here for, ending with Patagonia’s distinctive asset: supporting sustainability and conservation.

4. Nordstrom

22 nordstrum meta description

That is the epitome of a fantastic e‑commerce class web page within the search outcomes. It’s possible that Nordstrom lists their hottest sorts of coats and types right here. Free delivery can also be probably a USP in these SERPs as just one different outcome talked about it.

5. Shopify

23 shopify meta description

Our final instance is a homepage. This a class of its personal as a result of you must mirror your model and what you do. Shopify does this properly. It’s clear and prompts you to strive the service for free.

Your homepage is the one web page the place I’d advise spending extra time on the meta description as a result of it principally seems for branded queries the place the intent is obvious. Because of this, Google is extra more likely to present the meta description within the SERPs.

Last ideas

Meta descriptions are one of many first matters most individuals encounter upon coming into the world of website positioning. Fortunately, it’s additionally one of many best to know and grasp, so that you received’t ever need to spend a lot time on it.

For extra issues that transfer the needle in website positioning, try our listing of actionable website positioning ideas.

Obtained any questions? Be happy to ping me on Twitter.

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