What is a Meta Description?

A Meta Description is a brief summary that describes the page’s content. This description is placed inside a HTML Meta Description tag.

This is what the code looks like:

Example of a Meta Description

And this is what it looks like in a search engine.

Example of a Meta Description

Why should I care about Meta Description?

The main reason why you should care about each page having a captivating and compelling Meta Description is that it presents an opportunity to increase a page’s Click Through Rate (CTR). If you are not familiar with CTR, it is basically the amount of times a viewer clicks on your link compared to the amount of times it is shown.

A strong Meta Description has the power to encourage viewers and potential customers to click on your web page link instead of a competitors. Think of it as a tiny billboard that allows you to advertise your business on search results.

From a search engines perspective, a poor CTR can have a serious impact on your website’s pages ability to rank highly . It signals to the search engine that you’re page might not be what people are looking for. Therefore potentially dropping you down in the rankings.

What makes a good Meta Description?

A good Meta Description should briefly and accurately describe the page’s content and incentivize the viewer to click on your website’s link versus your competitors.

  • Verify that your web pages include a Meta Description.

  • Make sure your Meta Descriptions are compelling and captivating.

  • You are generally allowed 155-160 characters, try to use up all the space wisely.

  • Don’t include quotation marks. Search engines recognize them as signals to truncate the description.

  • Avoid duplicating Meta Descriptions. Each one should be unique to a page.

What is the optimal meta description length?

As a rule of thumb, you want to keep it under the character limit so that your description does not get truncated with the ellipses. As of this writing the character limit is 160 characters, but the search engine companies are constantly changing the rules. Ultimately, you should be more focused on providing the user with a brief and concise summary of your page, and less worried about character length.

Do search engines always use meta description in SERP?

Short answer is no. Search engines are always thinking about the end user and less on what the website owner. If the current algorithm deems your current Meta Description as adequate then it will show it. Other times it might truncate it or add to it, or omit it all together and show a snippet from your content instead. With this in mind, it is still always better to provide a Meta Description so it is more likely viewers will see your version.

Relevant links:
Google Documentation on snippets

Bing Webmaster Guidelines
(meta data info included)

We optimize your meta descriptions in our SEO services packages. Click the link to find out more.

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