Meta descriptions can be easily forgotten when it comes to your website and SEO but ensuring all your pages have them can be very beneficial to you. That’s why in this guide we will be explaining exactly what meta descriptions are and their place in SEO as it has been a topic of some debate over the years. 


What is a meta description?

A meta description is a small snippet of text that is used to describe what a webpage is about. Users will see meta descriptions in the search results under the title of each page. They are mainly there to give the user more information about what the content on the page is and how it can provide the solution to their search query. You can also add a target keyword into meta descriptions even though Google have confirmed that meta descriptions are not considered to be ranking factors. 


How long should a meta description be?

Meta descriptions are only meant to be a quick overview of what the webpage is about, so getting the length right is important. Google will normally truncate snippets to around 160 characters. This should give you enough characters to be descriptive without going into too much detail and take away from the content that you want the user to get to on the page itself. Take care that your meta descriptions aren’t too short either, less than 100 characters won’t really tell the user much about your webpage. 


Where do meta descriptions fit into SEO?

Despite the fact that Google doesn’t necessarily consider meta descriptions in its ranking factors and hasn’t done since the early 2000s, they still have an important role to play in your SEO strategy. This is because well-written and engaging meta descriptions will encourage more users to click onto the webpage. As a result, the click-through rate (CTR) will increase which will in turn help the page rank better on the SERP (search engine results page). 

Meta descriptions essentially work as an organic advert, as they should be written in a way that makes the audience want to click the link to the website to read more information. It is the first opportunity you have to connect with users and make yourself stand out from the other competitors in the Google search results, so putting some thought into your meta description content will be helpful to your long-term SEO, even if it doesn’t seem like it. 


Meta descriptions and social media

When links to webpages are shared on social media platforms like Facebook, they will often pull in the meta description of the page if it has one. If it doesn’t the first piece of text on the page will be used, which can appear quite disjointed and messy.  

This doesn’t give people a good first impression of who you are as a business and your webpages. Well-written meta descriptions provide consistency and ensure the same high-quality content is communicated to users whether they search a query through Google or come across a link to your page on social media. 


How to write good meta descriptions

Each page of your website should have a well thought out meta description, but if you haven’t written one before you might be wondering what that entails. See our top 3 tips for creating good meta descriptions below. 

  • Focus on snappy, ad-style copy – you don’t have a lot of words to play with for a meta description, so you’ll need to find a way to encompass everything you want to say about the webpage within 160 characters. A meta description should follow a similar pattern to an ad, but more natural and encourages the user to click in a way that won’t come across as spam. It will also help if you can include one or more target keywords without it appearing forced. 
  • Try not to copy meta descriptions across pages – a meta description should describe what is on the page it is linked to, which means every page should have a uniquely written meta description. This is because if two of your webpages rank on the same search results page it won’t look very professional or encouraging for a user to click if they see two descriptions that are exactly the same. 
  • Don’t use double quotation marks – if Google sees double quotation marks in meta descriptions it will truncate the text and cut off the rest of your content from the snippet, which doesn’t look good to users. The best way to avoid this situation is to not use any special characters in your descriptions. 


Where can I find SEO services near me?

If you need support with your business SEO contact Deliver today. As an experienced search engine optimisation agency, we have the knowledge and skills to help you improve your website SEO and increase exposure to your audience by ranking better for the most appropriate keywords.  

Unsure how your current marketing efforts and website are performing? Request a free audit from us online today to get key insights that could significantly benefit how you market yourself online going forward. Contact us if you have any questions or queries.