What Is a Meta Description? [+ SEO & Writing Tips]

What Is a Meta Description? [+ SEO & Writing Tips]


A meta description is an HTML ingredient that summarizes a webpage’s content material. 

Google usually makes use of meta descriptions in snippets on search engine outcomes pages (SERPs). Under the web page’s URL and title.

For instance:

Meta description appears below the title link in search results

You must present a meta description within the <head> part of every web page’s code. Inside a meta description tag, like so:

<meta identify="description" content material="Be taught how to develop a tone of voice for your model and use our template to get began.">

Most content material administration programs (CMSs) and website positioning plugins will let you add and edit HTML meta descriptions by typing in a delegated discipline.

Right here’s an instance from WordPress:

WordPress meta description box with example text

Be aware: Brief descriptions can even seem in hyperlink previews on social media and different platforms. These are often taken from the Open Graph tag known as the “og:description.” For those who don’t provide one, the platform may show your HTML meta description (a kind of meta tag) as an alternative.

Social share meta description pulls from the original author's meta description text

Meta descriptions (typically known as website positioning meta descriptions) aren’t a direct ranking factor. Google doesn’t take them into consideration when figuring out rankings.

However meta descriptions are necessary for website positioning. As a result of they’re usually used to generate snippets that inform searchers about your web page. And aid you stand other than opponents on the SERP. 

An efficient snippet convinces extra folks to click on your hyperlink, growing your click-through rate (CTR). And may even increase brand awareness

Each can have a constructive impact in your website positioning.

Search engine results page for how to grow milkweed

If Google believes your HTML meta description doesn’t fulfill the searcher’s intent, it might generate a unique snippet for you.

On this instance, we looked for “what’s website positioning.” And Google displayed the meta description written by our workforce:

Search engine result showing a provided meta description.

However after we searched “what does website positioning stand for,” Google changed the website positioning meta description with extra related textual content from the web page:

example of google generated meta description

Be aware that Google could daring key phrases from the question (or different extremely related textual content). This helps customers to scan outcomes and discover pages that match their wants.

Search engine results page with bolded keywords in meta descriptions

In fact, it’s greatest to manage your website’s snippets as a lot as potential. So you possibly can defend your branding. 

That’s why you want to write efficient meta descriptions.

Let’s check out greatest practices for writing meta descriptions:

  1. Consider Meta Description Length
  2. Add the Primary Keyword
  3. Cater to Search Intent
  4. Include Calls to Action
  5. Make Every Meta Description Unique

1. Take into account Meta Description Size

We suggest a meta description size of 680 pixels or round 105 characters. This provides you area to write down an efficient abstract. Whereas lowering the danger of truncation within the SERP.

Meta description checker tools (like To The Web’s) will let you measure pixel width and preview your snippet. Simply keep in mind that the mock-up isn’t 100% dependable. 

To The Web tool with mockup of meta description for desktop and mobile

Technically, there isn’t any size restrict on an HTML meta description. However Google truncates snippets primarily based on the quantity of area accessible. 

Like this:

Example of truncated snippet

Truncation might hurt your CTR. 

Usually, Google cuts off meta descriptions at round 960 pixels (roughly 152 characters) on desktop. And 680 pixels (roughly 105 characters) on cellular. 

You may see larger estimations on the market—155 characters is a standard meta description size suggestion. However our testing reveals 105 characters is safer. And can assist you earn a excessive CTR.

The precise variety of characters displayed in a snippet relies on varied elements, resembling:

  • The person’s system (e.g., there’s more room on desktop than cellular)
  • The width of the characters (e.g., an “m” makes use of extra pixels than an “i”)
  • The person’s search question (as a result of phrases take up extra pixels when bolded)
Mobile meta description lengths varying from 99 to 105

Tip: Defend an important data by putting it on the entrance of your meta description. This may additionally assist seize readers’ consideration.

2. Add the Main Key phrase

Every meta description ought to embody the web page’s major key phrase—the primary search question you need the web page to rank for.

This received’t have an effect on your website positioning straight. However it will probably encourage customers to click on. Not least as a result of Google usually bolds phrases that seem within the question. (Or synonyms.)

Let’s say you wish to rank for “greatest path trainers.”

On this meta description, the phrase isn’t talked about particularly. Searchers won’t assume the web page is related.

Meta description does not address search intent

This website positioning meta description stands out extra as a result of bolding. And explicitly addresses the searcher’s wants.

Meta description addresses user's search intent

3. Cater to Search Intent

Understanding search intent (what the searcher desires to attain) is essential to writing an efficient meta description.

When somebody searches “purchase iphone,” Apple entices customers to click on by by speaking about trade-ins and low month-to-month funds.

Search engine results page for buy iphone, highlighting the meta description

When somebody searches “evaluate iphones,” Apple lets customers know they will study varied fashions.

Search engine results for compare iphones, highlighting the meta description

Be aware how Google rewrites the meta description for this iPhone 14 specs web page. As a result of searchers need particulars—not a imprecise abstract.

Search engine results page for iphone 14 specifications, highlighting the meta description vs the original provided meta description

Carry out search intent analysis earlier than writing meta descriptions. Then guarantee searchers you might have what they want.

4. Embrace Calls to Motion

Calls to action (CTAs) inform searchers what they need to do subsequent. Use them in your meta descriptions to immediate clicks.

For instance:

  • Store on-line
  • Be taught extra
  • Strive at no cost

CTAs are crucial sentences—they begin with a verb and encourage readers to take motion. Direct writing could make meta descriptions extra concise, partaking, and persuasive.

Take into account this earlier than and after, for instance:

Earlier than: Baggage, journey equipment, and extra can be found on our web site. Complimentary monogramming may be accessed with any buy.

After: Store on-line for premium baggage & journey equipment. Get FREE monogramming with buy.

5. Make Each Meta Description Distinctive

Write a singular meta description for each web page which may seem in Google (i.e., indexable pages).

That means, you possibly can inform customers precisely what every web page is about. And maximize your CTR.

Generic, duplicate meta descriptions don’t add worth. And so they undoubtedly don’t describe what you’ll discover on a particular web page.

Search engine results page showing duplicate meta descriptions for different pages.

For those who don’t have time to write down meta descriptions manually, hire SEO writers to craft them for you. Or prioritize writing meta descriptions for an important pages till you might have time to write down the remaining. 

Use these meta description instruments to avoid wasting time and increase your natural CTR:

Web site Audit

Semrush’s Site Audit device checks your website for varied technical SEO points. Together with lacking and duplicate meta descriptions.

To begin, enter your area and click on “Begin Audit.”

Site audit tool, enter your domain

When the evaluation is full, go to the “Points” tab.

Site audit tool, issues tab

Go to the “Search by test” discipline and enter “meta description.”

Search for meta description issues

For those who see the “# pages have duplicate meta descriptions” error, click on the hyperlink to see affected URLs.

Duplicate meta descriptions error

Use the arrows to see URLs that share a meta description.

View duplicate meta description pages

Need to get duplicates mounted? Use the checkboxes and “Ship to…” button to create a activity within the Semrush CRM, Trello, or Zapier. (It’s possible you’ll must arrange the corresponding integration first.)

Check pages to send to other tools

When you’re completed, return to the “Points” tab.

For those who see the “# pages don’t have meta descriptions” warning, click on the hyperlink to see affected URLs.

meta descriptions warnings to fix

It’s a good suggestion to write down distinctive meta descriptions for these pages. Use the test packing containers and “Ship to…” button to create duties within the Semrush CRM, Trello, or Zapier. (It’s possible you’ll must arrange the corresponding integration first.)

Send meta description warning issues to other tools

On Web page website positioning Checker

Semrush’s On Page SEO Checker checks whether or not Google is rewriting your meta descriptions.

To get began, enter your area and click on “Get Concepts.” 

on page seo checker tool, checking your site for seo improvement ideas

Then observe the prompts to configure the On Page SEO Checker. You’ll must set a number of goal key phrases for every URL.

When setup is full, scroll all the way down to the “TOP pages to optimize” desk. Select a web page to discover and click on the “# concepts” button to the appropriate.

top pages to optimize for seo

Then scroll to the “Content material” part.

In case your HTML meta description doesn’t match what Google reveals in search outcomes (for a number of goal key phrases), the device will advise you to “Present a extra related meta description.”

how to provide a more relevant meta description

Click on “Present extra” to see the affected key phrase and the “SERP Meta Description” displayed on Google. This can assist you perceive methods to write one thing higher.

Be aware: It’s not essentially a difficulty if Google rewrites the meta description for extra particular key phrases. However you must attempt to management the meta description on your major key phrase, at the very least.

Show more about a relevant meta description

In case your HTML meta description does match what Google reveals in search outcomes (for each goal key phrase), you’ll see this affirmation:

your meta description matches the description displayed in search results

Tip: The On Web page website positioning Checker offers different optimization concepts primarily based on greatest practices. In addition to the highest 10 outcomes on your goal key phrase(s). And you’ll simply ship duties to Trello.

send SEO ideas to Trello

Google / Key phrase Overview

For those who want inspiration when writing meta descriptions, search your key phrase in Google. And take a look at your prime opponents’ snippets.

Decide what must be included. And what’s wanted to face out.

However keep in mind that Google personalizes search outcomes in response to your location, search historical past, and extra. 

Use Semrush’s Keyword Overview device for unbiased outcomes.

Enter your key phrase, select your nation, and click on “Search.” 

keyword overview tool searching types of pollinators

Then scroll all the way down to “SERP Evaluation” and click on “View SERP” to take a look at meta descriptions.

view serp button to see search engine results page for the keyword


PageImprove makes it fast and simple to replace meta descriptions (and different website positioning components) in your website. There’s no must log into your CMS or get a developer’s assist every time.

To put in the PageImprove Google Chrome extension, click on the “Strive it for Free” button on this page. Then observe the prompts that seem.

PageImprove Try it for free call to action button

Set up the code snippet onto your website. (Utilizing Google Tag Manager is the quickest means so as to add it to each web page.)

Install pageimprove tool code snippet

And voila! When shopping your website, open the extension on any web page to replace its website positioning meta description.

Tip: Take a look at our guides for recommendation on bettering the title tag and H1 tag, too.

page improve's meta description tag box

Once you’re finished writing your meta description, hit the inexperienced “Adjustments” button within the prime proper nook of your display screen.

click the green changes button in page improve

Overview your draft and hit “Proceed to publishing” to avoid wasting your work.

page improve's continue to publishing meta description button


SplitSignal means that you can A/B take a look at your meta descriptions—i.e., evaluate totally different choices and see which performs greatest. Based mostly on actual click-through knowledge.

In this case study, a web based music retailer in contrast a CTA-focused meta description (the management) towards a product-focused meta description (the variant).

split signal case study control and variant

The experiment confirmed that the product-focused meta description elevated clicks by 2.2%.

split signal case study results

SplitSignal additionally means that you can carry out website positioning experiments on title tags, headers, and rather more. You don’t want superior growth or knowledge evaluation abilities.

To The Net’s SERP Preview Instrument

To The Web gives a free meta description checker. 

It tells you meta description size in pixels. And offers a useful mock-up of desktop and cellular outcomes.

to the web desktop and mobile mockup results

Use the device to optimize your title tag, too.

Tip: Some plugins (like Yoast SEO for WordPress) will let you preview snippets inside your CMS. 

Hold Studying About On-Web page website positioning

Meta descriptions are an necessary a part of on-page SEO. However there are numerous extra components to optimize.

Be taught extra with our on-page SEO checklist

Or get bespoke suggestions on your website with Semrush’s On Page SEO Checker.


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