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  • Writer's pictureDr. Prerna Yadav, Medical Writer, PG in Medical Writing, BDS Honors

What Is a Meta Description (and how do you write one)?

Updated: Jan 14


Blog cover photo with the title What is a meta description and how do you write one

Learn how to create an attention-grabbing meta description that attracts users and make your website stand out in search results.


In this article:



 

A product description is essential when you shop online and can attract you. It's not only the words. The engaging details paint a vivid picture of what awaits.


Similarly, the description in the online store tells a story about the product's qualities. This story makes you want to buy it. That tantalizing teaser is like a meta description.


What is a meta description?


A meta description is a short blurb giving you a sneak peek of what to expect when you click on a link. It’s generally 150-160 characters long.


The results in search listings show them below the title. They vary depending on the device and browser. You can link it as an HTML tag to your webpage's code.



Screen shot of a search result for how to become millionaire


Why are meta descriptions so important?


Meta descriptions deliver significant facts. They are the "bestie next door" for Google, viewers, and potential clients. Content-seekers decide whether to click the page link based on the meta description. Google interprets this as one of the factors determining a website's ranking.


A persuasive meta-description significantly impacts search engine optimization (SEO). It can add value to both users and Google. You want your website to be on the first page of search results. Most users only go up to the first page.


Google is picky in selecting meta descriptions. Yet, it will accept automated snippets in a micro-second if it has detailed content information. Enhancing this on-page SEO factor improves discoverability. It also improves the return on investment from SEO efforts.



Photo of a magnifying glass



What should you have in mind while writing a meta description?


  • Character limit: The limit should be 150-160 characters.


For desktop screens, 920 pixels (160 characters).

For mobile devices, 680 pixels (100-120 characters).


  • Call to action (CTA) inclusion: Add a clear CTA to encourage users to click.

  • Keyword integration: Include target keywords so search engines can understand.

  • Testing and optimization: Try different versions to find the best description.

  • Balance: Find the right mix of information and a solid CTA to improve search engine rankings and keep users interested.



Photo of a laptop, coffee, notebook, phone on a desk


How to write an irresistible meta description


Be concise and informative:

●     Create a short meta description, around 100-160 characters.

●     Communicate the value and benefits of the content.

 

Avoid vagueness:

●     Be clear and avoid unnecessary complexity.

●     Avoid using puns or confusing language.

 

Add a strong CTA:

●     Encourage users to engage with a captivating call to action.

●     Tell readers what action to take after they click.

 

Integrate target keywords:

●     Include target keywords naturally for importance.

●     Make sure the content matches the search queries.

 

Avoid duplicate descriptions:

●     Make sure that every page has a distinct meta description.

●     Do not use the same descriptions on multiple pages.

 

Steer clear of clickbait:

●     Tell the truth about your content to avoid penalties.

●     Google tracks bounce rates to detect deceptive practices.

 

Adapt to search intent and industry:

●     Write descriptions that match what people are searching for.

●     Contemplate tone and language for your target audience.

 

Generate persuasive copy:

●     Stand out with captivating language. Use active voice.

●     Observe effective word choices for inspiration.

 

Assess your target audience:

●     Tailor tone and style to connect with your audience.

●     Choose language based on reader demographics.

 

Appeal to emotion:

●     Invoke emotions for reader engagement.

●     Use words that resonate emotionally.

 

Answer a particular question or concern:

●     Answer common questions or address concerns.

●     Make sure the descriptions match what the searcher wants so they are relevant.


Include a unique selling preposition:

●     Improve website performance by focusing on your brand's unique selling preposition (USP) in meta descriptions.

●     Tailor descriptions with competitive knowledge and find special features. Keep assessing and enhancing your strategy. Make the message coherent.




PHoto of a Google search bar


Does Google rewrite meta descriptions?


Yes. Google often reorganizes meta descriptions for most search results. It shows the exact page content that matches what users are searching for. Setting up an adequate meta description represents your page in search results.


Prepare a brief, straightforward meta description and refine your website's SEO.




Meta description examples


Watch the use of keywords like “best,” “music,” and “software” that capture the attention of viewers to check your page.



Google search results for best soft to make your own music




The meta description of House of Beauty India included “anti-aging,” “acne,” “skin,” “aloe vera.” Also, the product's cost details are mentioned.



Google search results for best aloe vera products for skin glow and ageing




In this example, the keywords "fresh fruits," "delivery," and "vegetables" increase the page reach. The writer had also added an amusement called "choose the rest yourself" to create an exciting meta description.


Google search results for how to get fresh fruits in amsterdam at home delivery


It’s a wrap!


A practical meta description gives users a peek of your content. It can improve your online visibility and SEO performance, your ranking on Google, while drawing the attention of content-seekers to your website. Keep it at 150-160 characters.


Don’t forget to include a clear call to action integrating relevant keywords. Match your description to the intent of the search. Avoid duplicating meta descriptions. Don't use misleading titles. Avoid confusing language.


Focus on these critical elements. You can master developing powerful meta descriptions.



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