- 1 What is Meta Description?
- 2 How Long Should a Meta Description Be in 2018?
- 3 How Important is Meta description in SEO?
- 4 How to Write a Good Meta Description?
- 5 How to Add Meta Description in WordPress?
- 6 Effective Meta Description in 2018: Final Words
Meta description – does it still matter?
Meta description may not play a huge role in SEO as earlier, but it does help to increase CTR (click through rate) of any web page significantly.
Among different types of Meta tags, Meta title and description are the two things that a user sees before entering into your site.
Perfectly optimized Meta description gives the user a sneak peak of your article and compel him/ her to enter your site.
It also allows you to tell the search engines more about the content of your posts and pages.
In this article I will discuss about the importance of Meta description for SEO, ideal Meta description length in 2018 along with some effective tips for writing a good Meta description for higher CTR.
What is Meta Description?
Meta description is a brief description about the content of your web page. It is a type of Meta tag that is written under the page URL in search engine result pages.
It appears in the <head> section of an HTML web page. This small excerpt also appears in social media posts under the thumbnail and title of the post.
What are Meta Tags in SEO?
Meta tags are the short HTML codes that describes the structured information (metadata) about the content of a web page. There are of various types namely – Page Title, Meta Description, Headers Tags, Meta Keywords.
How Long Should a Meta Description Be in 2018?
Google has been testing the length of the snippets for some time and recently they have confirmed that, they made a change in the way snippets are being displayed in the SERPs.
We recently made a change to provide more descriptive and useful snippets, to help people better understand how pages are relevant to their searches. This resulted in snippets becoming slightly longer, on average.
Earlier the ideal Meta description length was of 160 characters, but, recently Google has increased the limit and many a times it was shown upto 320 characters.
However, the results are not same for all SERP results.
The reason might be some content management systems automatically truncate Meta descriptions.
Moz has found that a bulk amount of snippets that get truncated by Google are cut off between 275 and 350 character range and a majority of that get cut off between 300 and 325 characters.
For one of my posts “How Often Should You Blog in 2018“, I found the below snippet in SERP.
And you can see that the length of Meta description is 290 characters in Google.
So, it is recommended that you optimize your Meta description within 275 – 300 characters to keep it in a safer limit.
How Important is Meta description in SEO?
Search engines like Google has earlier announced that Meta description and Meta keywords are no more considered as ranking factors. Other search engines also do not disclose how much weight they put in this factor.
However, many web masters and SEOs believe that Meta description does help in improving rankings.
Also a good Meta description is crucial for the users, as it helps them to decide whether to visit the site while improving the click through rate (CTR) of your web page.
How to Write a Good Meta Description?
“How do I write a good Meta description?” this is a very common question among many newbies. Here are 5 tips that will help you to know how to write Meta description for Google and other search engines.
Keep it Under Limit
Keep your Meta description short however make sure to write it up to the given limit. As said above the latest Meta description length is above 300 characters. So you must write to consume upto that limit or little less. Writing more than that will chop your end off.
Include Your Keywords
That goes without saying. You must include your targeted keywords in your Meta description. Most of the times, Google and other search engines bold where they find the match of the search query. Also, the new Meta description length allows you to include more keywords in it.
Make it Descriptive
Though including your important keywords is essential, but keyword stuffing your Meta description is a bad idea. This will create an impression of spammy website in the searcher’s eye. So write your Meta description in a natural and conversational way.
Consider Using Rich Snippets
Enhance your Meta description by using schema markup elements. When you use elements like star rating, customer rating or price schema, it creates a trust among the users and increases the chance of click through.
Do Not Duplicate
You must not duplicate Meta descriptions. Like the Page Title, Meta description also needs to be unique for every web page of yours.
How to Add Meta Description in WordPress?
You can add Meta tags in your website in different ways. However, some WordPress SEO plugins make it super easy to add Meta description in your posts and pages.
1. First of all, install Yoast SEO from Add New plugin section and click on Activate.
2. Then visit SEO >> Dashboard page and click on ‘Features’ tab.
3. Now click on ‘Enabled’ button under ‘Advanced settings pages’ option and save your changes by clicking on save changes button.
4. The SEO settings page will reload and you will see a lot more options under Yoast SEO menu.
5. Under Titles and Metas tag, you will find the Meta description template in the tab Post Types. Here you can create a template for all types of posts.
Alternatively if you want to create it for individual webpages, you can go to the post/ page you are editing.
- At the bottom of your content you will find the Yoast SEO meta box with a snippet editor functionality.
- You can see automatically generated Meta description and Title for your post there.
- To change Meta description in WordPress, you need to click on the “Edit Snippet” button and write an optimized description of your web page.
Here is a Meta description example for the post importance of keyword research.
- Once you are done, just click on Close Snippet Editor and you can see the Preview of your custom description.
- Finally click on the Save or Publish button.
How to Add Meta Description in WordPress Home Page?
You can optimize the title and Meta description for your WordPress Home page with Yoast SEO plugin.
1. For that, go to the Titles and Metas section under SEO menu and then click on the Homepage tab.
2. Here you can add custom Title, description and Meta keywords for your WordPress Homepage. Above is the template for WPBlogging360 home page.
3. Click on Save Changes button after you make the necessary changes.
Effective Meta Description in 2018: Final Words
The percentage of CTR greatly depends on how good your Meta description is. So your job doesn’t end with ranking in Google 1st page. If you want to drive high amount of organic traffic to your site, then it is necessary that you optimize your Meta description wisely.
Do you think writing a good Meta description has any importance in SEO? What are your thoughts on ideal Meta description length in 2018? Please feel free to share your views in the comments below.