My agency conducts dozens of SEO audits on websites each week, and for small businesses, there is one common glaring issue - a missing meta description. This is problematic as the meta description describes the page's content and is used by search engines when displaying search results. If you're looking to improve your SEO, then optimising your meta description is essential.
Creating a meta description for every page on your website is just the start. You need to be able to write a meta description that is going to help your SEO efforts.
In this post, we'll point out a few ways to optimise your meta descriptions so that they will be search engine friendly.
What Is A Meta Description?
A meta description is a summary of a page's content that is recorded in the HTML code of the site. Search engines, such as Google, will display the meta description for search results, so it's essential that it encourages a searcher to click through to your website.
Do Meta Descriptions Influence SEO?
Directly, no. Google has confirmed that the contents of the meta description do not influence the SEO rankings of your website, but it does have an indirect influence. A well-written meta description can impact click through to your site, and click through is a ranking factor.
Because of this, it is time well spent learning how to optimise your meta descriptions.
1. Watch The Length
Google will typically display 160 characters, so it's a good idea to keep your meta description to below this amount. This ensures that the full description will be displayed in search results and searchers will be able to see the full meta description.
2. Include Your Target Keyword
Every page on your website should have a dedicated target keyword. This is the keyword that you want to rank for when people are searching for phrases that include the keyword. Because of this, it is essential to include any keywords in the meta description so that searchers know that your page has content that is relevant to their search.
3. Make It Unique
Some websites that we audit will have duplicate meta descriptions. This is a problem because users that find your site in search engines could be confused by meta descriptions that are the same, causing a poor user experience. Anything that hurts the user experience is frowned upon by Google.
Whenever you are publishing new content, make sure that you create a unique meta description.
If you have pages on your website that you know have duplicate meta descriptions, work through them over time to re-write them into unique versions. This is also a good opportunity to consider updating old content.
Meta Description Tool
Depending on your CMS, you will have a few options for creating a meta description. For HubSpot users, there is a 'Meta Description' field under the 'settings' tab where you can write the meta description. For Wordpress users, you will need to use a plugin. We prefer Yoast, which is a free plugin that has a host of SEO features.
It is vital that you have a meta description for every page on your website. Make sure that every meta description is unique and contains the target keyword for that page. Remember that the meta description is likely to be displayed by search engines so make it engaging and relevant so people will click through to your website.