Module 4: Meta Description tag
4.1: Understanding Meta description
As shown in the screenshot below, meta description is a 160 character snippet, which appears just below the URL in the search results. It is a tag in HTML that summarizes a page’s content.
Google shows the title in blue, the URL in green and meta description in black (as in pic above).
The meta description is an HTML tag, which looks like this in the HTML:
<meta name=”description” content=”A page’s description… .. , usually one or two sentences.”/>
But, you don’t need to know above code, you can add/edit meta description using Yoast SEO plugin.
Why meta is important?
The function of a meta description for your page is simple: to get a visitor from Google to click your link. In other words, meta descriptions are there to generate click throughs from search engines.
As you can see by my result in screen above, I’ve tried to make it informative and compelling enough to make users click on this result. This is what you should be doing too.
Ever noticed on YouTube – how interesting thumbnails and heading in YouTube video suggestion make us click them. Some of those thumbnails are so irresistible. They make us click. Well, in Google search results, title tags (heading) and meta description tag (description) do similar job!
4.2: Checklist for Meta Description tags
- have 135 – 160 characters long.
- try to answer those two questions: “What is this page offering?” and “Why should I visit this page?”
- be actionable in an active voice.
- include a call-to-action. “Hello, we have our such & such new product, and we’re running this offer. Find out more!”
- write with a warm tone that welcomes the user to enter your virtual front door.
- include your target keywords.
- make it as compelling and as relevant as possible. The description MUST match the content on the page.
- the meta descriptions must be written differently for every page. Google may penalise you for mass duplicating your meta descriptions.