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Meta Description: Definition, Importance In SEO & Best Practices For 2022

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If you’ve been working hard at building your perfect website, you’ve likely realized a lot goes into creating the ideal site.

From keywords to a smooth site map, you need to nail each aspect.

Still, there’s one piece that’s crucial for your search engine optimization, or SEO, and that’s your meta description.

This brief HTML tag is one of the most essential tools in a web designer’s toolkit.

What Is a Meta Description?

A meta description is a brief summary of what a page is about.

It’s only about 150 characters long, which is about a sentence or two.

Those few sentences should tell web users precisely what they’ll find on your page.

Difference Between a Meta Description and Snippets?

Google search snippets and meta descriptions are different in that snippets are part of your on-page SEO.

In contrast, meta descriptions are part of your source code.

Snippets give users a chunk of text that answers their specific query, but Google draws the content directly from your page.

How Does a Meta Description Work?

Meta descriptions appear in your website’s source code using the <meta> tag as part of your metadata.

When a user performs an internet search, the search engine will read each site’s metadata, including the meta description.

If your content answers the user’s query verbatim in the meta description, the description will appear directly below the site title.

What Is the Purpose of a Meta Description?

A meta description is essentially a shortcut hidden within your site’s metadata.

It serves a similar purpose to a snippet, giving readers a glimpse of what’s on a page.

However, it provides a short but comprehensive summary that lets the user know the entirety of a page’s content.

It appears below the site title, whereas a snippet is longer and shows more page context.  

Different Types of Meta Descriptions

Now that you know what a general meta description is let’s dig into the different types.

There are three meta description types to understand:

  • Clarity-focused
  • Purpose-focused
  • Power word-focused

1. Clarity-Focused Meta Descriptions

A clarity-focused meta description gives the user a precise description of what they’ll find on your page.

These descriptions often start with “this article explains” or something similar.

They leave no room for confusion about what users will see when they click your link or engage with your content.

2. Purpose-Focused Meta Descriptions

A purpose-focused meta description is slightly different from a clarity-focused one.

These meta descriptions show the intent behind a site, business, or page.

For example, a social media site’s meta description might direct users to create an account to connect with friends and share content.  

3. Meta Descriptions Focused on Power Words

Power words are popular in marketing because they tend to elicit strong responses or CTAs.

Therefore, they can be quite impactful in a meta description.

For example, an author giving away a free ebook might use words like “free” or “bonus” in their meta description to draw traffic.

Example of a Meta Description

An excellent example of a solid meta description is Wikipedia: “Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia, created and edited by volunteers around the world and hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation.”

Do Meta Descriptions Affect SEO?

If you feel like you’re struggling to get views, you might need to find out how to improve SEO on your site.

A meta description is a great place to start.

Your meta description is an easy first step for improving your website’s SEO and is an excellent way to get more clicks.

Why Is a Meta Description Important for SEO?

Your site’s meta description on its own won’t affect your search engine results page (SERP) ranking.

However, if you create a meta description that lures readers in and encourages clicks, your site’s popularity will undoubtedly help your rank.

That said, you should always follow other SEO best practices to ensure your site’s a hit.

Is a Meta Description Necessary?

Strictly speaking, a meta description isn’t necessary.

Still, a powerful meta description will ensure far more traffic than if you choose to skip one.

Look at it this way.

When a user does a web search, they’ll see a long list of results.

Some results will have meta descriptions, while others won’t.

The ones with meta descriptions clearly tell the user that the site contains what they’re looking for, encouraging a click or other action.

How Long Does it Take for a Meta Description To Work?

If your description is clear and Google views your site as authoritative, you shouldn’t have to wait more than a few days to see results.

However, if you don’t see results within the first week, consider tweaking your description to align more closely with your competitors.

Just be sure to confirm the description appears in search results when you perform a search for your content.

Process of Creating a Meta Description

There are a few steps you can take to create an effective and informative meta description.

  • Choose the Right Keywords
  • Highlight Key Points
  • Look at Your Competitors
  • Draft Your Description
  • Add Your Description to Your Site

How To Create a Meta Description

Creating a meta description should be a piece of cake when you create content regularly.

First, consider the following steps to ensure your description is a perfect fit for your site.

Step 1: Choose the Right Keywords

The first step in creating your meta description is choosing the best keywords.

You probably have a list you referred to when writing your content.

Take another look at those terms and choose the highest ranking ones.

Then, work one or two into your description.

Step 2: Highlight Key Points

Your meta description needs to touch on the nuts and bolts of your content and tell a user why you’re the authoritative source on a topic.

So, find the key points from your website or page and highlight those in your meta description.

Step 3: Look at Your Competitors

Next, check out what your competitors have included in their meta descriptions.

Many businesses or site owners might not want to mimic what their competition does, but in this case, it’s necessary.

If your competitor is successful, you want to find out what they’re doing right and improve on it.

Step 4: Draft Your Description

After you gather your thoughts and ideas, it’s time to draft out your meta description.

Remember, your meta description only needs to be a sentence of two–no more than 150 characters.

So, draft two or three options, then choose the one that works best.

Step 5: Add Your Meta Description to Your Site

Finally, once you’ve chosen your best meta description, it’s time to add it to your site.

At this point, you’ll need access to your site’s source code.

If you’ve designed your own site, you should be able to take this step on your own.

Otherwise, contact your site manager.

Meta Description Best Practices

When you create your meta description, there are a few best practices you should adhere to during your writing.

These practices will be similar to those you follow when creating your content, so you’re probably already familiar with some.

1. Do Competitor Research

As stated above, competitor research is vital for creating an on-target meta description.

Not only will it show you which concepts work, but it’ll also give you an idea of who’s ranking for what and why.

You want your description to be on-brand and on-target for your industry and user expectations.

2. Match Your Content’s Tone

Your meta description is just as integral to your site as your content.

So, when you craft your description, ensure it follows the same tone and voice as the rest of your writing.

In other words, if your site has a lively style, don’t write a meta description that sounds robotic or somber.

3. Choose the Right Keywords

Always ensure you’re picking the highest-ranking keywords for your website to include in your meta description.

These keywords will lead your site to rank high in SERPs and give users the confidence they need to click your link.

4. Monitor Trends

Another tactic for creating meta descriptions is monitoring industry trends.

No hard and fast rule says you must set your meta description in stone.

As trends change, so should your content. So, revamp your meta description now and then to reflect your market.

Meta Description Tools to Save Time and Money

As you start seeking out the best ways to write your meta description, you should keep a few tools for SEO in your tool kit.

ite optimization can take time and finesse to perfect, so having tools on hand will improve your chances of success.

What Is a Meta Description Tool?

A meta description tool is an SEO tool that helps you improve your site’s authority, ranking, and trustworthiness.

Most SEO tools will help you improve your site’s ranking while also helping you craft more engaging content.

Our Favorite Meta Description Tools

Take a look at a few of our top-rated meta description tools.

We’ve tested these tools extensively, so we can assure you they do what they advertise.

1. Rank Math SEO

Rank Math is a powerful SEO tool designed specifically for WordPress users.

The Rank Math plugin is one of many popular plugins for users who want to improve their SEO for WordPress sites.

Rank Math is ideal if you need some insight into how to better optimize your site.

Specifically, it’s perfect if you want to monitor keyword rankings to change up your meta descriptions from time to time.  

2. Yoast SEO

Yoast is another popular tool for increasing WordPress SEO.

Self-dubbed “SEO for everyone,” the Yoast SEO plugin allows WordPress users to optimize each of their site elements, including titles, content, and descriptions.

If you have multifaceted content, Yoast will be an ideal choice.

It offers tools for Shopify, WooCommerce, and news, as well as features to help boost local visibility.

As a result, Yoast is one of the most well-rounded SEO tools WordPress users have access to.

3. All-In-One SEO Pack

The All-In-One SEO Pack is exactly what it sounds like–a literal multi-tool for WordPress SEO.

It includes tools for creating better sitemaps, descriptions, and content.

In addition, you’ll have access to tools to improve your eCommerce operation.

The All-In-One SEO Pack plugin also helps you seamlessly integrate your social media accounts.

Integrating social content can help broaden your site’s reach, further building your online authority.

All in all, it’s a great tool to have on hand.  

Other Related SEO Terms to Know

SEO is a pretty broad term that encompasses many smaller concepts.

Although most were covered above, here are a few more key SEO terms you should understand.

  • Keyword: Keywords are the terms users use when trying to locate content. You should do thorough keyword research to ensure you’re hitting the mark when creating your content.
  • Query:queries are the questions users ask a search engine. In other words, a query is a search parameter typed into the search bar.
  • Alt Text:Alt-text is text applied to web images that helps boost web ranking. This text allows users to find your images based on written keywords.

Frequently Asked Questions

Still confused about meta descriptions?

Here are the answers to a few common questions.

How do I write a meta description for SEO?

A meta description for SEO consists of approximately 150-160 characters.

Simply write a sentence or two about your content and add it to your source code.

That’s all there is to it.

How do you write a good meta title?

The meta title is synonymous with your page title, which should reflect your domain and content.

A good meta title might be “YourPage: The Best Website for Your Content.”

Wrapping Up

Meta descriptions are an integral part of your website’s metadata.

It tells search engines what your page contains and what users can expect to find.

A good meta description will generate links, boost your SEO, and, most importantly, drive conversions.

If you follow the guidance here, you’ll be on your way to an excellent meta description and rank.

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