How to Write an Effective Meta Description Tag

Sep 9, 2014 | Search Engine Optimization

Meta Descriptions aren’t particularly vital to search engine rankings; however, they still play a large role in your search engine optimization (SEO).

Writing a Meta Description

Meta Descriptions are HTML attributes that communicate to search engines what a specific page on your website is all about. Meta Descriptions are also used by search engines to communicate to visitors what they can expect to find a specific page.

Why Meta Descriptions Are Important

Meta Descriptions aren’t particularly vital to search engine rankings; however, they still play a large role in your search engine optimization (SEO). According to Moz, Meta description tags are “extremely important in gaining user click-through from SERPs” (search engine result pages). That is because they display in search results and are one of 2 parts (the other being the page title) which are used to explain to users what they can find if they click on your link. Thus, you want the best possible content.

Tips for Writing an Effective Meta Description

  • Write Compelling Content

    Your Meta description should be as compelling and intriguing as possible because at the end of the day it serves the purpose of increasing your organic traffic rates. Make sure your descriptions detail what is on the page while telling a user why they should pick your site over the results above and below you.

  • Maintain Optimum Length

    Moz recommends that Meta descriptions be roughly 300 characters. This is to ensure that you are able to say what you need to about a page without it being cut off by a search engine’s character limit (approximately 320 characters). You also don’t want your Meta descriptions to be too short because this is an opportunity to describe your page and use unique keywords in doing so.

  • Use Targeted Keywords

    Not only should you be using your targeted keywords in your Meta description, but you should also use unique keyword phrases which were not used in your page content. This gives you the chance to optimize for even more long tail phrases.

  • Avoid Duplicates

    Duplicate Meta descriptions can occur when you use the exact same Meta description for a different page. It is important that each page has a unique Meta description, so make sure you are never copying directly from another.

  • Don’t Use Double Quotes

    Double quotations are not recognized by Google in Meta descriptions and will, therefore, be cut off. So, even if you have a keyword rich 300-character Meta description, if you use quotation marks in the first 25 characters, your description will end there. To avoid this, either don’t use quotations or opt for single quotes rather than double.

Meta descriptions, like Meta page titles, are very important to your SEO because they help encourage users conducting a search to click through to your website rather than a competitor’s. If you need assistance with creating Meta descriptions, please contact Informatics Inc.

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