Meta descriptions. You’ve probably heard the term before; however, it’s one of those phrases that the eye seems to just glide over, defying a tangible definition. You know they’re important. But you don’t know what they are. Seriously, what are meta descriptions?!?
Fear not! We’re going to tell you everything you’ll ever need to know about these crucial chunks of SEO goodness.
What Is A Meta Description?
Essentially, a meta description is one of a webpage’s meta tags. Meta information allows search engines to roughly gauge the content and quality of a given website. The meta description is that line or two of text that’s displayed under the search engine page headings and also pops up when sites and pages are shared on social media. It gives a flavour of what the site’s about, any services or products that it may offer as well as conveying a general brand tone.
Why Are Meta Descriptions Important?
SEO ranking used to be based on much more restrictive predictors. These days, sites like Google take a much broader view of any given website, assessing many different factors and variables. Meta descriptions are a crucial part of that process; a high-quality description can easily lure people into the site when it appears on the rankings by offering an engaging taster. Imagine the hundreds of sites that you see when scrolling through Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc. – what separates one unknown website from another (other than its image)? That little piece of text that describes why the website may be of interest to you.
The tag itself won’t help you to rank, but it will get people clicking/smashing your link, which in turn converts to higher placement in the search engine rankings.
How To Write Meta Descriptions
Now you know what meta descriptions are, you probably want to know how to write a cracking one that’s going to perfectly advertise your blog post and/or website to the online world.
The first step is to follow all the ground rules of SEO that you employ everywhere else on your site. Be clear and concise. Use dynamic, active language, but don’t oversell. Make sure you communicate exactly what your site does and give an indication of what your brand is about.
In a meta description, you’ve got 155 characters to get this across. Don’t ramble on or you’ll fall victim to the dreaded ellipsis and end your description mid senten… (Ironically, Google themselves don’t follow this advice, the absolute lunatics.) Oh, and get a keyword in there if you can. (And you always can.)
A good example of a meta-description is… well, our own! We wouldn’t feel comfortable telling you all this SEO knowledge if we didn’t put it into practice ourselves. Here’s what you see when you seek us out on Google (type ‘PepperStorm Media’ into your search bar to check:
“PepperStorm Media provides content, social, newsletter and SEO services to a wide range of clients; get in touch to find out how we can help your business.”
It’s actionable, descriptive and stays within the character limit. It’s not overly flashy, either – just a solid sentence that gets the point across and reads well. (If we do say so ourselves.)
How Do I Edit My Meta Description?
All the platforms you use to edit your own site will have an option to customise meta descriptions. Squarespace, Wix and Showit all have text boxes that you can access through the back-end. WordPress has various plug-ins designed to optimise your SEO, and Yoast Premium gives you access to whole suites of SEO manipulation mastery.
Now you know what meta descriptions are, get out there and start meta describing!