Optimize Your Meta Descriptions

Optimize Your Meta Descriptions

In this article, we are going to cover how to optimize your meta descriptions.

Optimize Your Meta Descriptions

What is a meta description?

A meta description is the text that appears below the main title of search engine results. It is normally short, around 160 characters, and usually gives an overview of what the web page is about. It is the description of the web page.

examples of meta descriptions

What should be in a meta description?

A meta description should describe the web page that it is associated with. The description should be about 160 characters (it can be longer, but it will get cut off in search results).

The meta description should include your main keyword and it should be viewed as a tool to help to drive clicks to your website. You want it to be truthful and enticing. This is your sales pitch to the searcher.

Do meta descriptions affect SEO?

It is widely believed that meta descriptions do not directly affect SEO, but a good meta description can help increase click-through rates to your site (people see your listing come up in search, and the meta description helps to sway them to click on your link). Google often times will even bold the exact keyword phrase (or even parts of it) when it shows up in the meta description).

example of a meta description with the bolded search term

People clicking to your site is a good indication to Google that this was a good result, and that can impact your search engine rankings. So, by helping to increase click-through rates, meta descriptions can indirectly influence SEO. 

How to optimize your meta descriptions

Meta descriptions are part of HTML code and you can manually set them for each page of your site.

As mentioned above, your meta description should:

1 – Include your keyword phrase

2 – Be 160 characters (or less)

3 – Describe the article, hopefully in a way that entices people to click through to your site

How to optimize a meta description on WordPress

The easiest way to optimize meta descriptions in WordPress is by using an SEO plugin like Rank Math or Yoast

Click here to read more about installing these plugins.

Once the plugin is installed, go to a page or a post and look for an “Edit Snippet” button (note this is for Rank Math, but Yoast and many others work similarly.

Add a meta description

This will open up a screen where you can then edit the description.

Adding a meta description

How to optimize a meta description on Squarespace

In Squarespace, you will want to edit “SEO page descriptions.”

To do this you will want to:

1 – Click on Pages

2 – Click on the gear on the  page you want to edit

3 – Click on the SEO tab and then edit the SEO description

Here is Squarespace’s documentation on editing meta descriptions.

Final Thoughts

Optimizing your meta descriptions can help to increase your click-through rate, by reinforcing what your content is about (make sure to include the keyword as Google will bold this) and by enticing searchers to want to learn more and read on.

Take the time to go back through and optimize current pages and posts and make this a part of your content creation process going forward.

As always, head over to the 5 Min SEO Facebook Group and post any questions you have there.

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