Why Meta Descriptions Are Important for SEO – Tips for Creating and Optimizing Meta Descriptions

optimized meta description with keyword.

While it doesn’t impact SERP rankings, a meta description is essential in SEO. This is an HTML tag that is set on a page of a website consisting of a 155-character summary of the page. The small text visible on the SERP ranking below the SEO title provides users with a summary of what your page is about. This gives you an excellent opportunity to convince search engine users to click on your results.

One of the ways to optimize meta descriptions is by including the relevant keywords. When searchers see a keyword that responds to their search intent, they are likelier to click on the results. This post will show you how to create a good meta description and optimize it with the relevant keyword.

Importance of Adding a Meta Description

Search engines say the meta description isn’t a ranking factor. So, what is the purpose of adding the meta description if it has no SEO value? Here are a few of them:

  • Generate clicks. As noted, a meta description aims to convince the search engine user to click on your results.  
  • Rank higher on search engines. When more people click on your search results, Google will be convinced that it serves the search intent. This will help get more traffic and improve your ranking.

Take note that Google doesn’t guarantee to show the meta description on the SERPs. However, there are chances that it will be shown on the SERPs and is therefore worth adding.

How to Create  a Good Meta Description

A great meta description should have the following elements:

A Maximum of 155 Characters

If you exceed 155 characters when writing a meta description, Google will truncate the extra characters, which will not be visible. You can make it shorter depending on the message you want to pass across. But going by the industry standards, most sites maintain a length of 120 to 155 characters.

Meta description with keywords and related words in bold.

Remember that the number of characters Google will display on the SERPs will depend on various factors such as:

  • Width of the characters. For instance, a H takes more width than an I.
  • User’s device. Google will show more characters on desktops as compared to mobile phones.
  • User’s search query. When words are bolded, they will take up more space.

Respond to the Search Intent

The main factor that search engine users consider when deciding whether to click on your result is whether it answers their search query. Therefore, you must prove to them that your page has the best answer to the search query.  When you understand the search intent, you can write a better meta description.

Make It Actionable

You should ensure that your meta description convinces readers to visit your page. The best way to do that is by including a call to action. Ensure that the invitation isn’t dull, cryptic, or difficult. Instead, make it persuasive, engaging, and concise. Some of the words you can use are:

  • Click to learn more
  • Shop online
  • Try for free

Create Unique Meta-Description

For each of your pages appearing on the SERPs, you should add a unique meta description. That way, you can inform users what your page is about and increase your CTR. If you add generic meta descriptions, these will not add any value. There will also not be a clear illustration of what each page is about.

Instead of adding duplicate meta descriptions, you would rather leave them blank. Google will show a snippet from your page on the SERPs.

Ensure It Matches The Content of Your Page

If the meta description differs from the page’s content, Google will think you are trying to trick search engine users into clicking on your result. This could hurt your SEO efforts. When users also click on your result and find that the content isn’t what the meta description had, they will hit the back button. This will result in a high bounce rate. Google will interpret that your page isn’t meeting the search intent and punish it on the SERPs.

Show Specification Where Possible 

If you run an e-commerce site where people are interested in knowing the specifications of your products, it can help to include these in the meta descriptions. For instance, you can include details such as the manufacturer, SKU number, price, and more. If this is the product the user wants, you will not struggle to convince them to click on your results.

How to Optimize Your Meta Description With Keywords

Google is more likely to show your page on the SERPs if part of the meta description matches the user search query. At times, Google will even highlight those parts that meet the search query in bold. When doing keyword research, you target terms and phrases that people are searching for.

Ensure the primary keyword is in the meta description.

Therefore, since the primary keyword is what people are searching for, it is the word or phrase that Google will likely look for in your meta description. As we noted earlier, users will also see the keyword in your meta description and will be encouraged to click on it. 

Remember that Google will also highlight related words. Therefore, secondary keywords will likely increase the chances of Google showing your meta description.

Wrapping Up

Studies indicate that 25% of sites ranking on the SERPS do not have a meta description. This is perhaps because Google doesn’t consider it a ranking factor. However, it also means 75% of sites that rank on the first page are adding a meta description. 

This suggests that the meta description could be helpful. As we have seen, It can help improve your click-through. In return, Google will find a page to respond to the search query and, therefore, rank it higher on the SERPs.

Benjamin is a writer with over ten years of experience in the content writing field. He holds a Bachelor's degree in  Journalism from Strathmore University. He writes on various niches such as product reviews, self-improvement, and making mone online. You can find him curled on his couch with a self-improvement book when he is not blogging.