Meta Descriptions: yet another complicated element of the ever-elusive SEO. But despite its name, this is perhaps one of the more straightforward aspects of optimizing search engine results. With the right keywords and solid copy, a good meta description can land your website a top spot on Google search results, leading to increased traffic to your page.

What is a Meta Description?

A meta description is text within the HTML code on your website that provides information to the search engine and Internet users about the content on your page. Simply put, it’s a very short (usually around 160 characters) summary of the content on that particular page.

As you can see from the image above, the meta description for WIDSIX on Google’s search engine is boxed in red. Our meta description is a bit longer, however you can see that only 160 characters are visible on Google. The description for our main page tells Internet users exactly what WIDSIX is, where we are located, and the services we provide, all under 160 characters.

Other components of a Meta Description

Title Tag: The HTML code for the page title.

Slug: The page’s URL.

The title tag, the slug, and the meta description are all included in the search engine results blurb.

What makes a good Meta Description?

It can be difficult to keep your meta description under 160 characters, but it’s important to condense it enough so that you get your message across to someone who is likely scrolling through their search engine results at a rapid pace. It should be clear, concise, and eye-catching.

In the Learn SEO series, SEOmoz says…

“Meta description tags, while not important to search engine rankings, are extremely important in gaining user click-through from search engine result pages (SERPs). These short paragraphs are webmasters opportunity to advertise content to searchers and let them know exactly what the given page has with regard to what they’re looking for.”

The keywords that your page is targeting should be woven into the meta description’s copy, but it should be done in a way that reads naturally and doesn’t come across as spammy or overtly pushing your SEO. Again, the idea is to create a compelling description targeted to Internet users, not the search engine itself. The meta description’s primary purpose is enticing users to click.

Is it okay not to write Meta Descriptions?

Surprisingly, there are cases in which writing meta descriptions isn’t necessary. For example, if a page is covering a very specific, niche topic that is targeting 1–3 heavily searched terms or phrases, then you’ll probably want to create a meta description targeting users who are going to be making search queries using those phrases.

However, if your page is targeting long-tail traffic (which constitutes three or more keywords), Moz says it may actually be a better move to let the engines populate a meta description based on the content on the page. They say, “When search engines pull together a meta description, they always display the keywords and surrounding phrases that the user has searched for. If a webmaster writes a meta description into the page’s code, what they choose to write can actually detract from the relevance that engines make naturally, depending on the query.”

Keep in mind…

Keep in mind that if you do not create a custom meta description, one will be automatically populated for you. This automatically generated description will often be the first text available on the page, which may not be clear or compelling. So be aware that it is a good idea to confirm that the description you have is the one you will be happy with users seeing on their search engine results page.

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Why we do what we do ⬆ 😉 Our goal is to meet your goals! 🥅 🏆 👊
  • So this is what we can expect Roope to look like in 40 years #FaceApp. 😂 Who's a fan of the Roope-stache? 🙋‍♂️👨 #WIDSIX
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  • #PartnerShoutout - We'd just like to give our friends over at Agency73 a quick congratulations for becoming a certified Salesforce consulting partner! 👏 If you'd like to check out their original post for this announcement, check out the video on our Facebook! 🎥 🔗
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Are you and your business in need of Salesforce Integration and/or marketing automation? Hit them up! 👈 😏
  • Social media has been around for a while... and so have we! 😎 From Top 8 ➡ Double Tapping and everything in between. It's been a HUGE part of what we do here at #WIDSIX. We pride ourselves on our expertise in #digitalmarketing! 🔥
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Looking to take your #socialmedia game to the next level? Drop a line in our DMs, let's get you on top! 👊
  • In case you forgot, today is July 11th ( #7ElevenDay ) which means free Slurpees at all 7/11 stores. WHAT?! 😳🥤Guess this means we can have a shorter work day, it's basically a holiday, right? 🤷‍♂️ #WIDSIX
  • #WIDSIXintheWild - Looks like #WIDSIX has gone international 🗺 ✈Diva spotted this #widdy while on her vacation in Brazil. No big deal! 😎 #WIDSIX
  • #ClientHighlight - a slice of the campaign creative we worked up to help @foothillsrehab spread the word & help you Get Your Move Back! 😎 🎨 😉 #WIDSIX
  • ⚠ HEADS UP! This is the last week to enter for your chance to win this #WIDSIX t-shirt combo (1 men's t-shirt and 1 women's tank)! ⚠
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So you want to know how to win? Let us explain the rules for you: Follow @widsix & @getwidsix, like this post, and tag the person you'd want to share this giveaway prize with! It's as easy as 1-2-3. ✅
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We'll be announcing the winner next week so keep an eye on your DMs‼ 😯

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