A meta description for a web page is the information that appears about that particular page in search results. Looking at the pic above, the text you can see that describes what the page is about is the meta description.
In this case, Yoast describes what a meta description is, where it shows and moves on from there.
Meta Descriptions are a contributing factor in your website's SEO. Google uses the information provided in the Meta Description to establish that page's relevance to the search term used by their clients. However, its not just the SEO factor that is important, the meta description is where you get a chance to convince potential clients that YOU are the best option for whatever it is they are looking for.
Some Q & A's About Meta Descriptions
How Do I Access My Meta Descriptions?
Usually your website developer will either ask for the text you wish to use for each page of your website, or they may develop that meta description as part of their service. I tend to write meta descriptions as a free service to my clients to start and then once their website is up and running, they can send me the text they would like if they want to change it.
Meta Descriptions appear in the <head> tag of your website page and unless your website is completely coded from scratch, there is usually an area in the page settings for your meta description.
How should I word my Meta Description?
I always suggest to clients that this is their one chance to convince possible clients to click through to their website. That's not entirely true, it's not your only chance, but that usually stresses how important meta descriptions can be. People are very busy in today's world and most tend to just scan through for something that peaks their interest so using relevant keywords is vital. What is also vital however is that it reads well (as a sentence not just a list of words) and accurately explains what is on that web page. Google will pitch a fit if you try to direct traffic to your website that has no relevance to your content, and trust me you never want Google deciding you aren't doing the right thing. So well formatted sentence using keywords relevant to that page (not generic words for your website) directed toward what you consider to be your perfect client.
Can I just repeat the first paragraph of my page?
In a word - NO! Consider this, your meta description is not only a paragraph that could drive traffic to your website, its also one part of your SEO for that page. So if you repeat your first paragraph that is diluting your SEO actions because you are using the same keywords, the same phrases and the same content so instead of getting two bites at the apple, you are only getting one. A meta description while used for your clients, is another chance to reinforce to Google that your content is extremely relevant to this search term. If both your first paragraph and your meta description use similar phrases and repeat some (not all) keywords, Google considers that a double whammy and slides you up the list.
What if I don't add a Meta Description?
Google will grab the first paragraph from your page and use that as the meta description. See - it's important you do your meta descriptions.
How long should it be?
Google upgraded the length of meta descriptions from 170 characters to 320 in around November 2017. However, just to ensure we don't get too comfortable they recently went back to the 155-170 character range. There is no technical length, however keeping to around 170 characters will ensure your meta description isn't cut off.
What should I prioritize?
Small business owner, web developer and programmer.
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