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Learn What Is a Meta Description in SEO, a Core Element for Ranking on Google!

Learn What Is a Meta Description in SEO, a Core Element for Ranking on Google!

If you have been reading our blog, you may have encountered the term “meta description”. You are naturally wondering: what is a meta description? And what is its role in search engine optimization (SEO)? We know that you trust us as SEO experts. But you also want to understand what we are planning to do for you in terms of optimizing your website. 

For this reason, we prepared this comprehensive guide on the topic of what is a meta description in SEO? After reading it, we believe that you will understand its importance for your website optimization as one of the key elements required for getting found on Google.

What Is a Meta Description?

The meta description is a text that does not appear on your website. It is added to the backend of each web page, and it contains a summary of the contents of the respective page. However, meta descriptions are visible on Google search result pages.

What is a meta description example? Search for something on Google, and the results will appear like this:

  • The actual URL of the page
  • A clickable title of the web page in bold, blue letters
  • A short sentence

That short sentence under the large, blue text is the meta description of the page. It gives you a general idea of what you will find on the respective web page if you click on the title.

Now that you know what is a meta description, we will help you differentiate it from other SEO elements you will find on a web page.

What Is the Meta Title and the Meta Description? 

Let us take a second look at the Google search results you obtained in the experiment we suggested above. We explained that you get a text in bold blue color that you click on to visit the respective web page.

computer screen with search results showing where meta title is located

This text represents the meta title. It is also not visible on your website, but it appears in the browser window, just above the text box where you type an URL to go to a specific site.

Thus, both the meta title and meta description are bits of text that do not show on your website but help both users and search engines understand what your web page is about.

What Is the Difference between a Meta Description and H1?

If the title tag is an element that defines the content of your web page in short but does not appear on the site itself, the H1 (or heading) is visible for its readers at the top of your page.

It is practically the main title of the web page showing readers what they are about to find if they keep reading. Let us take one of the pages of our website as an example: https://directlinedev.com/services/

The title tag of this page, appearing just above the URL, is: “Our services - Direct Line Development”.

The H1 of the page is Our Services.

Also, if you copy/paste the URL for our Services page in a Google search box, you will also discover the meta description of the page: “Direct Line Development provides web design services for small businesses and individuals throughout Philadelphia, PA, Denver, CO and Austin, TX.”

screenshot of Services page in Google search results

We have now passed another hurdle. You know not just what is a meta description in SEO, but how it differs from other SEO elements that appear similar. It is time now to move on and find out the best practices for creating a meta description.

What Is a Good Meta Description?

Although we are trying to explain to you what is a meta description in SEO, do not forget that content must not be written for Google, but for humans. In many instances, you will read meta descriptions that are full of words that do not make sense. They are basically strings of keywords that the respective company wants to rank for.

7 tips on how to write meta titles and descriptions

So, what is a good meta description? Here are the most important elements you must take into account:

What Is the Ideal Length of a Meta Description?

Starting with 2017, Google has decided to allow longer meta descriptions. Thus, for about two years, the maximum visible length on a Google search result page used to be 275 characters. However, in 2019, the team at Google decided to shorten it to 158 characters.

When you ask: what is the ideal length of a meta description? – an SEO expert will answer: between 130 and 150 characters.

A character is:

  • A letter
  • A number
  • A blank space
  • A punctuation mark

You should strive to optimize your meta descriptions to fit this length. Otherwise, the sentence will stop abruptly at the end of the 158th character, followed by “…”. This is really not a professional way of telling potential website visitors and clients what your web page is about.

Write in a Natural Way

What is a good meta description? It is actually one that reads like a regular sentence. The reader must obtain the information they need about the contents of the page and not guess that you are trying to rank for a specific keyword.

Thus, the main keyword must blend into the content of your meta description in a natural, organic manner.

Add a Call to Action to Your Meta Description

Now, we do not mean telling people to click on your link. You lose the purpose of a good meta description for SEO if you do that. However, you can entice the user to click on the link by explaining in short the benefits they will discover once they get on your web page.

In understanding what is a good meta description for SEO, you should also add the human factor: stirring the readers’ curiosity, promising a solution for the problem or need that determined them to do a Google search. As we explained above, meta descriptions must be written firstly for people and secondly for search engines.

Each Page Must Have a Unique Meta Description

This is a common occurrence in various eCommerce websites. They have similar products in the same category, each with its own web page. However, all these web pages have the same meta description.

screenshot of dash with empty meta title, description, and keywords space

This is a serious SEO mistake. Google does not like duplicate content, even if it is not visible on your website. Thus, we can add to the definition of “what is a meta description” the detail that it is a unique text, invisible on your website, created for each page of the site.

Uniqueness is one of the key principles in content writing for SEO. For meta descriptions, it is not even that hard to come up with unique 155-character long sentences, if you are determined to help your website rank higher on Google. Although it is much better to leave this task to professional SEO content writers, who are doing this work on a daily basis.

Keep It Simple

You do not have a lot of space to write a good meta description, so do not overcomplicate it with:

  • Hyphenated words
  • Repetitive punctuation marks
  • Quotations and parentheses

As an extra tip, you can use the symbol & instead of the word “and”. Everyone understands it and it saves you 2 characters.

Keep the Same Brand Voice You Use Throughout Your Website

Although meta descriptions are short, they must also sound like your brand voice and you should make sure that they do not strike the wrong chord. Readers are very sensitive to the tone of voice. If you are generally using a formal, professional tone in your website content, the meta description cannot read like a chat between friends.

Put the Most Interesting Information at the Beginning

An unwritten rule for what is a good meta description is this: include the information most likely to stir a reader’s curiosity in the first 120 characters. This is the meta description length visible on mobile devices (smartphones and tablets). 

Since mobile traffic is now the number on the source of internet traffic at the global level, you should assume that your website visitors are using a mobile phone, not a laptop or desktop computer, to search for products and services.

Reasons to Hire an SEO Agency to Create Your Meta Descriptions

As you can see from the explanations above, knowing what is a meta description for SEO means that you cannot leave their writing to chance. You stand to lose visitors who may convert into customers, or even valuable clicks on your ads because Google uses meta descriptions as organic ad texts for promoted links.

An SEO agency knows not just what is a meta description, but also how to craft them in order to comply with:

  • Google’s rules
  • Your brand voice
  • Your target audience’s preferences

Here are just a few reasons to let SEO experts take care of content writing and optimization, even though you now know what is a good meta description:

Google Keeps Changing the Rules

Google constantly updates its ranking algorithm and the best practices for search engine optimization. For instance, for the question: what is the ideal length of a meta description? – the answer has changed over the years, and may possibly continue to change.

You do not have the time to stay up to date with all these changes. For an SEO agency, this is a basic prerequisite.

Our job as SEO experts is implementing the latest trends so that our clients’ websites rank high in search results and do not get penalized for breaking Google’s rules.

An SEO Company Relies on Professionals with Different Backgrounds

When you hire an SEO company, you have not hired just a meta description writer. You will benefit from the experience and know-how of an entire team of:

  • Developers
  • Graphic designers
  • Content writers
  • Marketers

Together, they will ensure that your entire website, not only your meta descriptions, is Google-friendly and user friendly at the same time.

You Can Scale Up Your Website

Are you ready to expand your site from a simple presentation website to an eCommerce website? Writing content for the online store section is not only highly specialized work but also time-consuming.

You will find it extremely hard to manage your business and handle the website expansion at the same time. It does not matter that you know what is a meta description for SEO and even how to apply the best principles. You still have only 24 hours in a day. 

By contrast, an SEO agency can distribute a large job among various team members, so that the content you need is ready on time and meets your criteria for quality and consistency with your brand voice.

You Will Attract More Relevant Traffic to Your Site

Crafting a good meta description may be difficult, but it is rewarding. Many people rely on this short text to decide what link to click on. If your meta descriptions are to the point and answer the user’s query, you have won a website visitor. In turn, if your website content is useful, helpful, and reliable, you may win a new customer.

You Can Speak to Your Audience in a Way They Can Relate To

You know your brand image and tone of voice. But that is not enough, even if you know what is a good meta description. You also have to know your audience: how they usually talk, what kind of tone of voice appeals to them, how they react to various messages.

A professional SEO company will take these aspects into consideration. If you do not have a clear buyer persona, the SEO specialists can help you create one. In this way, you will know more about your target audience and your website content will appeal to their interests, needs, and preferences.

infographic that explains how to create a good meta description

Work with an SEO Company that Delivers the Results You Need!

At Direct Line Development, we can tell you all about what is a homepage meta description. However, we believe that the best way in which we can help you is to actually create and optimize your meta description and website content.

We have experience working for clients in different industries and niches. Thus, we can match your brand voice in all the content pieces we create for you. And we can also make sure that your content will appeal to your customers. 

Do not hold your business back from growth. Call us and find out how our SEO experts can help you at 267-626-2554!


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Nick Larsen
Nick Larsen
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