Get more visits to your website with the right meta-description

how to fill in meta-description

Go to your favourite search engine, put in a search for the first thing that comes to mind and see what results are thrown up.  Which ones catch your attention and make you want to click, which ones do you pass on by?

At a guess, the ones that you’ll be drawn to will have a well written title and meta description which summarise the web page concisely.  The others will be a jumble of words. Take these two examples from the search “Winchester restaurants”


meta description


how to write meta-descriptions

What makes the difference is a well thought out title (the blue headline) and meta-description (the summary text below the url).

Getting your titles and meta-descriptions right for each page on your website helps both with your search engine rankings (when you include keywords) and making it more likely someone will click through.

So if you want to improve your click through rate, here’s a 5 minute fix to sort out your meta descriptions:

  • Firstly find out where on your website back-end you fill in your meta-descriptions.  Any decent content management system will let you fill them in for each page.  If you have a wordpress website, install the Yoast SEO plugin  – it makes it very simple.
    As an example here’s how I filled in the meta description for this page using Yoast:

yoast SEO

  • Keywords: make sure your most important keywords for that page are included in the meta description. Often search engines will highlight in bold where it finds the searchers query in your snippet.
  • Write legible, readable copy: Make sure your description reads like a normal, human-written sentence do not keyword stuff it. People will assume your result leads to a spammy website.
  • Answer questions: Everyone on Google has come looking for answers to a problem. Put yourself in a customer’s shoes. Your meta description needs to answer their question and impart value to entice them to click on your website.
  • Treat the meta description as if it’s an advert for your web-page: make it as compelling and as relevant as possible. The description MUST match the content on the page, but you should also make it as appealing as possible.
  • Incorporate a Call to Action: The second part of your meta description should promise to benefit readers in some way and make them click in order to find out more.
  • Length: a meta description should be no longer than 135 – 160 characters long Any longer and search engines will chop the end off.
  • Do not duplicate meta descriptions: The meta descriptions must be written differently for every page.  Some website content management systems let you fill in one meta-description to be used across the site – don’t do this – make each page unique. Google may penalise you for mass duplicating your meta descriptions.

So next time you have 5 minutes spare – check your meta descriptions and make sure you update any unappealing or poorly written ones.

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