Meta Descriptions are an essential part of your listing on Google. While they may not make you rank higher in Search Engine Optimization, it helps with user engagement and lets your customer know what the page is all about. In addition, having a well-written meta description may decide between a customer clicking on the page and not clicking on the page.
So what is a meta description, and why is it important? A meta description is a section of HTML code that summarizes what is on your page. In general, a meta description is meant to briefly describe what the user will experience when they arrive at your page. It should give information about your content that will make someone want to click on your link to learn more.
The Meta Description Length in 2022
The character limit of a meta description has varied from year to year. The last update in December 2017 said that the ideal limit for meta descriptions was 290 characters, and then they would cut off anything else above 290 characters. At the beginning of May 2021, Google has said that the ideal meta description length is now between 120 and 160 characters.
158 characters transmit to approximately 920 pixels for any desktop or laptop. Therefore, the meta description will be cut off when viewing Google on a mobile device because it only allows a shorter meta description. Mobile devices have a max limit of about 680 pixels which translates to 120 characters.
You want to try and put all the most exciting and useful information in the first 120 characters, so it is upfront and center for laptops, desktops, and mobile devices.
When writing the meta description, keep in mind that they should be targeting searched keywords. This means that you want your description to include any keywords that a customer may be looking for. For example, if a customer is searching for tropical-scented candles, and you are selling a tropical scented candle, that page’s meta description should include that keyword.
Why are Meta Descriptions Important?
Since meta descriptions appear with your title and URL on the results page, they can definitely either help or hurt your results click-through rates.
The best way to think about a meta description, in simple terms, is it like a traditional ad in a newspaper or magazine. Traditional advertising uses headlines and taglines to convince a person to call the phone number or travel to the address. Likewise, with your search results, your page title is your headline, and your meta description is your tagline, whereas the URL link is your address. Likewise, you want to try and convince or entice a person to view your website and page.
Making meta descriptions stand out means that you can get creative! For example, when a newspaper creates an ad, they get creative with the photo and descriptions. Try using a different tone and language to make your site seem unique.
When writing your meta descriptions, whether for products or pages, there are some tips to keep in mind to make your meta descriptions stand out and help your click-through rate.
1. Aim for around 155 characters in your meta description
While there is no perfect length for a meta description, you want to try and aim for around 155 characters. There is such a thing as a description being too short or too long. One short sentence may not be enough, but if you’re over 160 characters, Google will cut you off. That’s why around 155 characters is the best number when viewing on a laptop or desktop.
2. Use your main keyword
It is a good idea to include your primary keyword or phrase in your page’s description. This will help users find your product more easily if it is something they are looking for. For example, if a user is looking for candles and you have a candle product, make sure to include that word in your meta description so that Google will recognize it and a potential customer can find your page.
On the other hand, you don’t want to use that keyword too often in your meta description. When you put your keyword in the meta description multiple times, this is known as keyword stuffing. You want to avoid doing that because it will come across as awkward, and Google won’t like it.
Using your main keyword won’t help you rank higher in Google, but it will highlight your keyword in the search. This can, in turn, help you improve your click-through rate.
3. Make sure your meta description matches your page’s content
The purpose of your meta description is basically what is on your page, and it should do just that. A good way to make sure that your description matches your page’s content is to read through your content thoroughly and write a one-to-two sentence summary of the page. Then you can either take that information and write a more creative meta description, or you can take those two sentences and use that as your description.
4. Use specifications, where possible.
This is important if your product has any technical specifications, including models or versions of software. Suppose your page’s content includes any of these specifications, but it is not mentioned in your meta description. In that case, this may prevent a potential customer from clicking on your site and viewing your product. Using specifications in your meta description may be the difference between getting a sale to not getting a sale.
5. Make it unique and interesting.
At the end of the day, you want people to view your site. You want them to click on one page and then search through the site. You want your content to be unique and interesting. Google frowns on duplicate content, so you don’t want to use the same description across multiple pages, and you do not want to copy someone else’s description.
Your meta description should not be an afterthought. It can be the last thing that you do after writing a blog post, creating a page, or uploading a product, but it still requires some thought and creative content.
Taking a few moments to create one-of-a-kind descriptions and quality content from your page will help not only the user experience but the click-through rate of your site.
While your meta description may not directly contribute to how your website and corresponding pages rank, you still want to include a meta description to help the overall user experience.
When writing your meta description, just imagine that you are writing an ad for a newspaper. You want the potential customer or visitor to want to come to your site. You want to excite them and make them want to know more. This will help your click-through rate, and even though having a meta description does not help your rankings in Google, having a high click-through rate will.