The description meta tag is placed within the HEAD block and provides a brief description of the HTML page. The description meta tag content does not affect the webpage appearance, while it is one of the sources for search engines to form a snippet for websites in search results. Thus, the most informative text relevant to the search query gets into the snippet.
A description meta tag example in the webpage HTML code:
An example of metadescription in search results:
Description – meta tag provides a brief description of your page revealing its essence. It should be interesting and informative: after reading the meta description, a user should understand whether he/she needs this content, that is, go to the link to the website page or not.
Principles of Writing Description
- Up to 155 characters – and sometimes more
- Actionable and written in an active voice
- Including a call-to-action
- Containing the focus keyword
- Possibly showing specifications
- Matching the content
Tips for Writing Description for Google
- Description should not repeat title, it should serve as a continuation of title and reveal its essence in more detail.
- Mata description should be unique within the website, that is, should be written for each page.
- Length of description for Google should not exceed 150 characters with spaces (for other search engines, this value can vary being less or more (for example, in Yandex, the description length is allowed up to 500 characters)).
- Usually, meta description consists of one or two sentences, while the text should be informative and contain a call to action – so that a user was interested to follow the link to your website.
- Like the Title tag, the Description meta tag should be written for certain keywords promoted on the page. Ideally, description should include all keywords on the page, however, to avoid over-spam, the keywords are usually divided and the most important are included in title, and all the others + also important are mentioned in meta description (for example, as the screenshot below shows: the word "buy" is in title, and "sale" is in description). As for title, the most frequent search queries are also usually placed at the beginning of meta description. The same keyword (phrase) should not be used more than three times.
- To make description more noticeable, use Unicode characters in the snippet. Like Emoji for titles, special characters can work well and make it more attractive.
- The text should be clear and concise – do not use common phrases, such as "low prices", "huge selection of products", "experienced employees", "high quality" , etc.
- Do not copy part of the page text to fill in meta descriptions (sometimes in content management systems, such as, for example, CMS Wordpress, some SEO plugins automatically fill in description by copying the first N characters of the page text, resulting in partial content duplication which is no good and has less effect than writing meta description manually or generating it).
Note: if the search engine ignores the current description (in the snippet, you see other text, different from the current one), this may indicate poor-quality meta description (for example, it is poorly formulated, does not correspond to the page content and does not contain necessary search queries). In this case, Google itself can form descripton from the content of the current page by "combining" the most suitable pieces of text into a single meta description, most relevant to a search query, or delete duplicate texts.
Technology for Writing Description
Technology for writing meta descriptions in general is not much different from that for title, except that description is much longer than title, that gives more opportunities for webpage SEO optimization.
The main difference is that description has a format of one or two sentences, ending with sentence-specific punctuation marks (dot, question and exclamation marks).
Generating Description for Online Stores
Usually description meta tags for product cards are generated according to a certain template, directly using data from the product details.
Examples of such templates:
- Catalog section:
- Buy [model] by installments or credit with delivery in Europe in the online store [store_name]. The catalog contains [X] smartphones [brand] [model] from [Y] to [Z] euros with feedbacks and characteristics.
- Buy cheap smartphone [brand] [model] in the online store [store_name] for [X] euros. Characteristics, price of the smartphone [brand] [model] ([item number]). Delivery in Berlin and Europe.
- Catalog section:
- Buy iPhone X by installments or credit with delivery in Europe in the online store YourStore. The catalog contains 3 smartphones Apple iPhone X from 399 to 499 euros with feedbacks and characteristics.
- Buy cheap smartphone Apple iPhone X 64Gb, MQAC2RU/A red in the online store YourStore for 499 euros. Characteristics, price of the smartphone Apple iPhone X 64Gb, MQAC2RU/A red (499091). Delivery in Berlin and Europe.
If you comply with the above rules in writing meta descriptions, you will diligently optimize pages of your website that will improve its visibility and make friends with search engines.
You can conduct a detailed analysis of the description meta tag optimization for your website, identify pages with problem meta tags and eliminate them completely free of charge using the SiteAnalyzer software.