23 September 2022Insights

What is a meta description and why is it important?

Mary Speakman
Mary Speakman Managing Director Got a question?
What is a meta description and why is it important

It’s highly likely you will have heard of the term ‘meta description’ but may have decided it sounds too geeky to concern yourself with. However, if you have a website, we’d suggest you think again.

To explain what you need to know about meta descriptions, we’ve put together this handy guide. It’s time to show your meta description some love and convert more browsers to users.

What is a meta description?

A meta description is a short summary of your web page. It is part of the snippet you see on a search engine results listing.

Think of it this way: before you buy a book, you read the blurb to decide if it’s ‘your thing’. The blurb is a brief summary of what the book’s about. In a limited number of words, its job is to attract readers to buy the book. A big job for a small block of text! A meta description does the same job on the web.

As an example, the meta description for the Great British Bake Off home page is:

The Great British Bake Off is the ultimate baking battle where passionate amateur baking fans compete to be crowned the UK’s Best Amateur Baker.

How to write a meta description

  • A meta description can be as long as you like, but Google will only show around 155-160 characters so we suggest that if you want to show your entire summary on a SERP, you should keep the number of characters under 160.
  • Make sure your meta description is written with the intention of getting more clicks.
  • Consider it a shameless pitch for why users should visit your website.
  • Hit users’ pain points, the reasons why they would want or need to visit your web page.
  • Include the USP (unique selling point) of your web page to discourage users from wandering off to a different site.
  • Use the same tone of voice as your web page so that you engage users from your ideal target audience.

Why is a meta-description important?

Your meta description entices people to click through to your web page. Think back to the book blurb. A meta description attracts attention and encourages users to find out more, which can ultimately lead to buying decisions and conversions.

While a meta description isn’t included in Google ranking algorithms, by describing what is on the web page it does significantly impact your click-through rate (CTR), which can, in turn, improve its ranking. Your meta tag is more about attracting the attention of users rather than Google, creating that all-important first impression.

When your web page is shared on social media, the meta description is usually selected as the description on the link. If you don’t have a meta description, the social media platform will use any text it can find. This is a missed opportunity, particularly when your site has been shared by an advocate user.

Choose Code Galaxy for bespoke website development

If you’d like help with meta descriptions or other ways to optimise your web page, get in touch with the Code Galaxy team.

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