Best Practices for Writing Meta Descriptions.

Before they make it to your website, the first impression most visitors will get is the 155-character meta description that Google provides below each search result. This is your chance to clearly and concisely describe this web page to both a reader and the search engine.

Meta descriptions need to provide short, actionable information to convince the search engine that this is the right page to present and convince the user that a page has what they’re looking for. The right description can increase your click-through-rate (CTR) by displaying relevant information to a user. In addition, you have a much higher chance of appearing in search results if you can exactly match the user’s search term in your meta description.

Matching the search term directly has some distinct advantages. For example, anyone searching how to “Manage my brand reputation” would see the relevant search terms highlighted in the meta description and be more likely to click through to your website. 

How Google Creates Meta Descriptions.

Bear in mind that you can’t guarantee that Google will display your meta description below your website in search results. In many situations, the search engine may add additional text to the description, truncate the description, and use other text from within the page that better matches the users search terms. In total, Google uses part of or the entire provided meta description around 55% of the time.

Even if you don’t have complete control over what Google presents, the possible improvements it could make to your click-through-rate, a metric Google uses to evaluate your rankings, makes it well worth the time and energy to include them.

4 Qualities of a Good Meta Description.

Keep it short.

As mentioned, you have a limited number of characters to use to create a compelling meta description. Don’t waste space on anything that doesn’t need to be there. Keep things as relevant and the point as possible.


Focus on your keywords and phrases.

  The closer you can exactly match a user’s search term, the more words will be highlighted in your meta description, and the more relevant the search result will appear.


Think about how you might be found.

  The closer you can get to guessing the searcher’s intent, the better. This may require a little educated guess work, but start by asking yourself what kind of questions might have brought them to this page in the first place.


Answer the question.

Now that you have this question in mind, answer it! You want to provide value in your meta description rather than just describing the page itself.



Examples of Good Meta Descriptions.

A good meta for this article might be something like:

“Learn why your meta descriptions need to provide short, actionable information about your webpage.”
This tells the reader what the post is about, provides them with a basic understanding of the topic, and invites them to click on the link to learn more.  

A travel website page for things to do in Santa Monica could be something like:

 “The place for all things Santa Monica. Learn where to stay, what to do, and how to make the most of your trip.”
They know that visitors are likely going or planning to visit Santa Monica, want things to do, and need a website that presents accurate information.  


A thrift store that puts an emphasis on being environmentally conscious  could write something like:

 “High quality, sustainably sourced used clothes. All the latest trends without the environmental impacts of fast fashion.”
They know their target audience cares about the environment, all while shopping for clothing items to add to their waredrobe.


Ready to see how we can help you?

It may be short and sweet, but coming up with the right meta description for your website makes a big difference. It can lead to growth in organic traffic, better click-through-rates, and all around higher search engine rankings. Take the time to come up with something valuable and exciting to convince readers and search engines that you’ve created content worth clicking on.

To learn more and stay in the loop about everything local search visit our blog or contact us directly to see how we can help.