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Writing the perfect meta description in WordPress

Writing the perfect meta description in WordPress

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Today, we’re talking about meta description, why it is crucial for your website and how to write the proper one.

How can something so little be of so much importance? Glad you’ve asked because we prepared the detailed guide on how to create the best meta description for your website and your articles.

What is a meta description?

For those of you who don’t know, or maybe forgot, the meta description is a brief description of the site or article. It tells Google and potential visitors what to expect when clicking on your link. Think of it as an ad for your article/blog/website. The more accurate and catchy it is, the more chances you have to get the visitor to your site.

The ideal length of the meta description should be 160 characters – that is what Google recognizes and puts under your title. Anything more than that will not be shown so be aware of that.

Why use meta description?

Having meta descriptions on your blog or site matter. It’s one of the most effective Search Engine Optimization techniques that help you improve the website’s visibility and ranking. Moreover, done right, it grabs your readers’ attention. and it’s a go-to way to get visitors to your site. If written well, the meta descriptions will generate clickthroughs from search engines like Google. It’s like a hook and a promise of an answer and the solution people are searching online.

Apart from your own blog or site, other platforms use defined meta descriptions as well. Social networks like Facebook or Twitter use them as well when you whare your links there, so it comes very handy for that purpose as well.

Let’s say you’re searching for some WordPress tutorials. What do you do? Aside from the title results, you might look and read the description beneath it, right? Looking for the most interesting one and click on it, am I right again?

As for how does it look like on search engines, here’s an example:

meta description in WordPress search engine example

And talking about Social Media here’s an example of how Twitter uses meta description when you share your links on its platform:

meta description in WordPress Social Media example

If done properly, a meta description will set you apart from the competition. It is a golden opportunity to do good and improve your SEO efforts – for free! Having a meta description on your every article will increase visibility chances as well as clickthrough rates. And now that we explained the what’s and why’s, let us take you through the very steps of how to set up the right meta descriptions on your WordPress blogs and sites.

How to write and improve the meta description?

Now that we know how important it is to have the meta description, here’s how to improve its writing and SEO efforts. These are the things you need to consider and do the right way, to fully benefit from it.

1. Meta description length

As we said, Google won’t show more than 155-160 characters of the meta description. Make sure to have your caption within that range. If not, the message you want to communicate might not be appropriately understood. Or you risk being perceived as unprofessional and a slob. Here’s an example:

meta description in WordPress bad example

In any case, make sure that the meta description provides value and drives clicks to your article.

2. Do not over-promise

What’s written in the meta description should match the article content itself. Don’t use bombastic and clickbait phrases to catch the visitor, just to be disappointed when they click on the link. Find a way to write both interesting, catchy and truthful captions that will deliver the exact value to the visitor.

3. Use the keyword

Having an excellently written meta description in WordPress or any other CMS means you have the right keyword in it, too. This is one of the fundamental SEO rules – adding a specific, targeted keyword within meta description in a meaningful way. It’s the little things that matter.

Let’s say you have an article about embedding YouTube video in WordPress – wait! We do! And you want to bid on keywords like „embed YouTube video WordPress.“ When writing the meta description, you would include these keywords and write something like this:

meta description in WordPress keywords example

Short enough, specific and in line with the article topic, right?

4. Include CTA

Call to action is an important and powerful way to drive visits to your website. People like and want to know what to do – show them! If you want them to do something – tell them right away, within that meta description.

5. It’s not about you

Equally crucial like all the previous tips. Don’t use the meta description to self-promote; it’s not about you. Put yourself in the visitor’s shoes and think about what it is they want from you? They want the solution, the answer to their search, their problem. Use meta description to deliver just that, and you’ll see your efforts payout quickly.

How to set up meta descriptions in WordPress?

Now, using WordPress as your go-to publishing platform has numerous benefits. One of those is that WordPress is SEO friendly and has tons of useful plugins, even for meta description! Personally and here in Meks, we use SEO by Yoast plugin that helps us in writing the meta description in WordPress.

The process itself is straightforward: after you install the plugin from the plugin section of the site, you’re ready to go! SEO by Yoast is under the text editor, and all you need to do is this:

  • Click on the Edit snippet button to enter the meta description section
  • Paste the desired meta description in the box

meta description in WordPress SEO Yoast example

As simple as that!

Are meta descriptions a ranking factor, what does Google thinks about it?

Well, in theory, Google and search engines don’t consider meta descriptions as a direct ranking factor, nor it affects SEO. However (do we love that word :)), as we stated, they do affect CTR’s which ARE a ranking factor thus, they do contribute to your site’s ranking. Furthermore, Google sometimes uses meta description for search snippet creation so it’s a help as well.

Meta description examples in WordPress

Here are a few examples from some of our high ranking posts, just to see how it all looks in practice:

wordpress-meta-description-text-editor-tools  wordpress-meta-description-facebook-groups-for-bloggers

wordpress-meta-description-brand-color-palette-tools

As you can see, we used very specifically, well-targeted keyphrases that we know our target audience uses and combined them to come up with engaging copy that will make people click on it.

Meta description 2020 best practices

Before we finish this article off, we’d like to share a couple of useful tips and tricks to improve your meta description writing skills.

1. Make your meta description copy ad worthy. Think of it as a selling point of your article, page or blog/site itself. Have in mind that copy should be inviting, valuable and with a targeted keyphrase – if it comes naturally.

2. Do not use the same meta description for different pages or posts. Each and every page and post should have a unique meta description – just as you define unique keywords, you should do the same with meta’s as well.

3. Your meta descriptions should meet your target audience’s search intent. So, do your research and find out which key phrases your target audience is using while using search.  Once you know that, it will be easier to craft compelling and ad worthy meta descriptions that WILL improve CTR.

Wrapping up

Now, you have every information you need for writing a good meta description in WordPress and any other CMS, best practices and useful tips and tricks. Do you use meta description and in what way? Let us know if these tips we share help you and if you know of any new ones to include.

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Ivana Cirkovic

Ivana is a Digital Marketing, PR and Social Media consultant with over nine years experience in the field. She is also a WordPress enthusiast and an active member of WordPress community who lives online almost 24/7. In love with Twitter, WP, photography and NYC.

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