The meta tag description is an HTML attribute inserted into your web page's header tag.
Essentially, it's the preview text that search engines display for every result. It's very helpful to optimize your meta description, and you should always create and implement it in tandem with the tag title (learn what that is and how to use it).
Over the years, Google has changed the way in which it assesses meta descriptions for SEO. Today, the largest search engine no longer weighs this aspect for its rankings. Instead, it evaluates this content in order to display the clearest possible results on the SERP and help users carry out their searches. In fact, this description should describe the content of the entire page. That's why it should be written in a way that catches users' attention and convinces them to click on your link.
Here are the main features of a good meta description:
- The meta description expands on the tag title, and helps users find the search engine results that best suit their needs.
- Ideally, these descriptions are between 135 and 155 characters long; any longer and Google tends to cut them off mid-phrase.
- The description should be precise, and if possible, contains a call to action.
- Within this meta description, you should at least include the main keyword: not only will Google display it in the results, it also helps the search engine evaluate the text's relevance based on the tag title.
A successful meta description:
- fits the web page's content;
- uses copywriting levers like persuasion and social proof, underscores a concrete benefit and leaves users intrigued;
- includes the page's keyword;
- is unique.
Many studies have shown that inserting numbers into the meta description's text or leading with a question leads to more clicks from Google search users. For example:
- "Want to learn how to write perfect meta descriptions in just 30 minutes?"
- "Free, fast returns".
The meta description is a key tool for getting users to click on your link.