Every time you enter a query into any search engine and receive results, you read at least one meta description, if not more. These text snippets tell searchers about your web pages and convince them that you have the answers to their questions.
That said, because they tend to run short — typically 160 characters and under — and appear on search engine results, not on your website, it’s easy to undervalue meta descriptions. Even some of the best digital marketing experts and copywriters throw them together at the last minute.
Why should you take your time crafting a meta description? And is it worth considering getting help from a meta description generator? We dive into these points and more in this article.
Meta description vs SEO description
Many search engine optimization (SEO) experts use the terms “meta description” and “SEO description” interchangeably because they mean the same thing. Meta descriptions are SEO descriptions.
Some people may also refer to homepage meta description as the site SEO description, and those of other pages as page meta descriptions. Ultimately, both terms mean the same thing.
Every page on your website, including your homepage, should have a description for search engines (and potential visitors) to read.
The important thing to keep in mind though: Google does not always show your designated meta description. Neither does Bing.
Depending on the search query, Google search results will often show a direct response to the question asked as quoted from your site’s page. Sometimes, search engines will also show a featured snippet or a random portion of text from the article. This can be frustrating, but it surely highlights the need to have your content tight all over.
If meta descriptions don’t always show up, is there a point in writing them anyway? Yes, and here’s why.
Why meta descriptions matter
There is an overwhelming amount of resources for pretty much any topic online. For every search query, searchers get hundreds of results, and most people want the most qualified experts available to answer their questions.
Google will not directly rank your content based on how well your SEO description is written, but your meta description can indirectly impact your traffic and ranking, as we’ll see soon. Here are three reasons why meta descriptions matter:
- Your meta description is essentially your ad copy. It is your 5-second pitch to the readers. You make a promise to answer their query by showing them that you understand their pain point and telling them what you offer.
- Pages with meta descriptions look tidier on SERPs. It seems like a small thing, but it can hurt your brand and click-through rate when your SERP snippet is disorganized and unhelpful. Your site almost resembles a malware zone, as opposed to a value center.
- Good meta descriptions indirectly improve page rankings and SEO by clicks. While Google doesn’t judge sites by the way their descriptions sound, it does determine reputable sites by click-through rate (CTR). Your CTR is the percentage of searchers who choose your content from SERPs. How do you get readers to click? A catchy meta description. Higher CTR = better rankings with search engines.
Bottom line: Meta descriptions sell your article to readers using search engines. They help your target audience decide whether or not to read your article. They look better, and readers’ responses to a dope meta description tell Google that your site is worth ranking.
True, sometimes Google only shares a random article snippet, but without a hand-crafted meta description, Google will always show a random snippet of your article. Unfortunately, this may or may not be relevant to the reader. With a description, though, your article is always set to put its best foot forward in search engine results pages (SERPs).
Meta description vs meta tags: The key differences
Meta descriptions are part of the meta tag family. Meta tags are HTML codes found in the source code of your site’s pages. This means that readers (or anyone) looking at the page won’t see your meta tags unless they click “View Page Source” upon right-clicking.
Meta (short for metadata) tags basically point out sections of your page to search engines crawling the site. This gives the search engines an idea of your site layout and content. Some basic meta tags you should know about are:
- Page title: This is where the title of your page shows up.
- Meta description tag: Your SEO description will live here.
- Viewport: Your site uses this tag to tell Google how it should show your pages on a mobile device. Once Google sees this meta tag, it knows that your site is mobile-friendly.
- Robots: This tag tells site crawling robots what to do with your page. For example, follow or nofollow links would inform robots whether or not a link is worth ranking.
Are meta tags important for SEO? Yes, some of them are. The title tag, for example, is how search engines present and rank your article. Robot follow or nofollow tags are important for your domain rating as they tell search engines whether or not to trust (i.e. follow) links to your website.
How to write a meta description that gets clicks
You now know not to mess around with your meta description, but how do you write a killer meta description that will have readers running toward your article? We’ve got six points to get you on the right pat1. Use a meta description generator
We’re all for creating stellar content — even if you need to get a little help. Thankfully, we live in a tech-blessed era where you can get a little boost with just about any activity, even writing! Our top meta description generator tool is our very own Jarvis, an AI writing assistant.
Jarvis is designed to help writers and content marketers create compelling copy that converts, whether it's for meta descriptions or an entire long-form article. To accomplish this, it uses one of its 52+ available templates.
At least four Jarvis templates are dedicated to writing meta descriptions for service pages, product pages, blog homepages, and blog post pages. For this article, let’s test out the Homepage Title and Meta Descriptions template and see Jarvis at work.
Here’s what Jarvis had to say about a fictional cleaning company.
We asked for more options, and we got them.
Notice that Jarvis highlights the keyword, which in this case includes the business’s location and the company’s expertise. It digests the description provided and uses its bank of knowledge to create content that matches the specifications — even adding an urgent CTA (as you’ll see, this is pretty important)!
2. Analyze your current content and how it displays on SERPs
You’ve decided to use a cool meta description generator (aka Jarvis), but before you start crafting away, it would help to see what your current content looks like on SERPs. That way, you know what you’re working with and what needs changing.
Some of your content may be ranking as featured snippets, in which case you might want to leave them as they are in the meantime. On the other hand, for pages not currently ranking as high, you might see value in adding a description that gets readers’ attention.
3. Write for readers (and search engines)
Yes, you can do both! How? By sounding conversational even while ensuring that your keyword — or at least part of it — fits into the 2-3 sentences of your description. There’s no need to mention the keyword multiple times unnecessarily. That will only hurt your site’s rankings.
Instead, engage with readers. Ask a fun question. Make a joke. Show them that you understand what they need, and more importantly that your article will fill that need.
4. Keep it concise and unique
Selling your long-form article or beloved product in less than 160 characters can seem like an uphill battle, but it is certainly possible — and vital.
Search engines can only show a maximum of 160 characters. So if you write too much text, all your hard work would have been for nothing, because it will be fragmented with forlorn ellipses at the end.
You can try allocating roles to each sentence of the description. One to highlight the problem, one to highlight your article’s solution, and one short call to action. Perhaps one sentence can even fill two roles if you’re skilled enough.
5. Add a call to action
A CTA tells readers what to do. You might think readers will know exactly what to do with your article’s link in the SERPs, but these things aren’t always clear when readers are swarmed by search results.
Make your CTA unmissable. CTAs like “Learn more in this post,” “Call 123456789 to learn more,” and “Shop directly on our website” will ensure that readers know exactly what to do.
6. Double-check with an analyzer tool
When you’re all done and almost satisfied with your meta description, run it through an analyzer tool to ensure it meets all your targets. A popular analyzer is the Yoast SEO plugin — available to WordPress users.
Yoast won’t know how well-written or conversational your description is, but it will check the measurable parameters for SEO. It calculates the number of characters in your description and checks that your keyword is included, for example.
A good Yoast alternative is the SEOPress plugin, which is also available to WordPress users. Other free tools online include free meta tag generators and meta description formulas to make your work a bit easier.
5 great meta description examples to learn from
To wrap things up, we’ll see our tips in practice by reviewing a few real-life examples of well-written meta descriptions. Then we’ll highlight what each one does well.
ASOS wins by providing value in the first sentence! Who doesn’t love a freebie? Their description also highlights their stock range in clear terms. Win-win!
Crocs keeps things lighthearted, creating a measure of intrigue for anyone who hasn’t tried the brand. Comfort and support are key footwear requirements for their target audience and Crocs doesn’t miss the chance to highlight how they solve their problem.
3. Mom Loves Best
Mom Loves Best stays simple and concise with their meta description while clearly indicating who their ideal reader is. If you fit into either of the categories, you know what to do.
Wendy’s brings the fun with a wink and a reassuring “We Got You” in their description. Their meta draws you in, makes you smile, and (yes, you were probably already going to do so anyway) place an order.
In case you ever wondered what people do on Twitter, their meta description has all the deets. And don’t miss the CTA: “Join the conversation.”
Improve your content CTR with a meta description generator
Because meta descriptions are typically three sentences (or less) long, the decision to click or not to click after reading is so quick that people forget the role the copy plays. Let us be the ones to remind you: Your meta description is your SERP ad. Use it.
Make your SEO description the best it can be by enlisting Jarvis, an AI copywriter. Jarvis uses the information you provide to create relevant, engaging, and highly converting copy that readers can’t help but respond to positively.
Start a free trial of Jarvis today and see for yourself.