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  • Writer's pictureGeoff Schalow

Meta Descriptions: What They Are; Why They Matter.

Updated: Feb 13, 2023



If you do not know what "Meta Descriptions" are, do not worry. We will explain everything you need to know in this article.


In fact, by the end of this blog, you will understand a fantastic, techy term you can use to impress your friends with at your next dinner party.


Meta descriptions are among the top 4 places Google looks for desired keywords. Since your website is ranked and served up in search results by the page, you want a description for each page. So let's take the Sound of Music approach and start at the very beginning.


What is a meta description?


A meta description is a short, concise description of a webpage. It is typically entered into the HTML source code and displayed on the page. I know we are getting technical but stay with us. Most web builders and/or plug-ins have a section designated for your meta description. Basically, you can type your page description in that box, and the program does the HTML coding for you.


The meta description appears in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS, if you want more jargon) below the title of the web pages served up by your search engine of choice. Check out the example below, and you will recognize the meta description. Meta descriptions are helpful for people who are looking for specific information on the web pages they are visiting.



no meta description?


If you do not write a meta description for your web page(s), Google will display a default description from text within the page. The default text that is used does not follow a precise pattern. For example, Google may use the first phrase or two on that page, which is typically the best-case scenario. However, we have seen disclaimers at the bottom of a page used as the meta description. That was a worst-case scenario.


Take control of your success and write a good explanation of your page. Make sure that it's unique and concise. You want to use between 70-160 characters. The character count allows enough room for a thorough representation while ensuring your description is fully displayed. A good way of determining what information to use as a meta description on your page is by thinking about the page's primary purpose.


How do Meta descriptions help my web page?


Metadata is a vital part of digital marketing. Keywords are one of Google's most important ranking factors. Earlier in this article, we mentioned that meta descriptions help people know they are checking out the right page. This is also the case for Google!


Google notices keywords that match what people are looking for when they search for something. A couple of essential areas for keywords are Title Tags, URLs, Headings, and...you guessed it, Meta Descriptions. Since the meta description is a primary place for keywords, every page of your website needs a meta description.


The more targeted and descriptive your meta titles are, the better your chances of converting those visitors into customers. If people can't find the information they need on your webpage, they won't convert - and that's where metadata comes in! We can discuss search engine algorithms in another article, but keep this in mind for now. The algorithms are criteria that help search engines understand what information is covered by a piece of writing.


As we wrap things up, let's recap and bit and cram in a couple of extra golden nuggets.


Meta descriptions are a form of communication with your readers and Google regarding your page. So give abundant care and intention to adding meta descriptions to your web pages.


If you do not designate a meta description for your pages, information will be taken from your page semi-randomly and used as the meta description.


Your meta descriptions help your page(s) rank better because they are a primary spot search engines look for information about the page.


Golden nuggets


  • Your website does not "rank on Google." Your web pages rank on Google. This is why you need meta descriptions for each page. When a search result populates, it will be for just the page that is ranking for the search term you used.

  • Your web pages do not rank as a whole. Specific keywords on your page(s) rank based on the words used in a search inquiry. This is why keyword research is absolutely critical.

  • Many websites do not have meta descriptions for each page. Therefore, by being thorough in this area, you may have more pages rank for keywords than your competitor.

For more information on meta descriptions, or anything else mentioned in this article, we encourage you to reach out to Horizon Business Strategies. We would be happy to chat with you if you would like some help putting together quality meta descriptions. It is our passion to help other small businesses thrive online.

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