What is a meta description? How is it used to improve SEO?

What is a meta description?  How is it used to improve SEO?

Why are meta description tags important?
Difference between meta description and snippet
If you write a good meta description, search engines will not change your snippets
Tips – How to write a meta description
How long should the meta description be?
Why Google cares about meta descriptions
This is what they said about structured data (SD)
Meta description guidelines


A meta description is an HTML tag which is found in the of HTML and is part of the meta elements used to specify and summarize the content of the page.

The meta description is not visible on the page itself, but search engines can identify it with the following HTML code:

<meta name="Description" content="descripción informativa aquí">

When search engines identify the meta description, it is used as a snippet in search results. For example:seoptimer serp

Why are meta description tags important?

Meta description tags are important because search engines use them as a snippet of what your page is about in their search results. A page title can be multiple words, but with the description tag you can add a short sentence or paragraph that adds more context.Search result of social media tools

The more accurately it describes the content of the page and the more relevant the snippet, the more likely people are to click on the webpage.

Difference between meta descriptions and snippets

Ideally, the meta description describes what content the page includes and what users can expect to see.

The site owner can add the meta description, while Google displays the snippet. Google prefers meta descriptions and may use your meta description as a snippet for your page if the description text matches the user’s query.

Your priority is to deliver accurate fragments. Typically, snippets rely on their algorithm rather than your description, because your description may not be as valuable to web results as following theirs guidelines.

They serve their own snippet of code based on the results gleaned from your content within the page. In fact, according to a study From ACM Queue, less than a third of Google search results include a snippet enriched with Schema.org markup.

If you write a good meta description, search engines will not change your snippets

The following example is the result of writing “Tool of SEO check” (note that bold letters indicate relevance to the search result):seoptimer SEO audit tool

If you write “best SEO audit tool“, you may find the same results as the meta description due to the precision of the meta description for the user’s query.

If you write “seoptimer” is the same result, except that Google highlights SEOptimer in bold.
seoptimer ice

Too bad embargoor, if you write “how to use an SEO audit tool“, you can see that Google has extracted the page to create a new snippet and provide better results for the search engine.the best SEO tools

Snippets have a limited length depending on the device used by the user; Likewise, Google continually defines what it believes is the correct amount of text to display.

Tips – How to write a meta description

A good meta description should be attractive, easy to understand, and help users view and find exactly what they’re looking for.

It should be written in an active voice and be consistent with vocabulary that convinces users to take the next step. Google uses meta descriptions to highlight results relevant to user searches.

Meta descriptions use phrases and keywords that connect with the user. Before we show you some of the best tips for creating meta descriptions, let’s look at some general information about meta descriptions.

How long should the meta description be?

There are no hard rules on the length of meta descriptions, as there is no length limit.

Google said in 2017 that it displays up to 320 characters in the SERP. However, in 2018, the length was reduced to 155 claiming:

Our search snippets are now shorter on average than in recent weeks, although a little longer than before the change made last December. There is no fixed length for snippets. The length varies depending on what our systems consider most useful. — Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) May 14, 2018

At SEOptimer we indicate that a good length is between 70 and 320 characters, depending on the needs of each page. However, a number between 100 and 140 characters is appropriate. The most important thing to remember is that the length of the snippets is dynamic, varies depending on the results and usually adapts to the width of the device used.

Why Google cares about meta descriptions

Google prefers to display meta descriptions if they lead users to good results faster and reduce the bounce rate. Along with meta descriptions, structured data is also preferred.

This is what they said about structured data (SD)

“There is no generic ranking push for SD use. This is the same as far as I remember. However, structured data can make it easier to understand what the page is about, which can make it easier to show where it is relevant (improves targeting, perhaps ranking for the right terms).”

Google’s Gary Illyes mentioned the following from SMX East Regarding structured data:

For now I will say that the pattern is important. We look a lot at what’s in structured data, and I think if we recommended it, it would probably be put to good use.
The schema in general helps us understand the content of the page, and by using it in our search functions, we help users find what they’re looking for.

A good meta description should show all the necessary information for both users and search engines. It’s about including all data about the content and providing structures so that search engines can quickly provide the best search results to users.

Guidelines for meta description

Whether you have a responsive design, a dynamic service, or a separate domain for mobile devices, the meta description should be used for both desktop and mobile devices. If your mobile site is on a separate subdomain, you can create specific meta descriptions for your mobile users. For everyone else, it is recommended to create the meta description and test it on a mobile device to see if all the characters appear or if search engines have added their own snippet to your description.

Here are some best practices to use when creating meta descriptions that will help you create high-quality meta descriptions that search engines and search engines want to see:

<meta name="description" content="Autor: A.N. Autor,
Ilustrador: P. Imagen, Categoría: Libros, Precio: 17.99$,
Extensión: 784 páginas">

  • While manually written descriptions are the best option, if it’s a large site, you can use a meta generator. Make sure the generator is designed to be readable and relevant (as mentioned above). Avoid using keyword generators and implement more objective information about the page.
  • Don’t copy and paste the first paragraph of your blog or news post. Most CMS or plugins will automatically add the first characters in the meta description tag; we recommend disabling it to help you identify them.
    • The meta description isn’t displayed for your audience to see on the actual pages of your site, but it definitely appears in search results. It is placed prominently with the title, to improve click-through rate and ranking.

We hope these guidelines help you create effective meta descriptions that help both users and search engines identify your pages.

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