Meta description - what it is and how it can help you in increasing traffic 

Co to jest opis meta?

Do you know what a meta description is, and what role it plays for your website? Would you like to learn how to write great meta descriptions according to search engine guidelines, but don't have time to learn SEO? You don't have to be an expert to position yours effectively. By creating a catchy title and a compelling meta description, you'll quickly have a chance to score a spot on the first page of Google search results. Where to start?

What does the meta description look like?

A meta description is an element that helps identify your website and your content in search engines. In other words, it is a summary of the content on your website. The content of the meta description is displayed in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP), to which the user is redirected after entering a specific query. You can locate it under the meta title and URL. Here is an example:

Title tags (the title of the website) are marked in blue. Just below it is the meta description. 

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Meta description and meta title - what is the difference?

Be sure not to confuse the meta description with the meta title. The meta title is a heading in the results list that appears in the search engines, just above the description. The meta title is the first thing that catches the user's attention before entering the website. Contrary to the meta description, the meta title is treated as a ranking factor. Its length and content affect your position in the search engine.

On the other hand, the meta description is smaller in terms of pixels, although it has more text (which is an extension of the title). Despite not being a ranking factor - the meta description and the meta title form a coherent whole and can become part of the positioning strategy. Properly written encourages users to enter the site.

What is the meta description for?

The meta description is a short, text-based business card of the website. First of all, it should catch the user's attention and encourage him to visit the website. If the user reads an informative, clear and interesting description, they will feel encouraged to act and the possibility of them visiting the site will increase.

  • encourages the user to enter the site,
  • is short and concise, 
  • clearly communicates the value (profit) that the visitor will gain, after entering the site,
  • contains keywords,
  • contains the so-called “Power words” (words that influence emotions and strengthen the message)

How to check meta description?

You can check the meta description on each page. All you have to do is right-click and choose one of the two options: "View Page Source" or "Investigate". Usually, the meta description should be somewhere at the beginning of the page code. Here's what it might look like:

Meta description - length, number of characters and pixels

In the case of the meta description and meta title, it is not the number of characters that matters, but their maximum width. This is because if the meta description exceeds 600 pixels wide, the search engine will automatically shorten it, making it look unprofessional. It's important to know that not every character has the same width, e.g. the letters W and M are wider than the letter I.

For this reason, always check how many pixels your meta description has. Ideally, your meta description should consist of 1-2 sentences with a maximum width of 600 pixels. When it comes to characters, SEO specialists suggest not to exceed 155 characters, including spaces. This number gives you a safe margin, ensuring that you don't exceed the max. 600 px wide.

Remember - always check if your meta description is displayed correctly on computers and mobile devices. 

Does the meta description affect positioning? 

No. At least not directly. Since changing the Google algorithm a few years ago, the meta description doesn't affect positioning. For this reason, some people think that it is unnecessary and that it is not worth creating. This isn't the correct approach. Even if meta description doesn't directly affect positioning, it still cannot be underestimated.

What is actually affected by the meta description?

The meta description has a real impact on increasing CTR ( Click Through Rate). An effective meta description summarizes the content of the page, which helps the person viewing the search engine results decide whether they want to look at a particular page or should head elsewhere.

The meta description along with the meta title play a huge role in attracting the attention of your audience. It is thanks to their uniqueness and valuable content that the user will choose your website among many others. The meta description not only encourages users to visit the website, but also tells them what's on it. These are good enough reasons to make sure your meta descriptions are correct.

Remember - the website does not have to be immediately ranked high in the search engine to be very well perceived by visitors. If your site becomes popular, search engine algorithms will also determine it as valuable over time. So, an effective meta description can make a big difference to your website's visibility in search results. 

What happens if you ignore the meta description?

If you don't put your meta description on the page, create it too short or not matching the content of the page, search engines such as Google will generate the description on their own by downloading random content from your page. 

 

Why is it better to avoid it? The search engine, when selecting the meta description itself, selects it mostly based on keywords. As a result, the meta description is created from the fragments of the page content that contain these keywords. For this reason, descriptions created by search engines are rarely able to convey the true value of a page. Not to mention the fact that they often don't make much sense. So you need to be aware that by resigning from adding a meta description, you lose the chance to improve the visibility of your website in the search results.

Google and other search engines don’t show the meta description I created. How to fix it?

It may happen that even though you have created a meta description for a specific page, the search engine will not show it. Instead, it will present users with the extracted text from the page.

Why is this happening? The search engine works to show users the content that best responds to their queries entered into the search engine. For this reason, the search engine may sometimes find that the meta description you are suggesting doesn't respond well enough. There is also a possibility that you focused so much on the promotion itself, e.g. your products, that the meta description no longer reflects the actual content of the page. Another option is an overly generic meta description. Sometimes, simply due to lack of time (or willingness), people either copy the meta description from different content or use the same pattern, only slightly changing it. Then the search engine may conclude that its description will be more valuable for the recipient.

Can it be changed? Yes and no. There is no way to completely block Google from changing your meta description. However, you can try to minimize the probability of such a situation. In this case, you need to better match the meta description to the query you want to answer. The better you manage to align the meta description with a given query,

Remember - make sure that Google is not showing your meta description due to technical problems. Check for errors in the page code. Also, check if the page that doesn't have your description has been indexed by Google. You can do this in Google Search Console

Always be up to date with changes in algorithms

This is a principle worth applying not only to meta descriptions. Always try to be up to date with any changes taking place in the algorithms of Google and other search engines. Thanks to this, you will know and understand why suddenly the results of your website can change noticeably and you will react to it quickly!

Meta description - summary 

Let's summarize what you should remember about meta descriptions from this article: 

  • The meta description is an integral part of the result of any search result (search snippets) and is also found in the page code; 
  • It is an extension of the page title ( meta title);
  • It is a concise and unique description of the content of a given site;
  • The description meta length should not exceed 600 pixels or 155 characters with spaces;
  • Properly formulated, it should encourage users to enter the website;
  • The meta description doesn't affect your SEO or search ranking, but it does matter to users - so it should look great.

A well-written meta description is an important aspect in increasing your website traffic and it's CTR (Click-Through-Rate). Make sure you never underestimate it and keep it unique. The meta description is a determinant of the value of the website for users. It is on this basis that they decide to read its content. Therefore, create meta descriptions according to our tips and increase your visibility on the web! 

Do you want to create meta descriptions that will attract huge traffic to your website?

Below you will find a free instruction on how to create error-free meta  descriptions!

Download instruction!

Want to know how to easily attract more traffic to your website? Read:

Karol Andruszków
CEO BOWWE

Karol is a serial entrepreneur and founder of 3 startups, as part of which he has advised several hundred companies. He was also responsible for projects of the largest financial institutions in Europe, worth over EUR 50 million. He has two master's degrees, one in computer science and the other in management, obtained during his studies in Poland and Portugal. He gained experience in Silicon Valley and while running companies in many countries, including Poland, Portugal, the United States, and Great Britain. For over ten years, he has been helping startups, financial institutions,  small and medium-sized enterprises to improve their functioning through digitization. 

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