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Meta description copywriting tips


Meta descriptions hold significant influence on user behavior (e.g. CTR). They summarize content, boosting engagement. Best practices: concise, unique, encourage clicks, consistent language. Avoid repetition, emptiness, aggressive elements. Good meta descriptions can improve user experience and search engine ranking.

What are meta descriptions? #

Meta descriptions qualify as descriptive metadata, providing descriptive information about a Web page. To add a meta description to an HTML document, you need to insert the following meta tag within the document’s <head> section:

<meta name="description" content="Your description goes here">

For HTML web pages, providing a meta description is optional. However, providing meta descriptions is good practice due to their substantial influence on user experience and user behavior (e.g. click-through rate (CTR)).

A well written meta description should provide a brief summary of a what the Web page is about. It is important you construct meta descriptions which help users to quickly grasp what a Web page is about and engages them to visit the Web page.

Where meta descriptions are displayed #

Meta description contents are mostly displayed in external locations, for example in:

In all these locations, the meta description should provide a concise and compelling preview of the page’s content, encouraging users to click and visit the site.

Meta description copywriting best practices #

The meta description of each Web page should:

Provide a brief summary of the Web page #

Provide accurate and concise information to describe the Web page’s content.

<meta name="description" content="Discover the best tips for creating stunning flower arrangements. Our step-by-step guide will help you bring the beauty of nature into your home with ease.">

Be descriptive yet concise #

There is no strict length limit. Avoid excessive verbosity while being sufficiently descriptive in 100 - 160 characters.

<meta name="description" content="Latest breaking news available as free video on demand. Stay informed on European and world news about economy, politics, diplomacy … with Euronews.">

Be unique #

Ensure that each page on your website has a unique meta description to accurately represent the individual content of each page.

<meta name="description" content="Reddit is a network of communities where people can dive into their interests, hobbies and passions. There's a community for whatever you're interested in on Reddit.">

Encourage users to click #

Include a call to action (CTA). It encourages user engagement and Click-Through-Rate (CTR), which can have a positive effect on the ranking of the web page in search engines.

<meta name="description" content="Title tag copywriting tips & best practices. Define page content, aid user engagement, enhance marketing. Including examples. Write better website titles!">

Identify the website #

Optionally state the name of the Website to which the Web page belongs to. Brand concisely. Append branding.

<meta name="description" content="View the latest news and breaking news today for U.S., world, weather, entertainment, politics and health at">

Use a consitent language and writing system #

Use the same language and writing system, meaning the script or alphabet of a specific language, as the main content.

<meta name="description" content="Your daily dose of funny memes, GIFs, videos and weird news stories. We deliver hundreds of new memes daily and much more humor anywhere you go.">

Use HTML enties for quotation marks #

Use escaped quotation marks (e.g. &quot;) to prevent conflicts with HTML attributes and ensure proper rendering of the text.

<meta name="description" content="Best quotes from Pablo Picasso, like &quot;Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.&quot; and others that might inspire you.">

Meta description copywriting bad practices #

The meta description of each Web page should not:

Contain repeated or boilerplate text #

Steer clear of repetitive or boilerplate text, ensuring unique and descriptive meta descriptions for each page on your site.

<meta name="description" content="Welcome to our website. We offer a wide range of products and services. Contact us today to learn more.">

Contain keyword stuffing #

Including some keyword terms in the title can be useful, but refrain from using repetitive words or phrases.

<meta name="description" content="Records, CD’s, vinyl records, cassette tapes, mp3 downloads, streaming, CD records, live streams and more.">

Be empty or half-empty #

Ensure the meta description isn’t empty or missing parts for accurate Web page content description and optimal user engagement.

<meta name="description" content="Summary">

Contain obsolete elements #

When a page consistently displays recurring information, but the meta description lacks the latest date update.

<meta name="description" content="List of meetings & conferences 2017. Discover the top in-person, virtual, and hybrid conferences to attend in 2018.">

Contain aggressive attention-grabbing elements #

Refrain from using Emojis, Special Characters, and similar click-generating elements with the goal to grab user’s attention.

<meta name="description" content="★★★ Best Products, ultra cheap! ★★★ Get our products at the cheapest price with. ▶ Visit our shop now.">

Using unescaped quotation marks #

Be careful when using unescaped quotation characters (e.g. ',"), it might break the correct interpretation of meta description contents.

<meta name="description" content="Best quotes from Pablo Picasso, like "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist." and others that might inspire you.">

FAQ's #

Most common questions and brief, easy-to-understand answers on the topic:

What is an HTML meta description?

An HTML meta description is a brief summary or snippet of text that you provide in the `` tag within the `` section of a web page. It is not visible on the page but appears in search engine results to provide a concise description of the page's content.

Why are meta descriptions important?

Meta descriptions are important because they serve as a preview of a web page's content in e.g. search engine results. A well-crafted meta description can improve click-through rates and help users understand what your page is about.

What is the ideal length for a meta description?

Google typically displays up to 155-160 characters of a meta description in its search results. To ensure that your description doesn't get cut off, it's advisable to keep it between 150-160 characters.

Should I include keywords in my meta description?

Yes, including relevant keywords in your meta description is important. It can improve the chances of your page ranking for those keywords in search results. Make sure the keywords flow naturally and don't overstuff the description.

How can I make my meta description more compelling?

To make your meta description compelling, focus on providing a clear and concise summary of your page's content. Highlight the value or benefits of your page, use action-oriented language, and consider including a call to action (CTA).

Should I write unique meta descriptions for every page on my website?

It's recommended to write unique meta descriptions for each page of your website. Customized descriptions help users and search engines better understand the distinct content of each page.

Can I use special characters and emojis in meta descriptions?

Technically, yes, you can use special characters and emojis in meta descriptions to make them stand out. Emojis may not display consistently across all devices and browsers. Ideally you refrain from using Emojis, special characters, and similar click-generating elements with the sole goal to grab user’s attention. It's bad practice. Keep in mind that some characters may need to be HTML-encoded.

Do meta descriptions directly affect search engine rankings?

As far as search engines allow insight into their algorithms, Meta descriptions themselves don't directly impact search engine rankings. They can influence click-through rates (CTR), which indirectly affects rankings. Higher CTR is said to result in better rankings.

How often should I update my meta descriptions?

You should update meta descriptions when you make significant changes to the content of a page. Regularly reviewing and optimizing them can help improve your website's performance in search results.

Further readings #

Sources and recommended, further resources on the topic:


Jonas Jared Jacek • J15k

Jonas Jared Jacek (J15k)

Jonas works as project manager, web designer and developer since 2001. On top of that, his areas of expertise are in user experience, accessibility, internationalization, and domain names. See:


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