How to use meta descriptions effectively

You know how use meta descriptions to increase the number of visitors to your site? First, do you know what meta descriptions are?

What are meta descriptions

Meta descriptions are the paragraph below the title of your page when it appears in the search engine results. If you learn how to use meta descriptions and write effective ones, they will have great potential to attract users’ attention by increasing the number of clicks to your site.

Today I present to you some of the main characteristics of this important element of your pages.


How to use Meta Description effectively

In 2009, Google announced that meta descriptions are not one of the factors in the popular algorithm used to determine page rankings. Nonetheless, they certainly have great value for users . It is therefore important to take care of them in detail.

These are Google’s suggestions:

  • make sure every page on your site has a meta description
  • use a unique meta description for each article
  • include facts and useful information for users. For example, if you are working on the meta description of a product page, enter some key technical characteristics
  • where appropriate, you can use tools to generate meta descriptions automatically

Effective content

If you want learn how to use meta descriptions, it is vital that you understand the importance of their content. Essentially, they function as a showcase of your pages. They allow you to present what you talk about on your site and entice the user to visit it.

Think of the meta description as a kind of “free advertisement” on Google. Since you have limited space, a specific topic and keywords to focus on, how do you grab users’ attention?

Use a description to convey a practical message, using an active tone. Include a call-to-action to push the user to action. After describing the user benefit or topic of the page, use strong expressions like “learn”, “find out more”, “buy now”, “try for free”.

You can be creative or funny, the important thing is that the meta description remains relevant to the content offered on the page. Google will detect if the meta descriptions used are clickbait, which do not represent the content but are only designed to attract clicks.

Also, pay attention to the use of keywords . While Google doesn’t use meta descriptions as a ranking factor, keywords in them that match the user’s search automatically appear in bold. So make sure you include your keyword in the meta description as well; if you use WordPress, the YOAST SEO  plugin can undoubtedly help you.


This is a fundamental aspect to consider on how to use meta descriptions. In theory, meta descriptions can be of any length. However, those over 160 characters are generally truncated by search engines. I therefore recommend not to exceed this length.

Don’t use quotes

Meta descriptions with quotation marks will not appear on the Google results page. As a general rule, it is best not to use symbols or numbers in this field.

Remember that your meta descriptions won’t always appear

This is an important point: Meta descriptions do not automatically appear every time they are present on the page. Google’s choice of whether to make them appear or not is completely arbitrary. The search engine could in fact replace what you wrote with a short excerpt of your page that is most appropriate.

For example, imagine you have a page where you describe many different products. In this case, if Google finds the keyword searched by the user among your content, it will probably automatically extract the paragraph around that keyword. In cases like this, Google’s choice will be the most appropriate and will help you attract traffic.

When you don’t need to add a meta description

While adding a meta description can help you get visitors to choose your site from search engine results, there are times when it’s best to omit it.

If the page in question targets long and complex keywords or key phrases, or if the page is optimized for more than 3 keywords, it might be better to let the search engine populate the description to show. In this way, the most relevant content for the specific search will be shown. Those who compiled the meta description may have instead focused on different content, less relevant to the user’s search.

Before deciding whether to omit the meta description, there is another factor to consider. When the site does not use the open graph , social networks use the meta description as a description of the shared links. In its absence, social media could extract the first text they detect, which may not make sense to users who don’t know the context.


Now that you have learned what they are and how to use meta descriptions, start writing them for your pages! As you have seen, they are an element not to be overlooked. So get to work immediately to make those on your site effective. To learn about other techniques that can help you optimize your website.

And you? Do you already write meta descriptions for your pages?

Do you know if they appear in the search engine results or not?


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