How to Write Compelling Meta Descriptions
A snippet is the description or summary part of search result on Google Search and other properties. Google uses a number of different sources to automatically determine the appropriate snippet, including descriptive information in the meta description tag for each page. We may also use information found on the page, or create rich results based on markup and content on the page.
Create unique descriptions for each page on your site
Identical or similar descriptions on every page of a site aren’t helpful when individual pages appear in search results. Wherever possible, create descriptions that accurately describe the specific page. Use site-level descriptions on the main home page or other aggregation pages, and use page-level descriptions everywhere else. If you don’t have time to create a description for every single page, try to prioritize your content; at the very least, create a description for the critical URLs like your home page and popular pages.
Include relevant information about the content in the description
The meta description doesn’t just have to be in sentence format; it’s also a great place to include information about the page. For example, news or blog postings can list the author, date of publication, or byline information. This can give potential visitors very relevant information that might not be displayed in the snippet otherwise. Similarly, product pages might have the key bits of information—price, age, manufacturer—scattered throughout a page. A good meta description can bring all this data together.
For example, the following meta description provides detailed information about a book, and information is clearly tagged and separated:
Bad (list of keywords):
<meta name="description" content="Sewing supplies, yarn, colored pencils, sewing machines, threads, bobbins, needles">
Better (explains what the shop sells and details like opening hours and location):
<meta name="description" content="Get everything you need to sew your next garment. Open Monday-Friday 8-5pm, located in the Fashion District.">
Bad (same description used for every news article):
<meta name="description" content="Local news in Whoville, delivered to your doorstep. Find out what happened today.">
Better (uses a snippet from the specific news article):
<meta name="description" content="Upsetting the small town of Whoville, a local elderly man steals everyone's presents the night before an important event. Stay tuned for live updates on the matter.">
Bad (doesn’t summarize the page):
<meta name="description" content="Eggs are a source of joy in everyone's life. When I was a small child, I remember picking eggs from the hen house and bringing them to the kitchen. Those were the days.">
Better (summarizes the whole page):
<meta name="description" content="Learn how to cook eggs with this complete guide in 1 hour or less. We cover all the methods, including: over-easy, sunny side up, boiled, and poached.">
Bad (too short):
<meta name="description" content="Mechanical pencil">
Better (specific and detailed):
<meta name="description" content="Self-sharpening mechanical pencil that autocorrects your penmanship. Includes 2B auto-replenishing lead. Available in both Vintage Pink and Schoolbus Yellow. Order 50+ pencils, get free shipping.">
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