Fixing Metadata Issues: Meta Descriptions

The meta description is a short summary description of what can be found on a webpage. It appears on the search page beneath the title of the page. There should be a unique description for every page on your website, and it should capture the main idea of the page and give searchers an overview of the kind of content they will find if they click on the link to the page in search results.

NOTE: All major search engines say that the meta description does not factor into the algorithm used to determine page rank - but it is very important to have this description, and to use keywords in the description because searchers will use this information to decide which search result to click on, and those clicks do factor into the page rank algorithm.

Tips for Writing Meta Descriptions

  • Write between 120-155 characters - descriptions that are too long will be truncated with … in search results, which will waste your brilliant words. You can use a character counter to check the length.

  • Include the keyword for the page, or at least the main idea so searchers can see what the page is about.

  • Try to make your description match the voice of the website you are writing for. Remember, this will be the first impression of your website for most searchers, so make sure it’s a good impression.

Adding Meta Descriptions to WordPress

Using Yoast SEO plugin makes it easy to add meta descriptions to your pages. To add the descriptions:

  1. First open the page editor of the page you want to add the description to. 

  2. Scroll down until you see the Yoast content box on the page. This box shows a preview of the webpage in search results and allows you to edit the keyword or phrase, title, slug, and description for the page.

  3. Paste your description in the box provided for meta description, and check to make sure it looks good in the preview.

  4. Click the blue UPDATE button in the top right corner of the page editor to save your work and apply changes to the live webpage (new pages will have a button that says PUBLISH).

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