Meta descriptions play a role in how your website content shows up in search results, potentially increasing your ranking and how often people click on your link. It’s usually the first thing a user sees underneath the page name, making it your selling point and the difference between a click on your post or your competitor’s.

A screenshot of a meta description within search results

Making sure each of your relevant pages have a meta description should be high up on your list of priorities. 

Helpful Terminology

A meta description is a snippet of between 130 to 150 characters that offers a quick summary  of the webpage it belongs to.

Yoast SEO is a search engine optimization (SEO) plugin for WordPress that helps your site follow SEO standards.

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Writing Effective Meta Descriptions

When writing meta descriptions, we have a couple of recommendations to keep in mind. 

  • Make sure to work in words that would likely appear in a search for your page’s content because those are the words Google will bold when your meta description appears. 
  • Avoid copying and pasting meta descriptions from other pages on your site since Google doesn’t like to see duplication. 
  • Keep your snippet to the appropriate length of 130-150 characters. If you go past that amount, Google may cut your description off. 
  • Make sure to write copy that will be easy to understand and get straight to the point.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to write effective meta descriptions, including helpful examples, check out our blog post on 7 Meta Description Best Practices.

How to Add or Edit Meta Descriptions

As you’re writing meta descriptions, keep in mind that this is where you can summarize the information on your page and explain why it’s important or valuable to a potential website visitor. 

Once logged in to the back end of your site, make your way to Pages and select the page you’d like to add your description to. 

Scroll down the page to the Yoast SEO section and click “Edit Snippet” to add or edit your meta description. This will expand the section and allow you to add or edit the meta description as needed.

A screenshot of the Yoast SEO section on a page in the back end of a website, highlighting the Edit Snippet button and the Meta description form field

You’ll notice as you’re tweaking your meta description, the preview will also update, so you can see what it looks like on both mobile and desktop.

Once you’re happy with your changes, make sure to click the blue “Update” button in the top right-hand corner.

Yoast SEO Features

Yoast SEO has several tools that will help you along the way to writing your description. 

  • If you’ve optimized your page for a specific keyword, you’ll want to fill out the “Focus Keyphrase” field. 
  • The SEO Analysis tool highlights both problems and potential improvements in regards to how well you’ve optimized your content. 
  • The Readability Analysis tool will determine how readable your page is by highlighting problem areas, areas for improvement and things that you are doing well. You’ll also be able to see the overall Readability Score on the main Pages page. Your score will be indicated by green (good), yellow (room for improvement) and red (problematic). 

You can read more about these tools and what they do in our support article that covers how to add focus keywords for Search Engine Optimization. We also have a blog post that talks in more detail about how to use the Yoast SEO plugin to get more traffic that might be helpful to check out.

Still Have Questions?

The quickest way to get support is to reach out to us within your website’s admin dashboard. Log into your website and then fill out the Website Support form. You’ll hear back from us within one business day.