Meta descriptions are essential to your SEO, but not every page needs them. Here are some guidelines that can help you decide when to write meta descriptions and when you shouldn’t.
When to write meta descriptions?
You should write a meta description if you are using one of the following:
- A third-party widget (e.g., Sumo, Taboola)
- A product page (or landing page) that includes multiple products or items in a single listing. For example, suppose you sell various yoga mats on your website. In that case, you may want to include specific details about each mat’s benefits and features in the meta description. Or, say you’re selling leather jackets with different features and colors; this is another situation where it makes sense to include more than just the basics.
- A blog post or email template containing multiple sections or subsections. For example, an article explaining how to get started with content marketing- might have several sections offering tips for beginners and more advanced users who want to learn more about SEO and keyword research techniques. In such cases, the goal is usually not just to inform readers but also to convince them that reading further will be worthwhile for them (and therefore for us!).
When should you *not* write a meta description?
While they are very important, it is important to know when to write meta descriptions, and when not. You should skip them for the following pages:
- Pages that have no content. Don’t bother with a meta description if a page has no content and is meant to be found on Google.
- Landing pages or contact forms. Landing pages and contact forms can have an extremely high bounce rate, so it’s better not to waste your time trying to optimize for them in this way—you will rarely get any clicks from them anyways!
- Blog posts that are not optimized for search engines (or using very basic SEO). You may want to include the post’s title in its description (especially if it is long), but leave it at that! The same goes for product pages; they’re difficult enough without adding extra steps into their creative process by including a meta description.
Meta descriptions are essential to your SEO, but not every page needs them!
Meta descriptions are an essential part of your SEO. However, not every page needs them.
Meta descriptions are not necessary for every page. If you have eCommerce pages with product descriptions, don’t include a meta description on those pages—using a meta description won’t be helpful for users and can even mislead them into thinking the content is about something else entirely! Instead, use title tags that accurately describe the content to help search engines understand what this page is all about.
Meta descriptions should be short and relevant to the page they appear on. Keep them around 100 characters, so they fit in the Google results card (which is what most people see). Since most people don’t read past that point, it’s best if your meta description keeps things short and sweet.
Meta descriptions should be written for humans, not search engines. Write them as if someone were reading a book or magazine article about the topic rather than using keywords or phrases that will appeal only to robots looking for relevance factors like keyword density and punctuation errors.
Meta descriptions are an essential part of your SEO. But, like any other part of your website, they should be used wisely and only where needed. If you’re not sure when to write meta descriptions on a page, consider these factors:
Is this page a landing page? Does it have a clear call to action or “product description” to be communicated clearly for users to decide what links they click? Then yes—write meta descriptions! Are you trying to rank for highly competitive terms with limited search volume? Avoid using meta descriptions because they won’t help much with ranking anyway. Do all the above apply but still feel unsure? Then stick with not writing meta descriptions until further research proves their necessity or lack thereof.