What are meta descriptions?

The meta description is an HTML element and attributes placed inside the header of your website to describe the page. Search engines such as Google use these to describe your page to their users.

The code looks like this:

<meta name=”description” content”the meta descriptions of the page goes in this attribute here” />

Typically you will want to reflect your page’s purpose in the description accurately. This approach avoids misleading the user and sets their expectation.

meta descriptions from google search for asda.com

How can I check my Meta Descriptions?

To check your meta description, you can view the source code of each page. If you’re using Chrome then you can use the following shortcuts:

  • Ctrl + U for Windows
  • CMD + shift + U for Macintosh

This technique will help you to see the source code. Then you will need to search for name=”description” in the text. The value inside the content attribute is your page’s meta description.

Other tools exist that allow you to check multiple pages. For example, using Screaming Frog, you can check the meta descriptions for all your pages with ease.

Filtering Meta Descriptions in Screaming Frog

How can I improve my Meta Descriptions?

To improve your meta descriptions, you will need to consider the following questions:

  • How long are the descriptions in the search engine?
  • Have I clearly explained the purpose for each page?
  • Did I include the important words my page includes?

An example of this would be Google’s search result pages. The meta description usually is less than 156 characters. Make use of this length to describe your page appropriately.

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