When optimizing your website, you need to take the time to optimize all the elements that show up on SERPs, including your pages’ meta descriptions. Pretty much all your pages should have a meta description, and you should make sure you’re doing it right.
Keep reading as we’ll explain some common meta description errors you should avoid or learn how to fix to boost your click-through rates, drive more organic traffic, and improve your conversions.
Missing Meta Description
The first error we would like to focus on is the “meta description missing’’ error. This could mean one of two things:
- The meta description tag is missing entirely
- The tag has no content – <meta name=”description” content=””/>
You can easily avoid this issue by creating a distinctive meta description for each page. For each URL, create a unique, well-written meta description that accurately sums up the information on that page and compels the user to click and learn more. If you’re using WordPress, you can add the meta description through the Yoast plug-in.
Duplicate Meta Descriptions
Next up, we have duplicate meta descriptions. This means that multiple pages on your site have identical meta descriptions. While this can be a time-saver, you’re missing out on the opportunity to fully optimize your pages and make the most of your meta descriptions.
If two or more of your pages contain the same meta description, we suggest identifying them and tailoring the description to each page accordingly. Write meta descriptions that clearly explain what your content is about.
Don’t miss out on the benefits of unique descriptions. You can include your focus keywords in these 1-2 sentences and, thus, inform search engines and users what your page is about.
Multiple Meta Descriptions
This error occurs when one of your pages has more than one meta description. When this happens, search engines might show the wrong one in the SERPs, leading to a different outcome than you may have wanted.
Here’s what to do to avoid and fix this issue:
- Check why there are multiple meta descriptions for one page. To determine how many meta descriptions are set, you must look at the page template and/or the plugins used. Change this so that only one meta description is set. You might need a developer’s help with this.
- Decide which meta description is the right one. Make sure that you keep the “correct” description while removing the unnecessary ones – the one you wrote to promote engagement and describe the page’s content.
There you have it. These are the three most common meta description errors that might harm your SEO but are luckily easy to fix and avoid in the future. Focus on writing descriptions that are appropriate for each page and successfully attract visitors to your website.
Meta Description Too Long
Technically, meta descriptions can be any length. However, they’re one of the first things users see when they encounter one of your pages, and there is only so much room for a meta description in the SERPs, especially on mobile devices.
If your description is too long, it’s a wasted opportunity, as Google will truncate or even rewrite it if it exceeds 920 pixels. The general rule of thumb is to keep it around 160 characters for desktop and 120 for mobile. You can use various online tools to check the length and preview your meta descriptions.
Meta Descriptions Too Short
While conciseness is crucial when writing meta descriptions, you should still make the most out of the opportunity to promote your content and engage users to click through.
On top of seeming less trustworthy to users and having them miss out on essential keywords or information you have the chance to provide, search engines might also perceive too short meta descriptions as lacking in substance and quality.
So, keep them brief and straightforward but don’t go overboard.