What is a Meta Description? & How to Write Them (+ Examples)

by Sam Driver


Diving into the labyrinth of search engine optimization (SEO)? You’ve probably stumbled upon the term “meta description”, and might be wondering why there’s so much buzz around it. 

Well, this seemingly small element holds an impressive secret power in the content marketing world. 

But what’s the secret, you ask? 

And how can you harness it to boost your online presence? 

Fear not, because we’re about to embark on an exciting journey to decode the art of writing an impactful meta description. 


Let’s begin.

What is a Meta Description?

A meta description is a concise summary of a web page’s content, hidden in the HTML code, yet visible on search engine results pages (SERPs). 

It’s your website’s first handshake with searchers — a 160-character (or less) elevator pitch that summarizes what they can expect when they click. 

This little HTML tag may seem insignificant, but it’s a potent tool in your search engine optimization arsenal.

Why are Meta Descriptions Important?

Meta descriptions may seem like tiny components in the grand scheme of SEO, but they are indeed powerful allies in your digital marketing strategy

Here are a few compelling reasons that highlight their significance…

Increases Organic Click-Through Rates

You might wonder, “Why fuss over this tiny blurb?” Well, meta descriptions are pivotal in influencing click-through rates (CTRs)

Google may not directly factor meta descriptions into its ranking algorithm, but it definitely values the user behavior metric, CTR.

Imagine you’re hunting for a new bookshelf. 

You pop your requirements into Google and scan through the search results. 

You’re more likely to click a result with a meta description that accurately describes what you’re looking for and sounds enticing, right? 

That’s your meta description working its magic.

Acts as Organic Ad Space

Meta descriptions serve as free ad space on the SERPs. 

They’re your opportunity to advertise content to searchers and to let them know precisely why your page is the answer to their search query. 

This little snippet of text is your content’s backstage pass to the Google SERP concert!

Improves User Experience

A well-crafted meta description doesn’t just aid in improving CTRs; it also enhances the user experience. 

By offering a concise and accurate summary of the page content, you’re helping the searcher decide whether or not the page is what they’re looking for. 

This not only saves their time but also reduces the bounce rate on your site.

Strengthens Brand Message & Voice

An often overlooked benefit of meta descriptions is the ability to reinforce your brand’s message and voice

Consistently composed meta descriptions reflecting your brand’s tone can contribute to better brand recognition and trust among searchers.

So, the ‘tiny blurb’ holds a lot more power than you might have imagined. 

It’s a linchpin that holds together several aspects of your SEO efforts, contributing to a strong and effective digital marketing strategy. 

How to Write Compelling Meta Descriptions

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So how do you transform a meta description from ‘meh’ to ‘magnificent’?

Here’s a step-by-step guide on crafting killer meta descriptions…

Step 1: Keep it the Right Length

Remember, meta description length is a crucial consideration. While it’s true that Google won’t penalize you for longer meta descriptions, it will truncate them beyond 160 characters. 

Think of this as your micro-storytelling moment. You have just enough space to create a narrative that will entice your readers to click and learn more.

For example, if you’re writing a meta description for an online plant shop, you might write:

“Discover a world of exotic indoor plants at [YourShop]. Cultivate your indoor jungle with expert advice and fast shipping. Start your green journey now!” 

This description is precise, offers a CTA, and falls within the 160-character limit.

In a nutshell, meta descriptions are like mini-stories or ad pitches. You need to be brief, compelling, and to the point.

And don’t be afraid to get creative — after all, you’re trying to pique the reader’s interest and curiosity!

Step 2: Include Your Target Keyword

Incorporating your target keyword in your meta description is crucial for search engines and searchers. 

It signals to Google and the searcher that your content is relevant to the query. Google also bolds the relevant keyword in the description on the SERP, making your page stand out even more.

For instance, if your keyword is “vegan skincare,” a potential meta description could be: 

“Revitalize your skin with our vegan skincare products. Made with organic, cruelty-free ingredients for glowing, healthy skin. Explore now!” 

Here, the relevant keyword is naturally integrated into the text, making it appealing to search engines and users.

Step 3: Write Unique Meta Descriptions

Google appreciates uniqueness, and that includes meta descriptions. Each web page should have a distinct meta description that accurately reflects its content. 

Just like you wouldn’t wear the same outfit to every event, each of your web pages deserves its own unique “outfit” or meta description.

Take, for instance, an e-commerce website selling a variety of products. The meta description for the page selling running shoes should be different from the one selling winter jackets. 

For the running shoes, you might say:

“Boost your performance with our durable running shoes, designed for speed and comfort. Hit the tracks with confidence. Shop now!” 

Whereas for the winter jackets, you might state:

“Stay warm and stylish this winter with our high-quality jackets. Withstand the chill without compromising on style. Browse our collection!”

Crafting a unique meta description for each page not only helps with search engine visibility but also guides users to the content that most accurately matches their needs.

Step 4: Make it Actionable

"take action"

An actionable meta description is like a call from a trusted friend who says, “Hey, you’ve got to check this out!” 

It inspires action and beckons the reader to click. 

One effective method to ensure actionability is using active voice and verbs that ignite interest, like ‘discover,’ ‘learn,’ or ‘find out.’

For example, “Discover the secrets of successful content marketing” is a compelling way to invite your audience into your content. 

Compared to the passive voice, “The secrets of successful content marketing are revealed here,” the former is more immediate, direct, and engaging.

This writing style directly addresses your target audience, making your content more personal and inviting. 

The power of the active voice is it gives your meta description a sense of immediacy and relevance, making users more likely to click through to your content.

Step 5: Use Engaging & Relevant Language

When it comes to a captivating meta description, it’s essential to align it with your brand’s voice and the actual content on your page. 

Let’s think of your meta description as a movie trailer. 

It should give an exciting glimpse of what’s to come but never mislead your audience.

For instance, if your website or blog post is about meditation techniques, your meta description could be: 

“Uncover peaceful meditation techniques to soothe your mind and soul.” 

This offers a compelling peek into your content while ensuring it aligns with what users find when they click through.

Remember, the relevance between your meta description and content impacts your website’s credibility. 

If your meta description promises an exciting party and only delivers a quiet get-together, users may feel deceived and mistrust your website.

Step 6: Leverage the Power of Structured Data

Structured data is the secret ingredient that makes your meta description stand out on the SERPs. 

It includes elements like star ratings, product pricing, or even recipe cooking time — all of which can enhance your page’s visibility and desirability.

Consider an e-commerce site selling a popular book. 

A meta description that includes the book’s pricing and customer rating stands out more than one without. 

“Dive into the latest thriller, ‘Page Turner.’ Rated 4.9 stars by readers and available at just $9.99.” 

Here, the pricing and ratings act as additional hooks, increasing the likelihood of clicks.

The magic of structured data is it provides useful information at a glance. It doesn’t just advertise your content; it provides immediate value, making it a powerful ally in boosting click-through rates.

Remember, while adding structured data is fantastic, ensure that the data accurately reflects the content on your page. 

Misleading users with incorrect pricing or inflated ratings could harm your site’s reputation and search engine rankings.

Step 7: Speak Directly to Your Audience

social media optimization audience

Remember, your meta description is not just for search engines. It’s also for the people who are seeking the information, products, or services that you offer. So, speak directly to them.

Personalizing your meta description by addressing your audience directly can work wonders. This approach creates a connection and makes your content feel tailor-made for the searcher.

Consider incorporating phrases like “you’ll discover” or “you’ll learn.” This can turn a generic meta description into something far more enticing. For example:

“In our ultimate guide to beginner’s yoga, you’ll discover the poses, techniques, and tips you need to start your journey to wellness.”

Such direct engagement signals to readers that your page is designed to cater to their needs, increasing the likelihood they will click through.

Step 8: Instill a Sense of Urgency

There’s a reason limited-time offers are so effective — they instill a sense of urgency. You can use the same psychology in your meta descriptions to make them even more enticing.

By conveying that your content is timely, exclusive, or in high demand, you encourage readers to click right now, rather than later.

For example, if you’re running a limited-time sale on your e-commerce site, your meta description could be something like:

“Flash Sale! Save 50% on all summer apparel this week only. Don’t miss out — shop now!”

Or, for a blog post about a trending topic, you might write:

“Get the latest insights on the crypto boom — why it’s happening, what it means, and how you can benefit. Stay ahead of the curve — read now!”

Using urgency in your meta description makes it more compelling, as users don’t want to miss out on a beneficial opportunity.

A Last Word on an Effective Meta Description

Well, you’ve done an amazing job sticking with us this far, and now, you’re not just any writer — you’re an SEO-smart, click-attracting whiz! 

With the strategies and examples from this post, you’ll be cranking out a great meta description, making your website the belle of the search engine ball. 

So, go ahead and add that sprinkle of ‘meta description’ magic to your SEO mix!

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Sam Driver

Sam is an Associate Editor for Smart Blogger and family man who loves to write. When he’s not goofing around with his kids, he’s honing his craft to provide lasting value to anyone who cares to listen.


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Photo of author

Written by Sam Driver

Sam is an Associate Editor for Smart Blogger and family man who loves to write. When he’s not goofing around with his kids, he’s honing his craft to provide lasting value to anyone who cares to listen.

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