You should know that every individual post and page needs to contain a unique title, but what about descriptions?
The description of these pages should also be unique and accurately describe the content of that post or page.
It’s whats known as a meta description.
A short, accurate summary or overview of the content on that specific page.
The meta description should be limited to 140 characters, including spaces.
It shouldn’t be stuffed with repetitive keywords.
It should be different than what you have used on other pages/posts.
High quality descriptions are displayed in the search results pages (SERPS) and can improve the click through rate from searchers to your website.
This also improves the quality and amount of targeted traffic to your site which has many benefits:
- Increase new subscribers to your blog
- Increase social media followers
- Provide your visitors with useful and accurate information
- Which will increase time on site and page views
- Result in a good experience for the searcher
- Increase sales & gain new clients
You can check Google Webmaster Tools HTML Improvements to see if you have any meta descriptions that may need improving.
Another tool which is very useful to test what your meta descriptions look like in the search engines results is a plugin named WordPress SEO by Yoast.
Here’s an example of what the meta description snippet looks like when you preview it before publishing.
Good Meta Description
Highly accurate description which doesn’t repeat keywords and is just short of the maximum length.
Bad Meta Description
Contains multiple use of the same keywords, know as keyword stuffing and is far too long.
It’s clear that a catchy meta description will also increase CTR to your domains web pages as long as you can backup what you’re written in your main content area.
Always unique and accurately describe the content of the page.
Meta Description Best Practices
Get No.1 on Google With These Awesome SEO Tips
Also make sure you don’t add your site description to the start or end of your titles.
This will add duplicate keywords and the same description on all your titles.
You can add your site name but adding the description as well will only confuse your readers.
Best Practices for Creating Meta Descriptions & Titles – WP Sites
Best Practices for Creating Meta Descriptions & Titles – WP Sites Solutions for WordPress Sites
The search engines also need to know exactly what content is contained within your posts and pages.
Need to remove or change duplicate titles?
Here’s a post on how to fix duplicate title tags.
James Kirk says
Very nice write up on a singularly focused–and incredibly important topic. And kudos to you for sharing how to use Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin. A lot of folks get intimidated when they see a plugin like that one and the wide range of things it actually does.
When it comes to setting up one’s site with proper SEO, just out of the box WordPress SEO will help take care of the vast majority of folks needs.
It might be important to note to your readers that the functionality you’re referring to in this post (very cool stuff, no?!) will be observed on the new post/page edit pages in their WordPress admin areas. When a person is actually in the process of creating their new content, the SERP preview–and bunches of other cool, helpful tools–are right there on the edit page.
Thanks for the quality content, Brad. It even helps an old, WP fogie like myself to see the good stuff being passed around!
Brad Dalton says
Thanks for the comment.
I think this will save heaps of time for beginners that may not know about search engine snippets and unique content.
NO point in trying to get everyone to click thru to your site if your content isn’t exactly what they need because they won’t stay very long.
I’ve also added a snippet of this post here.
Pretty basic stuff but really important if you don’t have experience and understand for long it could take you to go back and fix them if needed in the future.