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What is a meta description?


A meta description used to be very important to improve the SEO of a web page. Previously, it was not possible for Google to read websites properly. Therefore, it was not always immediately clear which information could be found on a page. With the help of a meta description, the author was able to explain to both the search engine and the reader what to expect. This text is usually displayed below the links in the search results. It contains a short description of the content of the entire page. In this way, it is clear to the searcher which page is the most relevant for the search query. But what exactly is meta description? What requirements does it have to meet? And how important is this description in the field of search engine marketing? 

Definition meta description 

In the past, it was quite normal to also see a meta description with the link. This was necessary because Google found it difficult to read and display the information itself. With a meta description you helped to formulate the relevance of the webpage and it was easier to obtain a higher position in the search results. And not only that. A catchy text could also lead to visitors clicking on the link more quickly. 

Nowadays, Google is better able to read the text and the meta description is certainly not always used anymore. Do you do this? Then there are a few things to take into account. Relevance plays a major role. Google's algorithm checks whether the meta description has been formulated correctly. Is it missing relevance? Then this will be punished with a penalty and a completely different part of the text will be displayed. 

There are a few guidelines a meta description must adhere to: 

  • The text may not be too long. Maximum 155 characters. Otherwise, the text will be broken off halfway through.
  • Provide a call to action so that you enthuse the reader to press on.
  • Do not write 'clickbait'. Only use information that actually corresponds to the page in question.
  • Write a separate meta description for each web page. 

Is a meta description still important? 

Over the years, the importance of a good meta description for SEO has decreased. The search engine itself is capable of testing the text for relevance. As a result, the value of the meta description for the search engine itself has decreased. Nevertheless, it is still wise to write one. Not so much for the search engine, but more for the readers. By writing an attractive message, you can easily make sure that readers become interested and click on the link more quickly. The description does not directly influence the position within the search engines, but it can lead to much more traffic. 

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