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Optimizing Your Meta Descriptions: Pro Tips for SEO Success

What is a meta description?

When you search for something on Google, you see something like this:

Screenshot showing examples of a meta description

The elements that we highlighted in red are all meta descriptions.

Meta descriptions also might appear when you share a link on a social network like Facebook or others:

Screenshot showing an example of a meta description on Facebook

Code-wise, a meta description looks like this:


<meta name="description" content="The desired meta description"/>


Screenshot of meta description code

Why are meta descriptions important?

Although it's taken into consideration, Google doesn't use meta descriptions for rankings. Meta descriptions still have importance - they impact CTR (click-through rate).

When people search for "computer laptops best price dell", they will tend to click on the most attractive result. Meta descriptions play a big role in this:

What you should do with a meta description?

See some tips from Google on this.

  • When creating the meta description, make it relevant and helpful to people, but also search engine-friendly.
  • The length of a meta description should be between 120 and 160 characters (with spaces).
  • Before creating the meta description, use tools for finding the best keywords to use, such as Google Trends. If you run Google Ads, a more powerful tool is Google's Keyword Planner. Research the market a bit. Also, look on the search engine results pages - search for keywords related to a page and see how others created their meta descriptions (direct or indirect competition). 
  • Meta description should be a summary of the page. It should present the whole page in a nutshell. Consider synthesizing the page in your meta description.
  • In the contents of the meta description, add the brand name. You can use something like "Slicedbread Agency" (brand name), or use the main URL of the website (
  • Consider adding something to make people click on the page - something attractive. It can be a call to action ("Read our blog," "Find out more" etc.), or it can be an advantage of your business ("Free shipping over $50", "Shipping in 2 days," etc.). Try to communicate the benefits of using your brand. Present some value. Consider using emotion.
  • Consider using AI (artificial intelligence) tools to help create meta descriptions. Some examples are ChatGPT and Ahrefs
  • You should try and use an active voice. Use active verbs like "Click", "Visit", "Join", "Learn," etc.
  • If the products are relevant, you can show technical specifications. For example, for a book, you could add the author, translator, or publishing house.
  • Make sure your meta descriptions match the content of the page. You shouldn't have a meta description irrelevant to the page.
  • It's OK to use a description that has been generated automatically based on an algorithm. For example, for books, you could include a template like "[Book Title] - [Author]. Published by: [Publishing House]. Number of pages: [Number]. Price: [Value]".

What should you avoid doing in a meta description?

  • If things change a lot (for example, if you change your prices on the website often), it might look misleading to use in meta descriptions a price that is not 100% reflective of what the real price is (when people search in Google, they see the price that was on the page when Google first indexed the page, they don't see the "live", current price on your website).
  • Avoid special characters like "&", quotes or diacritics whenever possible. Try to use primary characters - digits, letters, and only a few punctuation signs (like commas, periods, semicolons, question marks, and separators such as " - ", " | ", ": ").
  • Don't write the same, identical meta description for different pages. Try to make them different. For example, if we're talking about a category and product referring to the same item, add some keywords to differentiate between the two pages. If you have a category page with multiple pages, use things like "Page 2" to distinguish between one page and the other.
  • Don't do keyword cannibalization - avoid optimizing multiple pages for the exact keywords. Different pages should generally focus on different keywords.
  • If possible, try to show, not tell. So, "We are the best" might be a poorer solution than "We have been voted #1 by...".
  • You should also avoid having no page descriptions at all. At a minimum, use an automated generated meta description by some product characteristics or automatically pull the first 160 characters from the text. We recommend against having no meta description at all.
  • Keyword stuffing - we don't recommend adding a list of keywords, just for SEO purposes. It's a delicate balance between not optimizing at all (no keywords) and optimizing too much (too many keywords). Try to find a balance.
  • Using ALL CAPS or many exclamation points - try not to yell at your users.
  • Don't oversell - don't make false promises, exaggerate claims, etc. Keep it real.

When will Google ignore your meta description?

At times, you might find that Google has ignored what you wrote in a meta description and chose a different text.

If you notice your intended meta description is being changed often, use the above suggestions as a checklist and see if you can adjust accordingly.

As a note, "Google rewrites meta descriptions 62.78% of the time".

See more on this topic (rewriting meta descriptions).

How do you set meta descriptions in Shopify and on WordPress?

You can find a guide for Shopify here and a guide for WordPress here.

Who can help with meta descriptions?

You can always ask Slicedbread Agency to help with SEO services.


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