How to Add Meta Descriptions in WordPress?

Bruno Mircevski

Web Hosting Expert ··WordPress

How to Add Meta Descriptions in WordPress?

There are many elements that affect a website's performance, visibility, and overall online presence. One such element is meta descriptions. In recent years, writing meta descriptions has become an art in itself, allowing people to find out what your website or article is all about from a single sentence!

And seeing as about 43% of visitors click on a website solely because of the meta description, it is no surprise that they have become essential for all websites. So, let's see what they're about!

What Are Meta Descriptions


A meta description is the text displayed under the title of your website or post in search engine results. It is the first thing visitors see and the first encounter they have with your website. Meta descriptions are a chance to grab a visitor's attention and persuade them to click on your website and not the competition's.

What Are Meta Descriptions

Why Are Meta Descriptions Important


What makes meta descriptions important is their ability to draw visitors' attention to your site out of the massive pool of other results. They can also help you improve the organic traffic your website receives and help attract customers that are already interested and are part of your niche. Additionally, they help with boosting the organic search visibility of your website.

When users want to find the product or service they need or the blog they want to read, they type in specific keywords that are associated with what they're looking for. So, it's essential to match your meta descriptions with relevant keywords without overusing them, of course.

What Is a Meta Description Used For


Meta description for SEO

While meta descriptions do not technically impact your SEO ranking, it is still advised by search engines like Google to include unique meta descriptions for each page on your website. The keywords are what is essential for SEO, so using the correct ones in your content is vital.

Meta description for SEO

As mentioned, meta descriptions are used to inform the visitor about the content of your website or blog. They're basically a summary of what the visitor will encounter on your page. And as such, they are used by website owners as a way to introduce themselves to potential visitors and persuade them to visit their websites.

So, even if they don't impact your SEO directly, they do impact your CTR or click-through rate. The CTR is the ratio that shows the number of people who click on your page in relation to the number of people who see it overall. Websites with meta descriptions get 5.8% more clicks or visitors than those without meta descriptions.

Search engines sometimes generate snippets for websites that do not have meta descriptions. However, these snippets may not adequately communicate what your website and content are about to the customer. So, by writing your own unique meta descriptions, you are in control of what people will see when your site shows up in the search results. However, keep in mind that Google doesn't always use the original meta description and adds text to the meta description tag in 15.4% of cases. The original meta description tag is used in 55% of cases.

Tips for Writing Meta Descriptions


  • Originality – Make your meta descriptions unique and describe the specific content that your page has. Otherwise, you and another similar website will have a similar description which will not distinguish you in the eyes of customers, making it less likely for them to click on your site.

  • Length – Although Google doesn't have a limit on meta description length, it usually displays 160 to 320 characters in the search results. However, shorter meta descriptions are recommended, and the optimal length is 155 to 160 characters. Also, make sure to include the most relevant part of your meta description in the first 120 characters because Google may truncate it, which will affect the way it's displayed to customers.

  • Keywords – Are the words and phrases that visitors type in search engines to find what they're looking for. Search engines use them to match visitors' searches to relevant results. Using the appropriate keywords in your meta description ensures that your content is displayed to an adequate audience that wants to consume what you offer. It also helps you boost your ranking for those keywords, which can increase your visibility in search results. When writing your meta description, focus on using one or two phrases so that your meta description is not too long and oversaturated with keywords. You can use one or two long-tail keywords, which are specific and longer phrases that directly apply to your content and will attract visitors that are looking for your specific product or service. For example, you can use "buy cheap shared hosting" if that's what you're offering. Also, long-tail keywords have higher CTR than regular keywords by 3-5%, so they are pretty beneficial.

  • Clarity and ease of perception – You should use an active voice when writing your meta description and entice visitors to take action and click on your site. Make it fun, simple, easy to understand, and not cliché. Most importantly, though, make sure that it conveys what you offer in a clear and straightforward manner so that visitors know what to expect from your content.

  • Not misleading – No customer wants to waste their time on a website that promised one thing but delivered another. It will cause them not to trust you and not return to your site, affecting your bounce rate. The bounce rate showcases how many visitors only look at one page of your site and leave without viewing a second one. The higher the bounce rate is, the more common this is among visitors. Also, Google may penalize you if it finds out that you use meta descriptions to trick visitors into clicking on your content.

  • CTA – Or call-to-action refers to designs and messages that prompt and tell people to do something in order provoke a response. CTAs are phrases or words you can include in your meta description to motivate people to take action and click. They include phrases like "Learn more," "Find out more," "Join us," etc.

  • No double quotation marks - When double quotation marks are being used in the meta description HTML, Google interprets them as signals to truncate the description at that point. The rest of the content is immediately taken off the SERP or Search Engine Result Page snippet, which means that your meta description will not be shown as initially intended. To avoid this, make sure that you don't use any non-alphanumeric characters and stick to words and numbers.

  • Tone - The tone and style of your site should be reflected in your meta descriptions. A strong meta description has to match the tone of your content, regardless of whether it's instructive and professional or casual and entertaining.

Adding Meta Description to WordPress Step by Step


With the Yoast plugin

To begin, download the Yoast SEO plugin. You may find it in your Dashboard's "Plugins" tab by searching for "Yoast SEO."

Adding Meta Description using Yoast Plugin

After the plugin has been installed, it must be activated.

Next, go to "Pages" and then "All Pages" or "Posts" and then "All Posts," depending on what you need to add a meta description to. Choose the one you need, click "Edit," and go to the bottom of your screen to find the Yoast plugin.

Yoast Plugin Dashboard

After clicking on the Yoast plugin, click the "Google Preview" drop-down section.

Yoast SEO Google Preview

There, you'll see the "Meta description" box where you type in your meta description.

Yoast Meta Tag

Click on the "Edit Snippet" icon and type in your meta description. Once you're done, save the changes and the post or page you edited. You can also use the "Insert snippet variable" option, where you insert meta tags that will automatically generate the meta description for you. Note that this may not be a good description and search engines are likely to replace those meta descriptions with their own versions.

Lastly, you can scroll back to the "Google Preview" icon to see what your meta description looks like on Google.

Google Preview Yoast

With the AIOSEO plugin

The first step is installing and activating the AIOSEO or All in One SEO plugin. Set it up by following the instructions that will be given, and click "Finish Setup and Go to the Dashboard." This will redirect you to your Dashboard.

Adding Meta Description Using AIOSEO plugin

Once you open the plugin in your WordPress dashboard, you need to enable the meta keywords feature by going to "All in One SEO" and then clicking on "Search Appearance" and selecting the "Advanced" option.

AIOSEO plugin

After enabling the meta keywords features, another list of options will appear where you can choose to have keywords automatically or dynamically generated based on the post's tags and categories. Of course, you can always opt to do it manually.

AIOSEO plugin Setting

After you set everything up and select the options you want, click the "Save Changes" button at the bottom of the page.

Next, you need to find the post or page you want to add a meta description to by going to "Pages" and then "All Pages" or "Posts" and then "All Posts."

AIOSEO plugin Setting

Click the "Edit" button and find and open the AIOSEO plugin. Click the "AIOSEO Settings" button. Here, you will see an automatically generated title and description preview and the "Meta Description" box where you type in the meta description. AIOSEO shows you how many characters you've used.

AIOSEO plugin Preview

The preview of how your meta description will appear changes automatically as you type it in. Once you're satisfied with the meta description, save or publish the post to save the changes you've made.

Without using a plugin

First, you'll need to open the header.php file in WordPress by using "File Manager" or an SFTP client, like WinSCP.

Add Meta Description Without using a plugin

After opening the file, check for the tag. Within those tags, you should put your meta data. Next, copy and paste the generic keyword meta tag below into the opening< head> tag:

Then copy and paste this generic description meta tag under the previous line:

Once you've done this, you can put in your own keywords and meta description by replacing the placeholders. Both should be optimized for your website's overall content.

Summary


Meta descriptions are essential for all websites. They help attract visitors' attention and entice them to click on your content. They serve as short descriptions of what the visitor will find by clicking on your page or post.

There are multiple ways to add meta descriptions in WordPress, both with plugins and without. Regardless of the option you choose, make sure to have a short, unique, and enticing meta description that describes the specific content of each page and post you have.

Frequently Asked Questions


Why choose WordPress hosting?

WordPress is so popular because it allows people to create websites with total customization. With hundreds of apps available for one-click installations, creating something that’s eye-catching and unique is much easier with a CMS like WordPress .

How web hosting can affect SEO?

If you choose a web hosting company that isn’t that good, your site will load more slowly for visitors. Besides providing a bad user experience for your visitors, search engines also penalize slow sites, which makes your rankings in results go down.

Are WordPress plugins free?

WordPress has loads of plugins you can install, some of them are free, but some of them you will need to pay for.

Why choose Verpex for WordPress?

As the leading CMS out there, we’ve made it our mission to offer the most comprehensive and streamlined WordPress solutions on the market. Backed by a responsive customer care team and reliable site enhancement tools, we ensure our users get the full WordPress value and support for a reasonable price.

Bruno Mircevski
About the Author
Bruno Mircevski

Bruno Mircevski is a web hosting services expert. He has spent years researching the niche, exploring the most diverse aspects of Shared, VPS, WordPress, Cloud Hosting, Dedicated Servers, Resellers, etc. With his extensive knowledge and experience, he can grant you meaningful insights on our blog, whether you are a beginner or a hosting pro.

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