How to Write Meta Descriptions for SEO (Boost CTR & Rankings)

Do you want to know how to write meta descriptions for SEO that’ll increase your organic search traffic, CTR (Click-Through-Rate), and rankings on Google?

Research by Ahrefs has shown that 74.98% of the top 10 ranking web pages have a meta description, which means it’s important to optimize yours for SEO. 

In this article, we’ll show you how to easily write meta descriptions for SEO and add them in WordPress. We’ll also cover what a meta description is and why you need it.

Here’s a quick overview of what we’ll cover in this post. Simply click on these quick links to jump straight to different sections:

    Alright, let’s get started by first explaining what a meta description in WordPress is.

    What Is a Meta Description in WordPress?

    A meta description in WordPress is an HTML element or attribute that gives a brief summary of what your web page is about. It gives searchers a sneak peek of your article on search engine results pages (SERPs), hopefully encouraging them to click on your search listing.

    Here’s an example of a meta description on Google for the search query: “best keto recipes”:

    Example of a meta description in Google's search results

    Google and other search engines often show the meta description in their search results. So by writing good, interesting and actionable meta descriptions, you can get more people to click through to your website and increase sales for your business.

    Why Do You Need a Meta Description?

    Meta descriptions won’t directly help you rank, but compelling and actionable meta descriptions will convince more people to click on those links. More clicks mean more traffic, and it can also lead to higher rankings in search engines.

    Additionally, meta descriptions let Google know what your page is about. Even though Google doesn’t always use your meta description and sometimes adds its own based on your content, you should write them in case it does.

    Writing good meta descriptions is especially important for your homepage, product and category pages since they help in establishing your brand. 

    How to Write Meta Descriptions for SEO?

    When it comes to writing meta descriptions for SEO, you should do the following:

    1. Include Your Focus Keyword 
    2. Describe Your Page’s Content 
    3. Include a Call to Action
    4. Make Them Unique and Interesting

    We understand that this can feel like a lot…

    …but depending on the niche you’re active in and the purpose of your site, you should at least try to implement as many of the above as possible to maximize your search traffic, clicks, and rankings.

    Let’s dig in a bit deeper…

    1. Include Your Focus Keyword

    Every meta description should include the focus keyword or keyphrase that you want to rank for. 

    Always start by performing keyword research to find the best keywords for your content that have search volume and will match the search intent.

    Adding your focus keyword is also important because Google highlights search terms by bolding them when they match the user’s search terms. This helps users to notice them more easily. 

    For example, here you can see how Google has highlighted the search terms from the search query: “best SEO plugin for WordPress”:

    Example of how to write meta descriptions and including the keyword.

    As you can see, it only takes a second to scan this meta description to see that it answers the search query, resulting in more clicks and higher rankings.

    2. Describe Your Page’s Content

    A good meta description should describe your page’s content. The recommended character limit is 155-160 characters, so you need to summarize your most important content in about 2 sentences.

    AIOSEO will help you get the right length. It shows how many characters you’ve used and warns if you exceed the max recommended characters for your meta description.

    As easy as 1-2-3!

    3. Include a Call to Action to Increase CTR

    A call to action can prompt searchers not only to click on your link but also to do something once they arrive on your site. For example, call a phone number, sign up for a free trial, or take a special action.

    Here’s an example of MonsterInsights meta description, which lets people know that they can set up Google Analytics for WordPress with just a few clicks: 

    Call to action meta description for the best analytics plugin for WordPress MonsterInsights

    In addition, the stats of 12 million downloads will also work as proof that other website owners are using the plugin and encourage searchers to download it as well.

    4. Be Unique and Interesting

    Many large sites auto-populate their meta descriptions, so the first thing you should do is to make sure they’re unique and interesting.

    Ask yourself this question: Would the meta description spike your interest to want to know more and click on the link? Put yourself in your customer’s shoes.

    Does this sound overwhelming?

    No need to worry because AIOSEO helps you easily write meta descriptions for SEO and add them to your site in a heartbeat, which we’ll show you next.

    Easily Add Your Meta Descriptions in WordPress

    One of the easiest ways to add meta descriptions in WordPress is to use a powerful SEO plugin like All In One SEO (AIOSEO).

    The best WordPress SEO plugin, All in One SEO

    AIOSEO is a powerful yet easy-to-use SEO plugin that has been downloaded over 100 million times. Millions of smart bloggers use AIOSEO to help them boost their search engine rankings and drive qualified traffic to their blogs. That’s because the plugin has many powerful features and modules designed to help you properly configure your SEO settings.

    Examples of the SEO features you get with AIOSEO include:

    • Search Statistics: This powerful Google Search Console integration lets you track your keyword rankings and see important SEO metrics with 1-click, and more.
    • Next-gen Schema generator: This is a no-code schema generator that enables users to generate and output any type of schema markup on your site.
    • Redirection Manager: Helps you manage redirects and eliminate 404 errors, making it easier for search engines to crawl and index your site.
    • Link Assistant: Powerful internal linking tool that automates building links between pages on your site. It also gives you an audit of outbound links.
    • Rich Snippets Schema — add schema markup to your pages and get more clicks and traffic with rich snippets.
    • Local Business SEO — boost rankings for all your Business Listings and get featured in Google’s Knowledge Panel and Google Maps.

    These are just a few awesome SEO tools and features you can access with AIOSEO.

    To get started adding and optimizing meta descriptions to your articles, you first need to install and activate AIOSEO on your website. If you’ve never installed a plugin before, you can check out WPBeginner’s guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

    How to Automatically Add Meta Descriptions Using the AI Title/Description Generator (1-Click)

    One of the easiest ways to create meta descriptions is using AIOSEO’s AI Title/Description Generator. This is a powerful tool powered by ChatGPT. The AI Title/Description Generator takes the labor out of crafting post titles and meta descriptions, all with just the click of a button!

    All you have to do to use this game-changing meta description generator is click on the robot icon next to the meta description field.

    Click the robot button to generate meta descriptions.

    If this is your first time using this feature, you’ll be prompted to create an OpenAI account, and the setup wizard will walk you through the process of creating an account and connecting it to AIOSEO.

    Create an account with OpenAI to get started using the AI Title/Description Generator.

    Once you’re done, you can continue auto-generating meta descriptions for your articles by clicking on the robot icon next to the meta description field. When you do this, the AI Title/Description Generator will generate 5 suggestions based on your content.

    The meta description generator gives you 5 suggestions to choose from.

    Select the one you want by clicking the + button and tweak it according to your taste.

    For step-by-step instructions on using this powerful meta description generator, check out this guide.

    How to Manually Add Your Meta Description

    To manually add meta descriptions to your articles, simply scroll down in the post or page you’re editing to the AIOSEO Settings

    Snippet preview in the AIOSEO settings

    Here you’ll first see a Snippet Preview that shows an example of how your content will look in search results based on the Title and Meta Description you enter.

    Using Smart Tags in Your Meta Description

    And to make it super easy for you to optimize your meta descriptions in WordPress, AIOSEO has added pre-installed smart tags with different variables you can use. 

    To start adding them, you need to scroll down to the Meta Description section and then click on any of the smart tags. In this example, we’ve added the + Post Excerpt smart tag. 

    Adding your meta description using smart tags in All in One SEO

    AIOSEO will then automatically add your post’s excerpt as meta description. 

    And you can also include other variables, such as + Author First Name or + Author Last Name.

    View all smart tags in All in One SEO

    To see all of the smart tags, click on the View all tags link. 

    Manually Entering Your Meta Description in WordPress

    You also have the option to enter your meta description manually. Simply type in your description directly into the field.

    Type in your meta description in the provided field.

    Don’t forget that the meta description should also include your focus keyword or keyphrase.

    But as you can see, this is all easier if you use a meta description tool like AIOSEO’s meta description generator.

    Plus, with AIOSEO, you can also add emojis to your meta descriptions. Doing so makes them stand out on SERPs, resulting in a boost in clicks and SEO.

    Easily Double-Check That You’ve Added Your Focus Keyword

    With AIOSEO, you even get an analysis of your focus keyword or keyphrase. It’ll check that you’ve used it in the meta description and other areas that’ll help to improve your SEO.

    Analyzing the focus keyphrase in meta description in All in One SEO

    This helps ensure that your meta descriptions are SEO-friendly.

    Analyzing Your SEO

    AIOSEO makes it easy to improve your SEO with its SEO analysis tool.

    In the Basic SEO section, you can view an SEO analysis of your whole page’s content and get tons of helpful tips to boost your overall SEO score.

    Basic SEO analysis in All in One SEO

    It tells you what you’ve optimized well and gives recommendations on what you need to improve (which will be marked in red).

    The Page Analysis even analyzes your Title and gives immediate results on the title length, if the title has a number, and includes power words or sentiment words. These are important factors to attract more clicks.

    SEO title analysis in All in One SEO

    The Readability tool is also useful since Google has increased its focus on how well your content reads and is structured. The longer you get users to stay on your page, the more useful Google thinks your content is and will favor it.

    Readability analysis in All in One SEO

    As you can see, the Readability analysis gives you lots of valuable tips on how to improve your content and boost your rankings on Google.

    In addition, if you also want to learn how to optimize your SEO title, you can check out how to change your SEO title in WordPress.

    And there you have it!

    Use these tips to start crafting compelling and actionable meta descriptions and watch your search traffic, click-through rate, and rankings improve quickly.

    We hope this post helped you learn how to write meta descriptions for SEO and easily add them to your WordPress site using AIOSEO. You may also want to check out other articles on our blog, like our ultimate WordPress SEO guide or our list of SEO best practices to help you rank higher on search engines.

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    author avatar
    Kato Nkhoma Content Writer
    Kato is one of those rare unicorns born with a pen in his hand—so the legend says. He’s authored 2 books and produced content for hundreds of brands. When he’s not creating content for AIOSEO, you’ll find him either watching tech videos on YouTube or playing with his kids. And if you can’t find him, he’s probably gone camping.

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