Key examples given of the four most common mistakes site owners make with their meta descriptions, and how to correct them for better clickthrough rates.
The SERPs are littered with weak meta descriptions. With that in mind, Google has updated its guidance on what a good (and bad) meta description looks like, and provided some key examples.
Quick refresher: meta descriptions are the short bits of text displayed in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) below a meta title. They can significantly affect click-through rates, and crafting compelling meta descriptions is therefore key. They look like this (highlighted in red):
You can find out more in our complete guide to meta tags. It's worth noting that Google reserves the right to rewrite meta descriptions if it so chooses (i.e. you cannot "force" a specific meta description to be displayed in search results).
So what are these updated examples that Google gives? It identifies four common types of “bad” meta descriptions:
And four common types of “better” meta descriptions are also indicated in the updated guidance:
“Make sure your descriptions are truly descriptive,” says Google. “Because meta descriptions aren’t displayed in the pages the user sees, it’s easy to let this content slide. But high-quality descriptions can be displayed in Google’s search results, and can go a long way to improving the quality and quantity of your search traffic.”
You can find Google’s complete, updated guidance on meta descriptions here.
Improve your meta descriptions with the help of Ryte's cutting-edge SEO features
Published on 09/12/2022 by Jamie Beach.
As Ryte's content manager for English, Jamie wrangles words on web. A background in sports journalism and tech marketing makes him a passionate advocate for organic search traffic. Jamie comes from the UK and is based in Munich, where he enjoys mangling the German language and all manner of outdoor sports, especially cycling.
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