The meta description is a tag that goes in the <head> of your webpage and appears in Google’s search results to entice the user to click through to your website. It is not used in Google’s ranking algorithm, but the searched terms will be bolded if included in your meta description.
Here is an example of a meta description:
<meta name=”description” content=”Looking for an SEO consultant or agency? We have the best vetted consultants and agencies, ready to take your business to the next level.”>
Here is an example of a meta description in Google search:
The meta description shows underneath the
The meta description is not, and has not been for some time, an SEO ranking factor. However, it is still worth optimizing because it can help clickthrough rates. When the meta description is shown by the search engines because it is relevant, the key terms in the search query will also be bolded in the meta description to provide extra context to the searcher and draw their eye.
It is also worth noting that the search engines, especially Google, do often show their own meta description for your pages and they have been known to run tests on meta description lengths.
Meta description lengths have varied over the years, from 160 characters to 300+ characters and back.
The ideal meta description length is currently recommended at no more than 155 characters, just to be careful. Longer than that and you risk it being cut off, shorter and it will not be as effective and may be replaced by the search engine’s own tooling to improve your clickthrough rates.