Website meta-descriptions – why they matter.

At Switch, we’re passionate about all things digital, from the backend processes that get your website noticed to the way our clients’ brands show off across various medial channels. And we love sharing what we know with our clients and colleagues in digital marketing.

In today’s post, we’re giving you a brief overview of meta-descriptions – the what, why and how. Have you heard of them? Meta-descriptions (sometimes called ‘meta description attributes’ or ‘tags’) are HTML elements that describe and summarise the contents of your page. You can find them on the search page results – just conduct a search on Google and that’s the page we’re talking about. They are the small paragraphs underneath the page titles (URL in the page results).

Why do they matter? In simple terms, they are useful for SEO, helping users and search engines find your website based on keywords and phrases. Users reading through search results will use your description like a ‘sneak peek’ to determine whether or not to click on your listing. This means that a compelling description will earn you more clicks and page visits, which will not only get more people to your website, it will help improve your ranking on the search results list even further (even though Google has stated that meta-descriptions are not a signal for ranking).


Things to know about meta-descriptions

1. You can’t see a meta-description

By visiting the linked web page as only search engines read them and browsers do not display them.

2. To find the meta-description used on a webpage, go to the page in your browser

On a Windows computer, you’ll right click your mouse and select “View Source” or “View Page Source” – this is the raw HTML code. Once the browser loads the source code, you’ll see a whole lot of code that you can search for the various content on the page. Use the ‘Ctrl F’ Find function to search for “<meta name=”description” and you will see the meta-description for the page.

3. If you’re exploring your own website

You’ll soon be able to see if you need to change or update the meta-description to something more relevant to SEO. If you have the technical know-how, you can do this yourself or get an expert to help.

4. When writing a meta-description

Take the following factors into account: use targeted keywords, use a length of up to 320 characters (though you don’t have to use them all to make your point), and emphasise benefits and value. For example, search “running shoes” and you get:

Running Shoes | adidas by Stella McCartney® |‎‎

Shop new season performance wear with innovative technology at the online store.

New In: Elyse & Bags · New Falabella bags now in · Order the new collection ·

Clear, precise, action-orientated. A perfect meta-description.

5. Sometimes a professional copywriter can do it better

The truth is that while you might know your business backwards, the world of digital branding and awareness has its own rules and restrictions best left to the experts to navigate. Want to know more? Read this blog post about why you might need a website copywriter.

Want to work with digital marketing experts who have expertise, experience, and a real passion for their business and yours? That’s us! At Switch, our team of marketing consultants and creatives are all about helping you and your clients make the most of an online presence, from a top functioning website to on-trend social media campaigns. If it’s digital, we’re the team for you!

Want to work some digital marketing magic on your website? Read our website ebook for more.