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1.3 Meta Desc and Snippet

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Joost Guidelines

via Joost

Now that we’ve got proper titles, we should start to focus on meta descriptions. The meta description can be used by search engines to show in the snippet, it’s the black piece of text shown beneath the URL. The meta description is usually only used when it contains the keyword the searcher was searching for.

Some plugins, most specifically the All in One SEO plugin, use so called “automated descriptions”. They use the first sentence of a post to fill the meta description by default. That’s not very smart. That first sentence might be an introductory sentence which has hardly anything to do with the subject.

Thus, the only well written description is a hand written one, and if you’re thinking of auto generating the meta description, you might as well not do anything and let the search engine control the snippet… If you don’t use the meta description, the search engine will find the keyword searched for in your document, and automatically pick a string around that, which gives you a bolded word or two in the results page.

Auto generating a snippet is a “shortcut”, and there are no real shortcuts in (WordPress) SEO (none that work anyway).

So, use the meta description field you find in the WordPress SEO plugin to write a meta description. Make sure it entices the reader to click through and make sure that it contains the focus keyword of your post or page at least once.

You’ll notice we do not mention meta keywords. We don’t use them and neither should you, for an explanation, read this article by Joost: meta keywords and why I don’t use them.

Realisation on snbchf.com

According to SEO guidelines, we have to have well-structured meta descriptions.

Our meta description has to be at least 130 chars and at most 156 chars. Our work is to check all the pages and make a list with all pages, which doesn’t fit our criteria for good-looking meta descriptions.

Meta description from Yoast

Meta description from Yoast - Click to enlarge


The list

Realisation on newsfeed site

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