Optimizing Meta Description: 6 Common Mistakes to Avoid

Meta descriptions are a part of HTML that offer brief summary and information of the particular web pages. The limit of Meta description varies from websites to websites, as some SEO professionals prefer using one sentence for describing the page in a concise manner, while others make it a short paragraph. Users get to see the Meta description on the search engine results page after making a search query. The text that appears beneath the links to the websites is Meta description that Google pulls out from the page, in order to provide the user with detailed information.

Optimizing your web page’s Meta description is one of the important attributes of your on-page SEO. Most SEO professionals commit mistakes with the Meta description optimization, thinking that the process is not going to be fruitful since Meta descriptions do not directly determine the search rankings, which is true. However, Meta descriptions play a huge role in engaging visitors to your site and increasing the click-through rate on the links, which definitely leads to a better performance of your site on the major search engines.

With that being said, here are some of the common mistakes that you should be aware of prior to optimizing your page’s Meta description:

Writing Duplicate Descriptions

Although writing same descriptions for your product pages and other valuable pages will not get you penalized or prohibited from the search rankings, you should drive your efforts in creating unique Meta descriptions for different web pages. Realistically speaking, Meta descriptions work as a “pitch” in the search engines, which offer you the opportunity to utilize it for narrating the content on your website concisely. In other words, the more uniquely you deliver your message, the more likely your website will gain huge traffic along with high CTR. Think from the perspective of the user and you will find that having similar meta descriptions for every web pages can be more confusing than helpful for the users. Even though you can allow Google to collect the relevant content from your site and craft your Meta descriptions, doing it by yourself is more preferable and effective. 

More Focus and Obsession with Characters

The character dilemma with Meta descriptions has been a long-term issue for most SEO professionals in the world. From 130-160 characters earlier to 320 characters in 2017, writing the Meta description with the characters limit in mind has always been considered as a good SEO practice. However, the effort and obsession with characters are needless when it comes to Google search snippets, where the pixels have an upper hand instead of the characters. Depending on the width of the gadget you are using, writing an ideal Meta description should be somewhere in between 160-320 characters, which means 920-1840 pixels. Hence, even if you have small descriptions, there is no point in trying to stuff characters in it. Apart from that, you should know that Google does not always showcase manually generated description in the search results, often it pulls out relevant pieces of content to form its own Meta descriptions, making the obsession with characters pointless.

Not Optimizing Your Descriptions with Keywords

Your Meta descriptions must be well optimized for your targeted keywords or phrases that are either relevant to the content available on your page or the search intent of your target audience. If you fail to make your Meta description relevant to the specific page, Google will have no options left and pick the first sentence along with a relevant phrase or keyword and display it in the search results. Although the descriptions generated by Google are fairly creative, however, it feels and appears like a title. When it comes to optimizing your Meta descriptions, make sure that the content in your description is related to a page’s title and relevant to the overall website’s content.

Not Using HTML Tables for Direct Answers

The aim of major search engines like Google is to arrange the information available on the entire World Wide Web and make it globally useful and accessible. This pretty much explains the intent of Google in its ranking preference of websites, which implies that sites with query-solving content and answers in HTML tables will be ranked better on the SERPs. You must identify query based searches, write elaborate answers, and execute HTML with structured data. With direct answers and HTML spearheaded with structured data, you can easily get your website enjoy high visibility on the search engines.

Overlooking the Rich Snippets

Structured data optimization is an important aspect of search engine optimization especially in terms of Meta descriptions. Make sure it is on your top priority list, as with features like rich snippets, you can have your web page’s Meta description stand out in the search engine. In order to achieve this feat, you will need few types of schema that can be leveraged for optimizing your page well. Some of the common schema types are:

  • Local Business
  • Review
  • Offer
  • Product
  • Aggregate Review
  • Place
  • Creative Work
  • Person
  • Event

You can also put some of the online tools in the application for having effective schema types and structured data optimization. With rich snippets in focus, not only you can enhance the quality of your Meta description, but you can also increase the chances of more traffic generation.

Uninteresting and Boring Copy

Unimpressive and misleading copy in Meta descriptions is probably the biggest reason why most users do not click on the blue clickable link and visit the website. Make your Meta description copy appealing so that user can notice it even in the pool of other websites. With a creative copy, you can easily meet the expectations and the search intent of your user. This approach will not only make your website stand out in the crowd, but it will end up boosting the conversion, CTR, and traffic.


Finally, optimizing your Meta descriptions is as important as the other features present on your website. Keep the above mistakes in mind and make sure that you do not end up committing them and lose out on a great number of website traffic.