What is SEO meta?

Need help with this?
Purchase All in One SEO Pack Pro to get dedicated support from us.

Buy Now

SEO Description (aka Meta Description)

The SEO Description or Meta Description (we use this term interchangeably in our documentation) that appears in the source code of your webpage looks like this:

<meta name="description" content="This is my description that will appear in search results." />

The Meta Description is usually displayed in the source code for a webpage below the All in One SEO Pack comment line.

The Meta Description is used by search engines as the description of a search result.  You can see in the example from Google search results below that the description is displayed as “All in One SEO Pack Pro optimizes your WordPress website or blog for search engines. All in One SEO Pack Pro includes use on unlimited WordPress sites and.” and below the screenshot of the Google search results you can see the Meta Description as it appears in the source code of our website.

<meta name="description" content="All in One SEO Pack Pro optimizes your WordPress website or blog for search engines. All in One SEO Pack Pro includes use on unlimited WordPress sites and" />

SEO Description Length

Most search engines place a limit on the number of characters that they display in search results.  This limit is typically around 160 characters in length but can be as much as 320 characters. A description that exceeds 160 characters in length may be cut off with a … 

General guidance regarding SEO Descriptions is to keep them descriptive.  Remember that when you perform a search on Google or Bing you use the title and the description that is displayed for each result to make a decision as to which site to visit.  A poor description typically results in the visitor returning to the search results and trying a different site.

SEO Description Uniqueness

Every SEO Description on your site should be unique because each page of content on your site should be unique.  Search engines may penalize you for having duplicate Meta Descriptions.  SEO Descriptions should be unique across all content including Pages, Posts, Categories, Tags, etc. meaning that the Meta Description for a Page should not be the same as the Meta Description for a Post or a Category.

You can monitor duplicate Meta Description warnings by using Google Webmaster Tools. You will find these warnings under Search Appearance, HTML Improvements.

Search Engines use of SEO Description

Despite the fact that you may set a unique description for each page of content, search engines do not have to use your Meta Description when displaying search results.  Google has always decided whether to display the description you provide or display some content from your webpage instead. They do this on a case by case basis depending on the term that is being searched for and whether it appears in your Meta Description or in your content.

It is important to remember that you cannot force search engines to display exactly what you want them to display.  They will display what they feel is best for their users and they can change what they display whenever they want, they are not beholden to you, they are beholden to the users of their search engine.

Setting your Homepage SEO Description

You can use All in One SEO Pack to set the SEO Description for the homepage of your site. To do this follow our Home Page Settings documentation. The homepage SEO Description is always treated differently in All in One SEO Pack. You set the description under All in One SEO, General Settings, Home Page Settings, Home Description and not on the actual page. We only output exactly what you type in the Home Description field. We will not auto generate the Meta Description for your homepage, you must set the Meta Description yourself using the Home Description field.

Setting the SEO Description for a Post

You can use All in One SEO Pack to set the SEO Description for each Post on your site.  To do this follow our Post Settings documentation. If you do not set an SEO Description for a Post then we will, by default, not display a Meta Description for that Post. You can choose to have All in One SEO Pack automatically generate your Meta Description for you. To do this go to All in One SEO, General Settings, Advanced Settings and check the Autogenerate Descriptions checkbox. Enabling this feature will result in All in One SEO Pack using your Post Excerpt or the first 160 characters from your Post content if you have not created a Post Excerpt. It is recommended, however, that you hand craft each SEO Description on your site.

Setting the SEO Description for a Page

You can use All in One SEO Pack to set the SEO Description for each Page on your site.  To do this follow our Page Settings documentation. If you do not set an SEO Description for a Page then we will, by default, not display a Meta Description for that Page. You can choose to have All in One SEO Pack automatically generate your Meta Description for you. To do this go to All in One SEO, General Settings, Advanced Settings and check the Autogenerate Descriptions checkbox. Enabling this feature will result in All in One SEO Pack using the first 160 characters from your Page content. It is recommended, however, that you hand craft each SEO Description on your site.

Controlling the Format of SEO Descriptions

You can control the format of your SEO Descriptions using All in One SEO Pack. To do this follow our Title Settings documentation. By default, we do not append anything after your SEO Description.

  • Was this helpful ?
  • YesNo