how to add meta descriptions to your wordpress site manually
As an SEO expert, I often come across website owners who are looking for ways to improve their website’s search engine rankings. One of the most important aspects of SEO is on-page optimization, which includes optimizing your website’s meta tags, such as meta descriptions.
Meta descriptions are short, concise summaries of your web page’s content that appear in search engine results pages (SERPs). They are important for attracting clicks from search engine users and can also help improve your website’s search engine rankings. In this article, I’ll be sharing my expert tips on how to add meta descriptions in WordPress without plugins, so you can improve your website’s visibility and attract more organic traffic.
Understanding meta descriptions
Before we get into how to add meta descriptions to your WordPress site, it’s important to understand why meta descriptions are important. Meta descriptions are displayed in SERPs below the page title and URL, and provide a brief summary of what the page is about. They play an important role in attracting clicks from search engine users, as they can help users determine whether the content on the page is relevant to their search query.
Meta descriptions should be between 150-160 characters and should accurately describe the content of the page. They should also include relevant keywords, as this can help improve your website’s search engine rankings.
Adding meta descriptions manually
To add meta descriptions manually in WordPress, follow these steps:
Step 1: Log in to your WordPress dashboard and navigate to the page or post you want to add a meta description to.
Step 2: Scroll down to the Yoast SEO section, which should be located below the text editor.
Step 3: Click on the “Edit snippet” button to expand the Yoast SEO section.
Step 4: In the “Meta description” field, enter a concise and accurate summary of the page’s content, including relevant keywords.
Step 5: Click the “Close snippet editor” button to save your changes.
Step 6: Publish or update your page or post.
Using templates for meta descriptions
If you have a large website with many pages and posts, adding meta descriptions manually for each page or post can be time-consuming. Fortunately, WordPress allows you to create templates for your meta descriptions, which can be automatically applied to all pages or posts on your website.
To create a meta description template in WordPress, follow these steps:
Step 1: Navigate to the Yoast SEO section in your WordPress dashboard and click on the “Search Appearance” tab.
Step 2: Click on the “Content types” tab and select the type of content you want to create a template for (e.g. pages, posts, products).
Step 3: Scroll down to the “Meta description” section and enter a template that includes variables, such as %%title%% or %%excerpt%%.
Step 4: Click the “Save Changes” button to save your template.
Step 5: Repeat the process for any other content types you want to create templates for.
Best practices for writing meta descriptions
When writing meta descriptions, there are a few best practices to keep in mind:
- Keep it concise: Aim for a length of 150-160 characters, including spaces and punctuation.
- Make it relevant: Your meta description should accurately describe the content on the page and include relevant keywords.
- Use a call-to-action: Consider including a call-to-action (CTA) in your meta description, such as “Learn more” or “Download now”.
- Avoid duplicate meta descriptions: Each page on your website should have a unique meta description, as duplicate meta descriptions can confuse search engines and lower your website’s search engine rankings
Monitoring your meta description performance
Once you have added meta descriptions to your WordPress site, it’s important to monitor their performance. Monitoring the performance of your meta descriptions can help you identify opportunities for improvement and optimize your website for better search engine rankings. Here are a few key metrics to track:
- Click-through rate (CTR): Your meta descriptions can directly impact your CTR from search engine results pages. By monitoring your CTR, you can identify which meta descriptions are performing well and which ones need improvement.
- Bounce rate: If your meta descriptions are misleading or inaccurate, it can result in a high bounce rate, which is when users leave your website after only visiting one page. Monitoring your bounce rate can help you identify meta descriptions that need to be updated.
- Search engine rankings: Improving your meta descriptions can also lead to higher search engine rankings. By tracking your website’s rankings for relevant keywords, you can see how your meta descriptions are impacting your website’s visibility in search engine results pages.
In addition to monitoring these metrics, it’s important to regularly review and update your meta descriptions to ensure they remain accurate and relevant. As your website’s content changes over time, your meta descriptions may need to be updated to reflect those changes.
Adding meta descriptions to your WordPress website is a crucial part of on-page optimization and can help improve your website’s search engine rankings and attract more organic traffic. While there are plugins available to help with this task, it is also possible to add meta descriptions manually or create templates to automate the process.
Remember to keep your meta descriptions concise, relevant, and unique for each page on your website. By monitoring the performance of your meta descriptions, you can identify opportunities for improvement and optimize your website for better search engine rankings. With these tips, you can effectively add meta descriptions to your WordPress site and improve your website’s visibility in search engine results pages.