WordPress Meta Description – How to Use in WordPress

WordPress Meta Description - How to Use in WordPress

When it comes to Search Engine Optimization, there are things to do to improve your site’s ranking. Adding a WordPress meta description is one of those things.

Meta descriptions are short descriptions of a page or post.

When users make a Google search, they will see your meta description on the search result page along with your meta title, and post URL. The meta description tells readers what the page is about.

In this article, you will learn everything there is to know about WordPress meta description. We will look at how they affect your SEO and how you can create the ideal WordPress meta description.

Most importantly, you will get to learn how to add/optimize meta descriptions using Yoast SEO plugin and manually.

Table of Content

Why are WordPress Meta Descriptions and Keywords Important?

When you publish a WordPress post, your ultimate goal, most likely, is to get as many eyes as possible on it. Unfortunately, the quality of your post content – no matter how good – won’t be enough to realize this goal. Considering the short attention span of the average web user, you need to hook them in quickly.

That’s where WordPress meta descriptions come into play.

Meta descriptions are HTML metatags, with a maximum length of 155 characters, added to the header section of your WordPress site. They tell a searcher if your content is worth spending time on or if they just have to move on.

A well-written meta description acts as the hook you need to get clicks to your pages and posts. And the more clicks your page and posts get, the higher your CTR (Click Through Rate).

But that’s not all meta descriptions do. They also inform search engine crawlers about the relevance of the page to help determine which content best fits the needs of a searcher.

To better understand the concept of meta-descriptions, consider the image below. The meta description is the text directly above the URL that shows a summary of the content of the post.

Meta description


Another important thing to consider is meta-keywords. A meta keyword is the keyword(s) you use in the WordPress meta description. For example, in this screenshot below, the bolded text is the meta keyword, while the entire text beneath the URL is the meta description.

Meta tags for WordPress

Getting your descriptions and meta keywords right from the get-go will go a long way in improving your website’s visibility on search pages. Below are some examples of meta descriptions.

Examples of Effective Meta Descriptions

Here are examples of meta descriptions for various use cases. You can use any of these as a template to create your meta descriptions.

Meta Description for E-commerce Product Page:

“Discover the new iPhone 15 Pro Max with cutting-edge features and stunning design. Capture breathtaking photos, and stay connected with fast 5G. Order now!”

Meta Description for Blog Post:

“Master the secrets of Instagram marketing with our detailed guide. Learn proven strategies, tips, and tricks to grow your following, and drive conversions.”

Meta Description for Service Page:

“Transform your home with our professional interior design services. Our team of experts can bring your vision to life. Schedule your consultation today!”

Meta Description for Local Business:

“Indulge in tasty Italian cuisine at our neighborhood trattoria. We offer a taste of Italy right in your backyard. Join us for a lovely dining experience!”

Are Metatags Considered as Ranking Factors?

From our discussion so far, you might have assumed that a well-optimized custom WordPress meta description will be used by search engines to rank your content. Sadly, it won’t.

Google, as well as other search engines, officially dropped meta keywords and descriptions as ranking factors sometime in 2009.

The question about the relevance of meta description for search ranking was also posed to John Mueller, a Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst, and Search Relations team lead at Google.

He was specifically asked whether “adding the location name in the meta description matters to Google in terms of ranking if the content quality is maintained?”

In responding, John Mueller said “The meta description is primarily used as a snippet in the search results page. And that’s not something that we would use for ranking. But obviously, having a good snippet on a search results page can make it more interesting for people to visit your page when they see your page ranking in the search results.”

What this means is that depending on metatags alone won’t lead to good SEO results for your WordPress site.


However, WordPress meta descriptions can still help your SEO indirectly. As stated previously, having good meta descriptions affects how users interact with your site. When you add the keywords users want to see in the article, they are more likely to click on your page and view your content. This will increase your Click Through Rate (CTR).

And Google uses CTR to rank pages. So in this way, meta description does affect your site ranking indirectly, even if Google does not use it as a factor.

Here are some statistics that highlight the importance of meta descriptions for SEO:

  • Implementing meta descriptions can improve a website’s click-through rate (CTR) by up to 15% and boost search rankings by up to 10% according to Search Engine Journal.
  • According to a study by Backlinko, pages with meta descriptions have a 5.8% higher CTR compared to those without meta descriptions.
  • Using keyword-rich meta descriptions can boost a website’s search rankings by up to 5%.
  • Research found that including a strong call-to-action in meta descriptions can drive an 8.6% increase in click-through rates.
  • Adding relevant keywords in meta descriptions can result in a 4.8% increase in click-through rates.
  • 74.98% of top-ranking pages have a meta description.
  • Research found that nearly 70% of all search queries contain four or more words. This shows the importance of descriptive meta descriptions for capturing long-tail keywords and improving search engine visibility.
  • Google has confirmed that meta descriptions are used as snippets in search results when they are relevant to the user’s query. So having an optimized meta description increases the likelihood of your page being displayed prominently in search results.
  • In 2018, Google’s John Mueller recommended on Twitter to write your meta description, saying, “You know your content best.”

How Meta Description Impact SEO and Click-through Rate

Meta descriptions help search engines understand the content of web pages. If you include the right keywords in your meta descriptions, it will inform search engine crawlers about the relevance of your content to specific search queries and ensure that your site appears in relevant searches.

Similarly, creating meta descriptions that perfectly summarize the content of a webpage allows searchers to understand the content of a page before clicking through.

As mentioned above, users are more likely to click on your website if they find your meta descriptions compelling and relevant to their search intent.

Search engines interpret these clicks and longer stay times as a positive signal of user satisfaction, and can indirectly boost your rankings. So as more people click on your site on searches, you will gain prominence and subsequently rise in searches.

Meta Description Vs. Other SEO ranking Factors

As mentioned previously, meta descriptions play an indirect role in SEO. Here’s how meta description compares against other SEO elements

1. Meta Description vs. Title Tag:

The title tag focuses on keywords and grabbing attention while the meta description complements it by providing additional context and enticing users to click with a compelling call-to-action (CTA).


  • Title Tag: “Best Running Shoes for Men | Top Brands 2024”
  • Meta Description: “Discover the latest trends in men’s running shoes from top brands like Nike, Adidas, and New Balance. Find the perfect pair for your runs today!”

2. Meta Descriptions vs. Keywords:

Keywords are essential for signaling relevance to search engines. The meta description complements this by incorporating relevant keywords naturally into a compelling summary that appeals to users’ interests and needs.


  • Keywords: “vegan restaurants Los Angeles,” “organic dining options,” “plant-based eateries”
  • Meta Description: “Looking for vegan restaurants in Los Angeles? Explore our curated list of organic eateries offering delicious plant-based options for every palate!”

3. Meta Description vs. URL Structure:

Both the URL structure and meta descriptions can help search engines and searchers understand the page’s hierarchy and content.


  • URL: www.example.com/mens-running-shoes/nike-air-zoom-pegasus-38
  • Meta Description: “Explore our collection of Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38 running shoes for men. Get ready to elevate your running game with the latest innovations!”

What Makes a Good WordPress Meta Description?

A badly written description will do more harm to your website than omitting it altogether. As such, you must get it right.

Here are some of the characteristics of a well-written meta-description based on Google’s recommendation.

  • It’s neither too long nor too short. If you are unsure of the right length, aim for something between 150 and 160 characters (including spaces).
  • It is spiced up with focus keywords. A description that contains the keywords a searcher is looking for has a higher chance of being clicked on.
  • Must contain a call to action. It’s in your description that you get to tell web users the action you would like them to take. Want them to click and read? Say that in the description.
  • A good meta description is unique. Copying your competitor’s description is self-sabotaging. So be unique with your description.
  • Don’t use identical descriptions across your site. Instead, customize each WordPress meta description to accurately represent the unique content of each page.
  • Think beyond mere sentences. Use the meta description to highlight key details that might otherwise go unnoticed.
  • It is best written in an active, actionable voice.
  • Avoid stuffing your meta descriptions with keywords that offer little insight into your page’s content.

Below is an illustration of how to better your WordPress meta description:

Illustration 1.

Bad: “Sewing supplies, yarn, colored pencils, sewing machines, threads, bobbins, needles”

Good: “Discover everything you need for your next sewing project. Visit us in the Fashion District, open Monday-Friday 8-5pm.”

Illustration 2.

Bad: “Eggs are a source of joy in everyone’s life…”

Good: “Master the art of egg cooking with our comprehensive guide. From poached to over-easy, become an egg aficionado in under an hour!”

How to Add Meta Description in WordPress

There are two ways you can add meta descriptions on WordPress. You can do it with a plugin like Yoast SEO or manually with code. We will look at both steps below.

How to Add Meta Description with Yoast SEO Plugin

There are several SEO plugins that allow you to  add meta tags to your WordPress website. However, for the purpose of this tutorial, we will use Yoast SEO.

Installing Yoast SEO is pretty straightforward. If you are not sure how to go about it, check out this tutorial.

After installation and activation of the Yoast SEO plugin, navigate to Dashboard >> Posts >> All Posts. Then pick the post you would like to edit.

Yoast Meta tags

Next, navigate to the bottom of the post. Then click the Edit snippet button.

Snippet Editor

In the meta description box, type in the meta description of your post.

Meta title tag

That’s it!

How to Add a Description to Your Pages

The process for adding a description to a page is similar to that for posts.

First, navigate to Dashboard >> Pages >> All pages. Select the page you wish to edit and scroll down to the bottom of the page. In the snippet editor, click the Edit snippet button and then type in a meta description.

WordPress meta description tag

If you so wish, you can also add descriptions to your archive pages. The process is pretty much the same for posts and pages. Only this time navigate to Dashboard >> Posts >> Categories.

How To Add WordPress Meta Description Manually without Plugin

If you are not keen on using an SEO plugin to create custom meta descriptions, then you can add it manually by editing your theme code. However, this method might be a bit complex, especially if you’re looking to add descriptions to only specific pages.

The first thing to do is to backup your website. Also consider working with a child theme to protect your site from any potential issues. Once you have backed up your site, then follow these steps to create a meta description for your site using plugins.

Step 1. Access Theme Editor 

From your WordPress dashboard, go to Appearance>>Theme Editor

wordpress meta description steps

Step 2. Open Theme Function

Once on the theme editor screen, find the Theme Function (function.php) file and open it.

meta description steps 2

Step 3. Paste Code into function.php

Paste the code below into the Theme Function (function.php) file, then click Update File.


function meta_description_r(){

if( is_single() || is_page() ) { ?>

 <meta name="description" content="<?= wp_strip_all_tags( get_the_excerpt(), true ); ?>">

<?php } }

add_action('wp_head', 'meta_description_r');

Note: The code converts the post excerpt and uses it as the meta description

wordpress meta description

Step 4. Create Posts Excerpt

To create a meta description for your post or page, you simply have to paste the content to the excerpt field. To do this, navigate to the page or post you want to create the meta description for.

If you’re using the Block Editor, you’ll find the excerpt field on the right side or the page. For those using Classic Editor, it should be under the text editor.

Just paste or type in the meta description text and update or publish the page or post.

And that’s it.

wordpress meta description

Advanced SEO Tips for Meta Descriptions

Here are some advanced SEO tips to optimize your meta descriptions for higher click-through rates and improved search engine performance:

  • SEO plugins: SEO Plugins like Yoast SEO and Rank Math offer tools to preview and optimize meta descriptions directly within the WordPress editor. These plugins allow you to finetune your meta descriptions for maximum effectiveness.
  • Exceed the Character Count: While Google typically truncates meta descriptions around 155-160 characters, there’s no strict character limit. Experiment with longer meta descriptions (up to 300 characters) to provide more detailed information and increase visibility in search results.
  • Special Formatting: Use formatting like bullet points, numbers, and emojis to make your meta descriptions stand out and improve readability.
  • Keywords: Include relevant keywords in your meta descriptions to signal to search engines what your page is about. Focus on long-tail keywords and phrases that align with user intent and reflect the content of your webpage.
  • Track CTR: Keep a close eye on your click-through rates in search engine results pages (SERPs) and adjust your meta descriptions accordingly. If you notice low CTRs for certain pages, consider revising the meta descriptions to make them more compelling.
  • A/B tests: Conduct A/B tests to experiment with different variations of your meta descriptions and evaluate their impact on click-through rates using tools like Google Search Console.
  • User Intent: Tailor your meta descriptions to align with user intent for specific search queries. Conduct keyword research to understand the intent behind target keywords and craft meta descriptions that directly address users’ needs or questions.
  • CTAs: Use compelling language and persuasive calls-to-action (CTAs) in your meta descriptions to entice users to click through to your website. Incorporate power words like “exclusive,” “limited time offer,” or “free shipping” to create a sense of urgency and value.

Conclusion – WordPress meta description

If you run an online store, manage a blog, or just own a website, you can’t afford to leave any stone unturned when it comes to SEO. As such, writing a well-optimized description shouldn’t be ignored.

Like we had earlier discussed, meta description no longer plays a direct role in improving the search ranking of a page. However, it still helps by improving your click-through rate, which is a search ranking factor.

That said, it is important to learn how to improve your site SEO using the techniques and factors that work. Please read our complete WordPress SEO Guide to learn more.

More Resources:

 This post was written by Mesheal Fegor

Mesheal Fegor is a Web/WordPress Developer and technical writer. His WordPress help articles have been featured on Kinsta and other sites. Mesheal holds a master's degree in computer science. His writing focuses on technical WordPress issues, ranging from core WordPress problems, to issues with WooCommerce, and more.

Last edited by: FixRunner Team