How to force Google to use your meta description text

Getting your pages to appear in the first Google results is the main goal of everything SEO… but your task does not end there. And is that users don’t always click on the first search result, but scan the SERP to detect the most relevant to them.

To influence this decision and increase the percentage of clicks received by your page, there is a fundamental factor: the meta descriptions of the pages of your site. But sometimes, instead of the text that you have carefully selected to perform this function, anything can appear. Horror! Why do they appear meta descriptions errors in Google and what can we do to fix them?

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The problem of meta descriptions in Google

The meta descriptions are fshort texts describing the content of a page on your website. When a user performs a search, the results displayed include a meta title and a meta description.

The SEO tools They include features so that you can customize the meta titles and meta descriptions of each of the pages on your site. Ideally, from an SEO perspective, the meta description we chose would still appear, but in the end the results depend on Google’s algorithm and there is no guarantee that the meta descriptions will be the one we chose. , nor the same for each search.

And this is how we can sometimes see that instead of the meta description that you carefully crafted to attract users, Google displays a random fragment of your website, which may not even be directly related to the content of that. particular page.

The reason is that Google not only gets the information it displays from the meta description tag, but also from other places on your website or rich snippets. While in theory it’s always about finding the most relevant content, sometimes the segments that appear in your meta description aren’t the ones you are most interested in or may even degrade the user experience. How can we solve this problem?

Best practices for writing your meta descriptions

First things first: How do we write meta descriptions that appeal to both Google and users? There are a few basic principles that we cannot forget:

  • The meta description should accurately reflect the content of your website, without falling into clickbait-type techniques.
  • The text must have between 50 and 300 characters, since only around 160 are displayed in each SERP result.
  • Your meta descriptions should contain key words related to the user’s search and the content of the page, but always without abusing and using natural language.
  • The goal of the meta description is to get the user to click on our website, so we need to put their needs first. How does your website respond to the problem that caused them to search?

3 keys for Google to choose your meta description

1) Eliminate duplicate goals

If you have many pages on your website and you haven’t entered the titles and meta tags manually, it is very likely that you end up with duplicate titles or descriptions. This confuses Google and ends up choosing parts of your site that you are not interested in.

To resolve this issue, use the “HTML Suggestions” report in Google Webmaster Tools to detect duplicate titles and descriptions and correct any that appear.

2) Change the HTML meta description of your page

While it may seem like the text Google has selected for your meta description doesn’t make any sense, take a look at the words it has placed. There’s probably a reason why you consider them important, so let’s go.

If Google displays text that is different from your meta description in search results, write down the most important words in the description that Google selected, then rewrite your own to include those words.

Hopefully Google will detect that your new meta description includes the terms it deems most relevant and start using it. Later, you can gradually modify this meta description to adapt it to the best practices we discussed above.

If the description that Google has selected is really problematic, for example a spam comment, there is an option to “block” this feature and make Google not display any meta description for the page. However, this can lead to indexing issues, so it should only be used in really justified cases. To activate this option and remove meta tags from a Google page, simply enter the code

3) Edit or include rich snippets

The Rich extracts son rich snippets of information from a web page created for the search engine to better understand the data and classify it correctly. Therefore, they are a great ally for Google to understand what information you find most relevant and what you want to appear in search results.

In reality, rich snippets go beyond meta descriptions, as the search result appears “enriched” with visual elements such as images, listings or reviews.

There are many types of fortified extracts, such as:

  • Featured Snippet. Also known as “zero position”, this is a result that appears first and prominently in front of others. It can include text paragraphs, lists or tables.
  • Rating of reviews. It shows the users rating through a star icon, along with the numeric rating and the number of reviews.
  • Some products. Include the most important data about a product, such as a photo, price, or availability.
  • Receipts. It includes the most important data of a recipe, such as preparation time, ingredients or nutritional value.
  • And a long etcetera.

To get the most out of Google search results, therefore, we recommend that you find the richest snippets that are most appropriate for your content and include them on your page.

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