Don’t leave your meta descriptions to chance

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Every time we search for something online, we’re confronted with a list of search results. We’re so familiar with these results, which are called snippets, that we barely notice them. However, as soon as one of these results stands out – positively or negatively – we do notice. Take a look at the snippet below. Would you click that?

Screenshot showing snippet with cut off SEO title and meta description
Would you click this snippet in the search results?

Probably not, right? Parts of the SEO title and meta description are cut off, which makes this snippet both less informative and less attractive. If you want to make a good impression, you better use Yoast SEO.

Where Yoast SEO comes to the rescue

✅ It helps prevent weird looking snippets

A snippet is a gateway to your site. You don’t want to ruin your first impression with a weird looking snippet. That’s a missed opportunity.

Yoast SEO helps you get a better grip on the look of your snippets. It comes with a preview that mimics the way Google shows snippets in the search results. So, you can actually see whether your SEO title and meta description are fully displayed or cut off in mobile and desktop search results. Although it’s a simulation and we can’t fully control what Google will show, optimizing your snippets is the only way to have at least some control. And Yoast SEO will help you with that.

Screenshot showing Google preview and Yoast SEO meta box in the Yoast SEO meta box
Google preview and snippet editor in the Yoast SEO meta box

Did you know?

How snippets are displayed in the Google search results has not always been the same. Over the past few years, we’ve seen that Google experimented with the length of meta descriptions. Don’t worry! We monitor this process closely and make sure that Yoast SEO adapts.

✅ Instant feedback on the width of your SEO title

The snippet editor in the Yoast SEO meta box and/or sidebar allows you to edit three elements: your SEO title, your slug, and your meta description. Below the fields of the SEO title, you’ll see a colored bar. The color of this bar provides instant feedback on the width of your SEO title.

If your SEO title is wider than the viewable limit of 600 pixels, the bar will turn red. This indicates that your title runs the risk of being cut off by Google. Shorten your SEO title until the bar turns green. However, you don’t want to use too few words either. If your title width is less than 300 pixels, the bar will turn orange. This means, there’s some space left. You could always dive a little deeper into the art of crafting good SEO titles.

The red feedback bar indicates that your SEO titles is too long

✅ Instant feedback on the length of your meta description

Just like with your SEO title, your meta description can be cut off by Google. The feedback bar below the meta description input field will help you prevent that. If you start out typing, the bar will turn orange. That means: “Go ahead, you can use more words to convince people to click.” As soon as the bar turns green, your meta description has an optimal length. However, if you exceed 155 characters, the bar will turn orange again to warn you.

Of course, length isn’t the only factor to take into account when writing meta descriptions. Here are 7 characteristics of a good meta description.

✅ It tells you what to do: shorten or add some more text

In addition to the feedback bars in the snippet editor itself, Yoast SEO provides textual feedback as well. You’ll find this feedback in the SEO analysis. Both types of feedback convey the same message. However, the feedback in the SEO analysis contains actionable advice, which makes it easier to interpret. In other words, Yoast SEO tells you whether your need to shorten your SEO title and/or meta description. But it also tells you if it’s the other way around: “Your meta description is too short. Up to X characters are available. Use the space!”

Actionable advice in the SEO analysis of Yoast SEO

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