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How to Update Meta Descriptions on WordPress: A Step-by-Step Guide

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Meta descriptions are HTML attributes that summarize the contents of a webpage. They work with title tags to encourage users to click through search listings for specific pages.

Though they don’t directly affect ranking, descriptions can help build brands, provide snippets for social media, and boost the search relevance of web pages. When optimized properly, they can also lead to more traffic and conversions for your website.

Use this step-by-step guide to update your page’s meta description on WordPress.

Step #1: Select a page.

If you haven’t been customizing the metadata on the different pages on your website, you may feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of updates you need to do.

But you need to start somewhere. To help you become more efficient, SEO specialists in Dubai recommend starting with the following high-value priority pages:


Your homepage is the first thing Google displays on the search engine results pages (SERPs) when a user makes a navigational query about your website.

Navigational search intent usually comes in the form of branded keywords (e.g., SEO Sherpa) or website URLs (

To maximize your homepage visits, add a meta description that puts forward your brand’s strongest selling points. This will ensure that you promote your business directly to your “hottest” possible traffic – those users who already know about you and intentionally seek you out.

Pages with high organic impressions

Page impressions – also known as page views – show how frequently your page is opened in browsers.

Although they don’t necessarily point to the number of individuals visiting your website, page views are still important in SEO. When used alongside bounce rate, they show how attractive and engaging a page is to users.

If you have pages with high organic impressions (i.e., views not referred by ads), be sure to prioritize them in your meta description updates. Doing so can help boost their impressions even more, along with other crucial SEO metrics.

Here’s how you can find your highest impressing pages:

  • Log in to the Google Search Console.
  • Go to the “search results” tab.
  • Filter by impressions and sort in descending order.

Product and category pages

Product and category pages are the money-making elements of a website. When you update their meta descriptions, you’re taking steps to boost your company’s sales and revenue.

Pages with little text in the content

A web page with more video and image content may rank well, but it won’t give Google anything to pull a description from.

Don’t let this opportunity go to waste, especially if it is a target for your SEO campaign. Pull out all the stops by writing an optimized custom description for the page.

Step #2: Make sure your description is optimized.

Once you have a list of pages to update, you can now proceed with writing optimized descriptions.

But before you do, you must first learn the following tried-and-tested guidelines in writing meta descriptions:

Select a focus keyword and sprinkle some synonyms.

Keywords serve as the compass for search engine users. Depending on how they are used, these phrases can convince Google to include your web page in the SERPs for a particular query.

When writing a meta description, match the search intent of your focus keyword. This can be either informational, navigational, transactional, or commercial.

Also, add a few synonyms and related long-tail keywords to your description to improve its visual prominence on the SERPs.

Follow the optimal length.

You must also make sure you stick to a length that has been tried and tested to work. If you don’t, your meta description may get cut off mid-sentence.

According to SEO experts, meta descriptions should be around 120 characters, with the most important words (e.g., the main keyword) placed at the beginning. If you can’t keep it that short, aim for 158 characters max.

Write clear and captivating descriptions.

Think of your page descriptions as an advertisement and write them in a way that will captivate your target audience.

Get inspiration from hooks that work for Google Ad listings which target the same keyword you plan to use. These have higher quality scores and click-through rates (CRT), which means they resonated with the audience.

Also, try to write in the active voice and second person POV as much as possible. And don’t forget to include a call-to-action (CTA).

Mirror what’s inside the page.

There’s no point in writing a clear and engaging description for a page that cannot deliver what was promised. Avoid making false claims about your website because it will only hurt your ranking, sales, and branding.

Instead, mirror the contents of your web page. Highlight its most important points, such as product benefits, price, branch locations, etc.

Step #3: Install a WordPress plugin.

By default, WordPress doesn’t provide an option to include meta description tags in search pages. To add custom descriptions for your site, you need to install plugins with this feature.

Yoast is the de facto standard tool used in WordPress SEO optimization.

Here’s how you can add Yoast to your WordPress site:

  • Log in to your WordPress website.
  • Once you’re on your Dashboard, look for the “Plugins” menu on the left.
  • Open the menu and type “Yoast SEO” on the search bar.
  • Click “Install Now” on the plugin to begin installing.
  • After installation is complete, click the “Activate” button where the “Install Now” link used to be.
  • You can now use and configure the plugin.

Once this is done, a Yoast section should appear under the editing area of your post or page.

Step #4: Upload your meta description.

Click “Edit Snippet” on the Yoast section to begin typing your meta description.

After you reach 121 characters, you may notice the bar underneath turning green. This indicates that you’ve reached the ideal character count for the snippet.

If you’ve exceeded 156 characters, the same bar will turn red.

Of course, you need to use these recommendations only as a guide when optimizing your descriptions. After adding the snippet, save the changes you made by clicking “Update” on the upper right portion of the WordPress editor.

Optimize on WordPress

Optimizing your WordPress website with unique descriptions for individual pages offers your company and brand a wide range of advantages. Follow this step-by-step guide and add metadata to your high-value pages for a more SEO-friendly website.


Erika Miranda is a seasoned web writer with over 12 years of writing experience. Before working with SEO Sherpa, she had been composing guest posts, blogs, web copy, news articles, and more for various companies and websites. In more than a decade of writing, she considers her job at the UAE-based digital marketing agency her most successful yet, as it gives her plenty of opportunities to write a wide variety of content and hone her SEO knowledge.