WordPress predominantly classifies different types of content into the following five types:
- And obviously, the homepage.
To add meta descriptions to all five, most WP users have principally leveraged the Yoast SEO plugin, or similar. However, before we discuss on the execution, let’s cover some ground on what you’d need to know about meta descriptions.
Meta description is what search engines use, to display the description snippet of a URL in their search results — below the title. Theoretically, Google can (and in a lot of cases do), refuse to display the meta description you’ve provided; and be that as it may, if you do not instruct one, you will most certainly have no control over what gets shown in the search results.
No, they aren’t. However, that doesn’t diminish the value it can bring. Numerous studies have shown that a relevant, enticing, authentic, and a genuine meta description can invite more clicks to a site from the search results.
Over time, the recommendations, and the character length has changed, but lately, the solution is to almost always go with less than or equal to 155 characters. Having that stated, it doesn’t necessarily mean Google will blindly follow that, but, it’s the limit you should aim for. In fact, you can only supply the meta descriptions; you have no sway on what Google actually chooses to exhibit in its SERPs.
How to Add Meta Description to WordPress Posts?
The process to attach meta descriptions to individual WordPress posts is way easier than you think. To do so:
- Navigate into your individual post/blog.
- Then, scroll all the way down to the section where you see the Yoast plugin section. Image attached for reference.
- Next, ensure you’re on the “SEO” tab, and then just further down, you’d notice what’s called “Google Preview.” From there, find “edit snippet,” so that you can get the options to dictate your own title tag and meta description. Note that you may need to open the Google Preview drop-down first. See the screenshot below:
- Finally, once you’re satisfied, counter-intuitively, you don’t have to save anything. In other words, all you have to do is write one, and that’s it! The meta tags are directly tied to the post itself, so what you want will get saved once you either publish or update your post.
How to Add Meta Descriptions to WordPress Pages, Categories, and Tags
The process of adding meta descriptions to these three content types is similar to what you’d need to do for posts.
Follow the same steps; the only differentiating factor is how to get there. WordPress, typically, organizes posts, categories, and tags under the main section of “Posts” (in your dashboard), while pages, has its own separate identity.
Once you’re into each content type, find the one you want to tweak, hit on edit, and scroll down to the Yoast Plugin section.
How to Add a Meta Description to the WordPress Homepage
Literally, you’d be using Yoast again. However, the reason this deserves a distinct heading is because finding the homepage meta description is not that obvious in WordPress.
With Yoast, it is traditionally hidden under the “SEO” section (which in other words, is Yoast Settings). Inside SEO, you’d need to head over to “search appearance,” in order to make adjustments to your homepage meta description. See the image below for reference.
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- All Other Topics and Posts
As evidently clear, adding meta descriptions to any page (any URL) in WordPress is not rocket science. All you need is the Yoast plugin, and you’re all set. And yes, you do not need the premium version to add meta descriptions. Even the free aspect of the plugin, will more than allow you to do so.
On a parting note: Remember, albeit meta descriptions are not a direct ranking factor, they are incredibly helpful in giving context to search engines about your pages (any URL), as well as, can positively influence click-through rates from the SERPs.