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[FIX] Pages Don’t Have Meta Descriptions

How to Fix Missing Descriptions Meta Descriptions are no longer a ranking factor for Google––meaning that it doesn’t matter what you put in your meta descriptions because it’s not going to affect how your website ranks.

That doesn’t mean, however, that it’s completely unimportant for SEO, because it still does have an impact on how and how many people click through to view your website and that is going to have a long-term impact on SEO.

So if you don’t have a meta description, then that’s something that you should still want to fix. It’s fairly easy to do.

The first thing is to go ahead and click through and see which pages don’t have meta descriptions.

In the first column is the page URL, which is missing the meta description. Sometimes with WordPress, you’ll notice that you get URLs that have a question mark. If you look at this URL, you can see there’s a question mark right here in the middle. Everything after that question mark doesn’t really matter.

It’s a technical issue. What you can do when you see this issue, especially if you have a bunch of them, is you can go through by entering a question mark in the search bar at the top of your SEMrush page and filter them. Every URL that comes back that has a question mark in it, you can click to select all and you can just hide these issues.

Since we’re still using a filter that looks for question marks and we’ve just hit all those issues, it’s going to come back with nothing. If we go ahead and refresh that page and get rid of that question mark filter, we’re just going to come back with two URLs. And actually, these URLs look like they are the same URL. Not sure exactly why it’s being reported twice.

But in this situation, you could also go ahead and click that and hide the selected. That leaves just one unique URL.

Let’s go ahead and click through to this URL.

Edit this post, X out of any pop-ups that arise, and scroll down to your SEO settings. We’re using the all-in-one SEO pack and you can see the description is pulling some code actually.

What you can do is you can go through and enter any text here you want. This is a gallery page. You could enter a sentence or two. You have up to 160 characters. So you can use that space to enter any text you would like. That’s one way to do it.

Another way to do it if you are using the all-in-one SEO plug-in, (which we do recommend) is to go in your left-hand navigation, find the all-in-one SEO, and go to the general settings.

If you scroll down, there’s a setting somewhere down here called auto-generate descriptions.

What that’s going to do is if you don’t enter a description manually, that’s going to enter one for you, and it’s going to create that automatically. What it typically does is it takes the first 160 or 150 characters from your page and use that as the meta description tag.

When we do this, I also like to check off this second box ‘Use Content for Auto-generated descriptions’

What that does is you can see in the issue that I just showed you, it was returning code as the meta description, which would not be helpful to a user at all.

What I like to do is check the second box and that’s just going to come back and make sure that real text is actually populated in that description field. It will use the first 150, 160 characters, or whatever is appropriate.

If you set it up that way, you really don’t have to worry about meta descriptions at all. Even if you add new pages, you don’t have to add meta descriptions to them. As I said, since meta descriptions are not a ranking factor for SEO, you don’t have to worry about it affecting how your website is going to rank at all. That will take care of it.

The only thing that you do want to think about is in terms of user perspective. If you go over here to the front page of Google (I just did a search for car dealerships near me), and we scroll down to the organic listings, you can see here is the meta description.

From your personal experience, you probably know that sometimes these are helpful. A lot of times, they’re probably not. That’s one reason I think that Google came out publicly and said it doesn’t matter what you put in your meta description, we’re not using it as a ranking factor.

What you do want to pay attention to is make sure that it reads nicely.

I’m sure you’ve seen meta descriptions that are just stuffed with keywords, and that’s not going to really appeal to many people in order to have them click through to your website.

Obviously, your goal is to have people click through to your website. Put something in here that you think is going to be attractive to get people to go and view that page.

A lot of times you’ll see something in the meta description that is kind of very salesy. Personally, I don’t care about that much. I tend to look for something that’s a little more factual and even appears to be written more by a third party.

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