How Does Meta Description Affect SEO Ranking?

Meta Description SEO Test Pagezii Blog

Meta Description & SEO Ranking

This is an old question that ponders in every SEO Managers mind. How does meta description affect SEO rankings? That’s why we tested meta descriptions to see how Google’s algorithms handle them.

Quick Note: This blog post is part of our SEO experiment series conducted by Pagezii Search Engine Experts.

What we Tested: SEO Meta Description

Our experiments focused on a set of pages that were identical, but one set had optimized meta descriptions while the other had none.

We submitted these to Google Search Console and tracked their rankings over time.


We had an interesting set of results:

  • Exact Match Search – when searching for an exact keyword match, non-meta description pages did better.
  • Phrase Match Search – with phrase match searches, optimized meta description did better.


If users are searching for exact match keywords, meta description makes no difference. This is because Google algorithms are intelligent enough to analyze optimized page content and use that information.

On the other hand, optimized meta descriptions does better when users search for variations of your keyword. It makes it easier for search engines to understand your content.

Recommendations for SEO Managers

Our Recommendation: SEO Managers should continue optimizing meta description to improve SEO rank.

Optimizing meta description casts a wider SEO net. It improves SEO rank for a broader range of keywords.

When this isn’t done, you limit your ranking ability. This is because a majority of users are not exact match searching. They’re more likely to search for keywords in a sentence or with qualifying keywords.

Meta Description Optimization Tips

Now that we know SEO managers should optimize meta description tags, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Mention Target Keyword

Optimize meta descriptions by mentioning the target keyword. Hone in on what your target users are searching for, and build content around it.

meta description seo tips for optimizing meta descritpion tags

The Earlier the Better

Mentioning the target keyword is best practice number one. Now take things one step further – mention the target keyword early in the description. This will grab the searcher’s attention quick, giving you higher CTRs.

Not too Short, Not too Long

Keep meta descriptions to two short sentences that accurately describe the page. We recommend 140 characters, about as a long as a tweet.

Optimizing Meta Descriptions

Optimizing meta descriptions is an SEO practice to keep with. While not optimizing meta descriptions won’t hurt your SEO ranking (if you’ve optimized the rest of your page well), you may miss out on phrase and broad match search types.

Optimize page descriptions moving forward, and see how SEO-friendly they are with the SEO Grader Tool.