Guide to duplicate meta descriptions in SEO.

Duplicate Meta Descriptions: Why and How to Avoid Them?

Diana Aghumyan

Table of Contents

Have you ever wondered about the impact of duplicate meta descriptions on your website’s search engine optimization (SEO)?

You carefully write meta descriptions for every page of your website and choose the right words to make users click through to your site. But what if these snippets end up being duplicates? How would that affect your SEO efforts?

Let’s find out what duplicate meta descriptions are, examine their nature, and the consequences they might hold for your website’s visibility.

What is a meta description?

But first, let’s establish a common ground. 

Meta descriptions are short pieces of text that briefly summarize your webpage’s content on Google’s search results page. 

A concise meta description not only encourages users to click through to your site but also provides search engines like Google with valuable information about your content.

Surprisingly, 25.02% of top-ranking web pages lack meta descriptions. This is indeed not good, as meta descriptions provide a great opportunity to optimize your page content in search engine results. 

Everyone talks about the importance of backlinks and other search engine optimization tactics. However, the significance of meta descriptions is not properly discussed. But it should be, as when you don’t take advantage of the opportunity to optimize your meta descriptions, search engines might generate meta descriptions on their own, which may not accurately reflect the page’s important information. 

However, the scenario takes a different turn when duplicate meta descriptions appear. Duplicate meta descriptions refer to cases where two or more web pages share the same or similar meta descriptions. While it might not seem like a major issue at first glance, the effects on your SEO efforts can be harmful.

From an SEO perspective, duplicate meta descriptions can become a huge problem when it comes to search engine crawlers’ ability to properly understand and differentiate your web pages.

Search engines want you to provide them with unique and relevant meta-descriptions so they can identify the content and the goal of a page accurately. Otherwise, search engines can find it difficult to determine which page is the most relevant for certain search queries, which can lead to lower rankings and reduced visibility.

In addition to the SEO implications, there are a number of other ways your business can get harmed when you have duplicate meta descriptions. We will discuss each of these later in a more detailed way.

Now that you have learned the basics of meta descriptions and what duplicate content is, it’s high time to jump into the main topic and discover the potential consequences of such duplications. Stay tuned as we unlock all the truth about duplicate meta descriptions.

What makes a good meta description?

It is already obvious that you need a good meta description. But what makes a good meta description? 

When it comes to crafting a good meta description, there are key elements that come into play.

The right length

Using the right meta description length is highly important. According to Ahrefs’ latest study, 40.61% of the 192,656 unique meta-descriptions were too long. This is a problem that should be avoided to ensure search engines can properly display the meta descriptions and people can quickly understand what your webpage is about before clicking on it. 

Even though there is no fixed character limit for meta descriptions, the optimal meta description length should be between 150-160 characters. By keeping it within this optimal range, you manage to provide enough details and a clean and simple appearance.

Pretty simple, right?

Focus keywords

Keywords also play a significant role in meta descriptions. These are the words or phrases that users are likely to use when looking for information related to your content. When you add the right keywords in your meta descriptions, you help search engines understand the context and relevance of your page. 

But how to find the right keywords?

By doing proper keyword research, as well as competitor backlinks analysis, you can find the best keywords to target. After finding relevant keywords, make sure to include them in your meta descriptions.

However, it’s important to avoid keyword stuffing or using it irrelevantly, as it can make the description sound spammy. Focus on using keywords in a way that sounds natural and provides helpful information to users.

Clear Call-to-Action (CTA)

A good meta description usually includes a clear and powerful call-to-action that entices users to take the desired action, such as clicking on your link, visiting your webpage, or engaging with your content in other ways. 

A clear CTA is persuasive and guides users on what step to take next. It is important to use action verbs such as “Discover,” “Learn,” “Explore,” or “Get Started” when writing CTAs. This way, you increase the chances of people taking the action you want. 

So, take the time and effort to craft meta descriptions that speak to your target audience in an accessible way. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different approaches. Analyze their performance to find the perfect combination that encourages users to click and unlock the valuable content that awaits them on your webpage.

What makes a bad meta description?

We have already learned that duplicate meta descriptions are the worst enemy of your SEO game. But are they the only thing you should be worried about? Not really. 

When it comes to meta descriptions, there are certain pitfalls you should avoid at all costs. Let’s explore four elements that make your meta description bad.

Irrelevant or misleading content

A key characteristic of a bad meta description is when it fails to properly represent the content of the webpage. This can happen when the description is confusing and promises something that does not match reality. This can surely frustrate users and harm your website’s credibility. To avoid this, make sure that your meta description aligns with the actual content.

Keyword stuffing

Another critical element that can ruin your meta description is keyword stuffing. While using relevant keywords is important, overwhelming the description with too many keywords can make it appear spammy and difficult to read. Google also penalizes such practices, as it prioritizes user experience and relevance. Therefore, you should focus on using keywords wisely.

Lack of clarity and engagement

A bad meta description fails to convey the message of your website page effectively. Vague descriptions can mislead users and turn them off. Consequently, they will have no desire to go through to your site. 

Besides, with a dull meta description, you won’t be able to stand out among your competitors. So, do your best to make your meta description clear enough to spark the curiosity of users.

Missing Call-to-Action (CTA)

A missing or poor call-to-action is another element that can negatively impact your meta descriptions. People need some guidance and motivation to click on your link, and that’s why it is a must to include a strong CTA.

Remember, meta descriptions are virtual doorways to your site, offering your prospects a glimpse of the value that awaits them. So, take the effort to make solid marketing messages along with some human touch to create compelling, concise, and engaging meta descriptions that captivate your audience and encourage them to visit your website and explore your content further.

5 ways duplicate meta descriptions harm your SEO

Lack of uniqueness

Originality is key when it comes to writing meta descriptions. When you use duplicate meta descriptions across different pages on your website, you miss the chance to express your creative side and impress users. 

Search engines strive to provide users with diverse and relevant results, and when they come across repetitive meta descriptions, they may overlook your content or, even worse, penalize your pages. 

To avoid such negative consequences, it is better to create unique meta descriptions tailored to each page’s content, as this is the only actionable way you can use to enhance your website’s visibility and increase the chances of getting more organic traffic.

Missed optimization opportunities

When you have duplicate meta descriptions, they not only compromise uniqueness but also don’t let you take advantage of valuable optimization opportunities. Each webpage on your website holds unique information and brings certain value to your visitors. By using the same or similar meta description for multiple pages, you miss out on the opportunity to optimize each page individually and enhance its visibility in search results.

Even if you decide to outsource link building to earn quality backlinks pointing to your site, it’s highly important to make sure that the pages of those backlinks lead to having unique and optimized meta descriptions.

It is crucial to check duplicate meta descriptions and fix them to make sure they align with the page’s content and reflect its unique attributes. This way, you can unlock the potential for improved search engine rankings and attract more qualified visitors.

Keyword dilution

Another drawback of using duplicate meta descriptions is keyword dilution. It happens when the same meta description is applied to multiple pages that target different keywords. It lowers the effectiveness of your keyword optimization efforts and can hinder your website from ranking well in search results.

Should you even care about this? Of course, yes, because each page on your website has a particular purpose and targets certain keywords/phrases or topics. Using duplicate meta descriptions for different pages of your website will only confuse search engines, making it harder for them to understand the purpose of your pages and rank them properly.

To avoid keyword dilution caused by duplicate meta descriptions, you should pay close attention to the individual characteristics of all pages of your website. Based on this information, you can later create unique meta descriptions that accurately reflect the targeted keywords and content of each page. 

So, it is important to check duplicate meta descriptions, to improve the relevance, visibility, and overall SEO performance of your website, as well as increase your chances of bringing organic traffic and outranking your competitors.

Poor user experience

Duplicate meta descriptions damage both your SEO efforts and user experience. When people encounter repetitive meta descriptions in search engine results, they might experience confusion and think that your website lacks originality. This can undoubtedly have a negative impact on user trust, engagement, and, ultimately, the success of your website.

bad website UX due to duplicate meta descriptions

So, what’s the solution, you may ask? Indeed, creating unique meta descriptions that accurately represent the content of each page. You create a sense of anticipation and value by providing distinct and engaging meta-descriptions. 

If you want your website to succeed, you should not neglect the user experience. With thoroughly-crafted meta descriptions, you can enhance user engagement and make people spend more time on your site and interact with your content, which allows you to easily convert them into paying and loyal customers or subscribers.

Lower click-through rates (CTR)

Duplicate meta descriptions also lead to lower click-through rates. It refers to the percentage of people visiting a website page from an ad or organic search result.

Having a high click-through rate means that your website has a good ranking on Google. It also means that your site generates more traffic per impression on Google. Besides, when you have a higher CTR, you have more conversions. Lower CTR, on the other hand, led to a decrease in organic traffic and reduced website visibility in search engine rankings. 

However, well-crafted meta descriptions can save the situation and help you attract more clicks, improve your CTR, and boost your SEO performance.

Conclusion

Duplicate meta descriptions can have a disastrous influence on your SEO. They harm your uniqueness, hinder you from making use of valuable optimization opportunities, dilute targeted keywords, create a poor user experience, and lead to lower click-through rates. 

Don’t let your hard work go in vain!

Instead, dedicate some time to create unique and captivating meta descriptions that engage users, spark their curiosity, and showcase your website’s value. The power of a thoroughly-crafted meta description can make all the difference in nailing your SEO game.

FAQ about duplicate meta descriptions

Why are duplicate meta descriptions a concern?

Duplicate meta descriptions can adversely impact search engine optimization (SEO) efforts and user experience, as they may confuse search engines and users about the relevance of different pages.

How can duplicate meta descriptions affect SEO?

Duplicate meta descriptions will not allow companies to have higher rankings in search engine results pages (SERPs), as search engines may find it difficult to identify which page is most relevant to display.

How can I identify duplicate meta descriptions on my website?

You can determine duplicate meta descriptions by reviewing your website’s HTML source code using SEO auditing tools. You can also utilize website crawlers that flag duplicate content.

How can I fix duplicate meta descriptions?

To fix duplicate meta descriptions, make sure each page has a unique and descriptive meta description that precisely communicates the page’s content. Change and optimize meta descriptions for better SEO and user engagement.

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