In our various discussions about online marketing with clients, the one phrase that often gets met with a blank or puzzled face is the phrase ‘Meta Information’.

To help clear up this phrase for others who may have come across it, we have created the following.

What the !*%£!* is Meta Information?

Meta information is the snippet of text presented in search engines for each page of your website.

It is your shop window on search engines, designed to help search engine users click on the most relevant web page for their search query.

Other names for meta information include ‘Search Result Snippets’

Below is a screen shot showing the meta information for our website within Google.

This meta information can be broken down into two main components. The meta title and the meta description.

What is the Meta Title?

The top line, shown in blue within Google, is the meta title. This should show the name of the page in question so its absolutely clear to the search user what page they are clicking on.

After all, if you click on a page within Google with the meta title ‘Fluffy Kittens In Baskets, Bags and Boxes’ you expect to see a page containing pictures of fluffy kittens in baskets, bags and boxes. Not a page selling you garden furniture.

In fact, if you were sent to a page you weren’t expecting then you would click on that ‘back’ button to bounce back to the search results and click on an alternative search result.

Meanwhile that website selling garden furniture, instead of images of kittens, would have that bounce recorded against it. This would send a negative signal to search engines like Google and the website’s appearance in search results for that keyword would be demoted. Ongoing negative signals will see that whole website demoted.

Other names for meta titles include 'Title Tag'.

What is the Meta Description?

The grey text under the website URL, which is shown below the meta title mentioned above, is the meta description.

Just like the meta title, the meta description needs to show what the web page in question is about. It is in effect a description of the web page that entices people to click through to your web page and website.

The key part of this section is ensuring that it fits within the limited space that you are provided by search engines like Google.

Previously Google only allowed short meta descriptions, but then they changed their mind and allowed longer meta descriptions of around 320 characters.

However, in recent months Google has done a complete 360 and now the meta descriptions are back to their old length. Google’s Danny Sullivan confirmed on Twitter that meta descriptions are now shorter again but there is no fixed length, instead they vary dependent on what is deemed useful by Google.

Not a clear answer from Google, however, industry standard is currently between 150 and 170 characters. It is well worth checking how your meta descriptions appear within search engines and adjusting accordingly.

Other names for meta descriptions include ‘Search Result Snippets’

Quick Fire Questions

  1. Can I use the same meta information for every page on my website?
    No. Every webpage on your website needs unique meta information.
  2. Where do I add this meta information on my page?
    Meta information should be added to the designated meta information fields on your CMS (content management system). If you don’t have these fields then we recommend contacting your website developer.
  3. It takes ages!
    We know! Meta information creation is a time consuming and often laborious task. However with a bit of research, know how, and focus, you can do it and do it well.


Meta Information should have just as much time spent on it as the actual web page itself. Most people find your website via search engines so its key that your meta information is working as hard as it can to help bring in those website visitors and more.

Published: 25th Oct 2018

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