Onpage Hero turns Google Analytics into an SEO suite. Today, we are looking at how to find and optimize your meta descriptions automatically.
Firstly, make sure you have Description and Description Length selected as part of your Onpage Hero plan. Free plans allow you to add up to 3 data points, whereas paid plans allow up to 20.
To check which datapoints you have access to, log in to your Onpage Hero account and click the little settings icon on the right. Now, select Change Datapoints to display your current setup.
The options on the left show the datapoints applied to this property. Select the dimensions Description and Description Length, click NEXT, then VIEW ANALYTICS to jump into your Google Analytics property.
What is a meta description?
Meta descriptions are found <meta name=”description”> part of your site’s source code.
Description is a custom dimension in Onpage Hero that allows you to see the meta description text of a particular page in GooAnalyticsytis. This is useful if you have a large number of pages and you want to analyze at a glance and then optimize your meta descriptions accordingly.
Why are meta descriptions important?
Meta descriptions help search engines understand the content of your page when indexing. Also, they display in search results pages and on social media sites when content is shared. They need to be optimized for SEO purposes as well as to create a great user experience.
Meta description best practices
- Give each page a unique meta description – avoid duplicate meta descriptions as Google penalizes duplicate content.
- Make your meta descriptions highly descriptive. Focus on what your users would want to click on.
- Avoid keyword stuffing. Google may reject it which is not cool.
- Use the active voice to be more engaging.
- Use a CTA to increase click-through rates (Learn more, find out more etc.)
Meta description length
Description Length is a custom dimension in Onpage Hero that shows you how long a meta description is per page. The number displayed is the number of characters.
Why is meta description length important?
A page with a very short (<50 characters) meta description may be regarded as suspicious or low quality. On the other hand, If your description is too long, it will be cut off and not displayed correctly.
Meta description length best practice
We recommend writing a description between 50 and 160 characters. There is no standard number of characters that Google displays, however, they should mean your description is displayed correctly most if not all the time.
Optimizing meta descriptions in Onpage Hero
To find these custom dimensions in Onpage Hero simply navigate to your default view within in your Google Analytics property.
Firstly, enter your Google Analytics property and navigate to:
Behaviour > Events > Top Events
Then, set Event Label as the primary dimension. This is your standard view for using Onpage Hero custom dimensions.
Not seeing any Onpage Hero data? Check that you have set up Onpage Hero correctly following this guide.
Ok, let’s take a look at our meta descriptions first. So type “meta description” as a secondary dimension to display the results.
We can see that we have a lot of optimization to do. We have a few pages with the same meta description,
Next up let’s check the description length by typing description length as a secondary dimension:
From the results, we can see that one description is well over the recommended 160 character limit. Also, some descriptions have the same number of characters which implies they may be duplicated.
Onpage Hero custom dashboards: Titles and Descriptions
To speed up your workflow, Onpage Hero has created a useful Google Data Studio custom report where you can display meta description text and length side-by-side. Head over to our dashboards page and get the Title and Descriptions report.
Once you have got the report, select your Google Analytics property from the drop-down menu to view your data.
Key Takeaways: Description and Description Length
Use the Onpage Hero custom dimensions Description and Description Length to optimize your meta descriptions on your website. Speed up your workflow by using a custom dashboard.
Check out how to detect the following meta tags in Onpage Hero
- Canonical URL – set the definitive version of each page
- Hreflang – make sure your language settings are correct
- Robots – tell search engine crawlers what to crawl
Any issues or feedback? Let us know about your issues and product feedback via firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to help you.