What is a Meta Description ?

The meta description of your page or post, while not all that important to rankings can be incredibly important on click through rates when your pages come up for Google searchers.

The pages that are revealed when we use Google Search to find information on the Internet are known as SERPs or Search Engine Results Pages. Where our pages (or article posts) are listed in the SERPs is commonly referred to as our "Rank".

Of course, we all want the Number 1 slot in the SERPs when anyone keys in our chosen keywords.

But, have you wondered about the description that is revealed when our pages come up in that list? This is the information pulled from the Meta Description we either key in OR allow All-in-One SEO plug-in to pull automagically.

For example, here is one of my pages in the SERPs:

Okay, so the wee description below "A quick and simple explanation of LSI keywords and how they can be used to enhance SEO." is the actual Meta Description I used when I created this post a long time ago. I should have actually done a better job, but this article was simply created to support a much larger article. :-)

These are also referred to as the "snippet" - because it's a mere snippet of the article/page - the main idea. Cute term, right? Sounds like a type of fish to me, but then I'm getting hungry.

Regardless, you get the idea.

Now, as you can imagine, there are hundreds, if not, millions of articles on this topic. This article isn't even on page 1. But, if it were and YOU were the Google Searcher, how this reads in comparison to the competition can be extremely important.

It could be the difference between a click on a link that is ranking in THIRD place versus a click on the FIRST place ranking. (While not always the case, of course) But, when we scan down page one and the description of the link just really sucks, I'm not going to click on it.

I'm going to CLICK on the relevant one. The one written for exactly what I'm searching for, right?

So, when creating your Meta Descriptions, think of them as a sorta Ad Copy for your articles and pages.

I have seen many folks just allow the first sentence to automatically be used as part of the meta description and it has very little to do with the actual article you're trying to rank!




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mbouteiller Premium
Hi Pj, thank you for this tutorial.

I've been following it but the Meta Description is not working.

I have placed a checkmark in the Excerpt box in the upper right in Screen Options of my Post Editor. Then I scrolled down in my Post Editor and put a 'Meta Description' in the Excerpt box. (no more than 160 characters).

I have some questions...

1. When I look in my All-In-SEO into Advance Settings, the Autogenerate Descriptions has no checkmark is this correct?

2. How do I get the Featured Image in SERP to show when I use the Excerpt box? You mentioned 'The image is pulled from the "Featured Image" function of the post (this is found on the right margin when you're in edit mode.'
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NileyR Premium
Best training I have read so far, it might seem alot but its very easy to follow, I was smiling throughout, bookmarked, now let me go and do the needful. My site has a trillion issues and I hope I will find similar trainings that will help me to fix all the other issues.
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lakbar12 Premium
Thank you, this article has helped me. I was not sure what to do with those sections. I just know that they were empty and bare. I appreciate the help!
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DianneBee Premium
Always a good reminder to pay attention to this item!
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ChristinaT10 Premium
Thank you for this training! Just the info I was looking for.
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Lolita2 Premium
Thanks for this training. It was very informative. Very easy to follow your clear and concise steps.
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ozuell Premium
I have been trying to get a handle on meta tags and descriptions. This is the clearest description I have found. Thanks so much!
Zuell
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Chezbrown Premium
Thanks for this training, excellent information. xx
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Donro Premium
Excellent info. Thanks!
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KarenEB Premium
Thank you - really helpful.
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shashe Premium
Thank you, Pj. Great info as always. shary
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Colorman Premium
That's great info Pj. Am not sure why some people advise you to ignore it.
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JennieG Premium
Great training, thanks so much....my head is bursting with all this info...have to go and apply it now!
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TitaWorks Premium
Just went through my whole site and worked on the meta descriptions and that. Thanks, Pj....good training.
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craqers Premium
Thanks. . . I think. :)

I just spent a lot of time improving my descriptions!

Wendy
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RoriO Premium
Pj,
You say "The image is pulled from the "Featured Image" function of the post (this is found on the right margin when you're in edit mode." I do not find the Featured Image on the right side within my editor. How do I access this?
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LindaSMcRae Premium
Hello, I am not PJ, but maybe this will help you! Let me know!
Linda
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RoriO Premium
Linda, I do not have that there. I find I often do not have things as pictured or described. Makes me feel like I'm in the twilight zone!
Thanks for trying to help.
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RoriO Premium
However, I did get a lot of help from PJ in PM and I think I have it sorted out. Things shouldn't be so hard that I can't follow simple instructions, but that seems to be the status quo for me.
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PjGermain Premium
Rori, your template doesn't have a "Featured Image" function.

I would recommend (although it's a good bit of work) swapping out your template with another.

When you do your search in WordPress for additional "themes" or "templates", there is a "Feature Filter" to only show those with the "Featured Image" function. I also set the filter for "Two Column" and "Custom Options".

This will return some really good templates that have all the bells and whistles.
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RoriO Premium
Thanks, PJ!
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RoriO Premium
Hey PJ,
How strongly do you recommend I change my website theme to add the Featured Image function, and possibly Two Column and Custom Option? I want to but right now feel it's more important to get my social media and more blog posts with keywords under way. Will I wish I had made the switch sooner rather than later? Or is it just as complicated to do it now as it will be later?
Thanks!
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rjkennedy Premium
Like this information. Thanks
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MsMerry Premium
I am using Yoast so I think it is all configured as I write my own excerpt below. I do have a question, some say to use both all in one SEO and Yoast. Is this necessary? Would they be in conflict at all?
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PjGermain Premium
That's overkill! Pick one or the other. :-)
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MsMerry Premium
yay! I did. tks Pj
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RoriO Premium
1) I don't have the Keywords field you are showing. (See my attached screenshot at bottom.)

2) Also, I do not have the "Featured Image" function you say is found on the right margin when you're in edit mode.

Is this because I am still set on "automagic" via AIO SEO?

3) Lastly, what do you mean by
"Lastly, be careful not to duplicate your meta titles or meta descriptions. Don't confuse the search engines with duplicates. This can also mess up your social sharing."

As my social sharing has been messed up for three weeks, and I have been following your posts to try to clean it up for that long (and still failing and flailing), I have to ask,

Can you clarify for me where the meta titles or meta descriptions would be duplicated? Do you mean between each other, or duplicated somewhere else?

Thanks so much. Excellent info. Sorry I get confused when things don't look as described and no matter what I do I can't get my social sharing to work properly.

Rori
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MsMerry Premium
Great questions. If anyone can help it will be Pj. :)
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PjGermain Premium
Hi Rori,

Okay, I apparently need to create some updated training on how to configure All-in-One SEO correctly. There are certain settings which enable that keyword function to appear below the posts as I indicated in this training.

Click on your All-in-One > General Settings link.
Scroll down quite a bit and you'll see a Keywords radio button as indicated within my image attached. I'm going to venture to say that yours is not turned on.

Clarification on meta title and meta description.

What i mean here is don't simply use the exact same phrase of the meta title within the meta description. You want your meta description to include your chosen keywords, but you also want it to be enticing to the web user when they do a Google search and your article shows up in the list. Does that make sense?
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PjGermain Premium
For your Social settings, please ensure you have the Social Settings option of All-in-One enabled.

In this image, I show how this should appear as an element below the All-in-One. Please ensure you have this feature enabled. It is not on by default when you first install the plugin.

You have to click the Feature Manager (second arrow) and Activate it. Then, the tab will show up under each article when you're editing.
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RoriO Premium
Yep, my Keywords radio button was not turned on! I've really enjoyed your lessons on all of this and on LSI keywords. I appreciate your pragmatic explanations and I will be checking your posts as they come in. I appreciate your helping the SEO cause for WA members. Great job! Thanks so much!!
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RoriO Premium
I have discovered this is truly the case, MsMerry.
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MsMerry Premium
Yes, Pj is pretty awesome and so kind to help us. Glad you have it all sorted out now.
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PjGermain Premium
Awesome. You're quite welcome. Please let me know if you continue to have difficulty straightening this all out.
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RoriO Premium
Thank you my kind friend. I will be back at it tomorrow. Have lots of "duplicate" messages to figure out and may have to take you up on your offer! (Hope not.)
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RoriO Premium
Pj, I'm back. I'm not sure how to handle this (see attached).
Should I deactivate the Social Meta in All In One SEO pack Feature Manager, or the other being output by the other plugin/s or theme?

Also, Kyle got back to me suggesting I install the plugin Socialable. If I do that what do I need to get rid of?
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NileyR Premium
You are not alone dear, when you ask questions it helps people like me too.
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LouisaB Premium
Thank you I learn something new again. Ver y helpful.
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Lilika84 Premium
This is great! Thank you :)
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CDecker Premium
So very glad I found this. Loes directed me to your other training on AIO SEO settings and I clicked a link within that training. SO Thankful you put these together. :) Very Helpful. Cary
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MurrayD Premium
Hi PJ, are you saying writing a short catching sentence before the start of your article?
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NRosales Premium
Hi PJ, thanks again for a more clear and vivid explanation.
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r19f54l Premium
Thanks for the info. I appreciate you taking the time to post. My problem is too often it takes several times of reading and being exposed to something to penetrate my thick skull.

In this case, I can clearly hear the music but don't yet understand the lyrics.
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NileyR Premium
You sound like me, I am teething right now, my day is made, you are very funny...am laughing so hard :) after reading your comment, am not alone afterall.
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peterzichun Premium
thanks PJ answered a lot of my questions here
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TanjaRita Premium
Great training! Took me a while to finally take a look at it, but glad I did now. Quick question. If we are manually filling out the meta description within AIO SEO should we put that same info into the excerpt section that wordpress offers? Or just choose one?

Also, what exactly do you mean by "be careful not to duplicate your meta titles or meta descriptions"?
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TonyMonzon Premium
hey peej, in my opinion creating the meta tags on individual pages sounds best.but is good to know that you have options. thanks for the training. ;0)
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PjGermain Premium
Thanks Tony!
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LindaSMcRae Premium
WOW! This is really informative and so very helpful, my gosh how did you learn all of this? Now, I must reread and try to follow your training!
Thanks again! :) Linda
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PjGermain Premium
LOL! Thanks Linda. You will also. It's just a matter of time! Cheers!
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NORZ Premium
Another great training Peej. Thank you. :)
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PjGermain Premium
Thanks a bunch!
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KJ71 Premium
well done PJ! starred and saved
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PjGermain Premium
Thanks a bunch KJ!!
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KJ71 Premium
you bet! now if i can just figure it out lol
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PjGermain Premium
LOL! It will begin to gel in time!
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Muule Premium
Thanks for this training, pj! Saving it!
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PjGermain Premium
Much appreciated Angela!
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Darkblood Premium
Awesome article. Though there is no option for "Excerpts" for pages. It's only available for posts in WP dashboard. I've found an article on how you can modify functions.php to add "Excerpts" in pages too. If you think it's useful please add it to the training.
Source : http://www.wpbeginner.com/plugins/add-excerpts-to-your-pages-in-wordpress/
Thanks for Sharing :-)
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PjGermain Premium
Abdul, did you see the wee note on page 3? It's an update on how to add the Excerpts option. Have you tried that?
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Darkblood Premium
Yup, but that enabled it only in my posts. When I wanted to do the same on my pages, it didn't provide me with Excerpts options box under screen options, until I added the code.
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Darkblood Premium
Maybe it's theme specific, as you need to modify the themes function.php. My theme didn't support it I guess.
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PjGermain Premium
Yep, precisely!
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Dmorrow Premium
Bookmarked!
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PjGermain Premium
Thanks very much!!
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NanMarie Premium
You always have very good information. Thanks again.
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PjGermain Premium
Thanks a bunch Nan!
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JaniceNichol Premium
Thank you for sharing. Very good information. So much to learn.
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PjGermain Premium
Much appreciated Janice!
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rsb94 Premium
This is good info. Thanks
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PjGermain Premium
Thanks a bunch Rick!
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DianneBee Premium
Very useful details! Thanks so much!
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PjGermain Premium
Much appreciated Diane!!!
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Dreamer56 Premium
Hey PJ If you don't mind send these straight to me so I don't miss any . Just playing man. Great information as always.
Tim
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PjGermain Premium
LMAO!!!!! Thanks a bunch Tim!!
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justcruzin Premium
Nice! Thanks PJ
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PjGermain Premium
Much appreciated!
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MKearns Premium
Yet another gem in your marketing catalogue of excellence.
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PjGermain Premium
Thanks again Micheal!!!!
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LenaMiglena Premium
Hurray, it worked! But is this ranked somehow or this is only to modify the snippet view for something more appealing? Either way, I like it.
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PjGermain Premium
It's to help the presentation of your link's description when it IS finally ranked. Let's say your link comes up on Page 1 of Google, but you're not in the number 1 slot yet. Let's say your link is Number 3. But, when I scan down the page and the first description totally stinks (even though it owns slot 1) I'm going to click yours, because the description is better and closer to what I was searching for. So, it's like an advertisement for your article. It really doesn't help SEO, BUT.... it can help "sell" that click!
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DarleneB Premium
Thanks for the tutorial. Great stuff as usual
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PjGermain Premium
Thanks Darlene!!! Always a treat to "see" you! ;-)
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LenaMiglena Premium
I don't see Excerpt and I don't know why....
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PjGermain Premium
Ah! Hold that thought, Lena..... Going to add an update to this training to cover that!!!!
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PjGermain Premium
Okay, UPDATED - see Page 3 of the training. This will enable that box for you!
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LenaMiglena Premium
I like how it says Update for Lena:)
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PjGermain Premium
LOL! I certainly didn't wantcha to miss it! ;-)
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Mac01 Premium
Thanks for sharing this info PJ, liked and liked!
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PjGermain Premium
Thank again Mac! Much appreciated!
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wrs Premium
Good info PJ. Thanks
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PjGermain Premium
Thanks a bunch, Bill!
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LenaMiglena Premium
Ah, I have a question - Yoast or All in One? I read that YOAST is better than All in One? Your opinion would be greatly appreciated!
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PjGermain Premium
I was running Yoast prior to coming aboard with Wealthy Affiliate. It is certainly very good. But, the training here is all about All-in-One, so I switched over to help others. I can say that these are the two TOP 2 SEO plug-ins available. :-)
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LenaMiglena Premium
Does really Yoast tells you if you are not using your keyword and kind of help you with writing?
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LenaMiglena Premium
Awesome stuff, awesome stuff! I like it! Have I told you are the best?
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PjGermain Premium
LOL! Why, no, you haven't!!! Thanks so much Lena!!
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bidnesslady Premium
You're awesome, PJ!! Thanks AGAIN for the info! :)
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PjGermain Premium
Thanks very much Audry!
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AngelBcn Premium
Excellent training PJ, like always! :)
I have a question that is somehow related.
Do you know how to display a rating in the Serps?
A lot of my content are product reviews and I see a lot of websites having ratings just before the meta description ( see print screen)
I would like to have my reviews displayed like this but I don't find how to do so.
Thanks in advance!
Angélique
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IMc Premium
It's done by what's called 'schema'. There are a few plugins you can use to add it to your site.

Eg: https://wordpress.org/plugins/all-in-one-schemaorg-rich-snippets/ or https://wordpress.org/support/view/plugin-reviews/schema-creator
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AngelBcn Premium
Thank you!
That's exactly what I was looking for :)
Have a great day!
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PjGermain Premium
Yep, schema markup. Thank you both!!!!
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fmusiol Premium
Awesome!
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PjGermain Premium
Thanks again Frank!
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gmegs Premium
Excellent as Always !!!
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PjGermain Premium
Very much appreciated Joanne!!!!
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WillingToTry Premium
Thank you PJ
although I'm not quite there yet I am booking this training for future reference.
Kind regards,
~Arthur
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PjGermain Premium
Hang in there Arthur! It's just a matter of time!
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Funkydunc208 Premium
Hi Pj,
I wonder if this will apply to those of us using Yoast SEO?
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PjGermain Premium
I can't say exactly, but I'm fairly certain it does.
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Harrysastar2 Premium
Thanks PJ, reckon I'll take another look at my meta descriptions. Bookmarked.
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PjGermain Premium
Happy to help Harry!
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holly68 Premium
Thank you Pj! That's very helpful.
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PjGermain Premium
Thanks a bunch Holly!
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Dinh Premium
Keep up the training Peej!
Nicely done.
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PjGermain Premium
Thanks again Dinh!!!
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mbouteiller Premium
Hi PJ, where do I find Excerpt? I'm following your tutorial here....
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star8 Premium
I have same problem can't see any excerpt box below my post. I just realised can go to screen options and click excerpts. Then the box will turn up.
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barbaraA Premium
PJ, Thank you. I finally got it. Sometimes I have to be hit in the head a couple of times before things stick. Wow! This was great!
Barbara
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terrberr Premium
Thank you a LOT, Pj...
This is so solid, and GREAT to know!

You are already so talented and generous...now if you could just fix us a mess of snippet for supper...we're hungry too!:))
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star8 Premium
Thank you so much for this informative post! You'be made it so simple to follow.
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rmaselli2 Premium
Another lesson added to my arsenal. thanks
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PjGermain Premium
Awesome! Thanks again Ray!!!
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RobinHudson Premium
Thanks Pj ....learned a lot here, confirmed some things, and enjoyed myself as I always do reading your tutorials!
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PjGermain Premium
Outstanding! I don't like my readers to get bored! :-) Thanks so much Robin!
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MsMerry Premium
Thank you so much Pj! That really was helpful. Now I know what to do with those descriptions I did. Very much appreciated.**
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PjGermain Premium
Thanks MsMerry, we all began with the very same confusion! :-)
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JeffBoivin Premium
Thanks for sharing your knowledge. And I have learned at the same time, some tricks ... to keep the attention of the readers :) Thanks :) Cheers, Jeff
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PjGermain Premium
LOL! Thanks Jeff! I do try! :-)
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mbouteiller Premium
Lol PJ...you're AMAZING! Thank you for sharing!! I enjoy learning...

And if I understand this correctly, I can go back and make changes anytime as long as I don't change the permalink.

What is this red circle with 1 in this comment box that I'm in??
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PjGermain Premium
Correct. Don't mess with the permalink and you're good!

LOL! Red circle?
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The-Fran Premium
Excellent tutorial. I eat up any training on Wordpress, because it boggles my (programmer's) mind. lol. Thank you!

I'm so glad to read a positive article on meta tag descriptions and meta tag keywords. No matter what has been said about them over the last many years, even by Google—that they don't matter any more—simply is not born out by the proof in the pudding. They are right before our face, on every search engine result page!

Good one, Pj.
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PjGermain Premium
Outstanding perspective Fran! You never cease to amaze! Thanks a bunch!! pj
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Mike-Writes Premium
This was very helpful. Thanks for the great tutorial, PJ.
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PjGermain Premium
Thanks much Mike!!!
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RachC Premium
Thanks for sharing! :)
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PjGermain Premium
Much appreciated Rach!!!
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AussieJeff Premium
Thank's Pj, you're a legend for doing all this training for us. Have a great weekend and keep safe.
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PjGermain Premium
Thanks again Jeff!!! Much appreciated brother! Have a great weekend also!
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Aobasesan Premium
Very helpful. Thank you as usual for this training. Wishing you a wonderful weekend Peej.
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PjGermain Premium
Thanks so much Akeem! Backatcha!
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LizPB Premium
Thanks for this training! Very helpful!!

Just a question about something related...authorship. What should you do when authorship doesn't work and there's not picture beside the description? Is it very necessary and does it make a big difference in clicks?
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PjGermain Premium
Google ended support for "authorship" coding (aka rel=author) back in 2014 and announced that they were no longer going to look at that data. So, I'm gonna say it doesn't make a difference. Now, there are other circumstances that do, like Local SEO. If you can get an image in there, DO IT! It's worth a thousand words, right? :-)
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LizPB Premium
Ahh ok! That's why it doesn't work then. Thanks again!
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PjGermain Premium
;-)
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VicC Premium
Hi pj! Thx for this tutorial, I've been using the 2nd method, but sometimes lazy to fill up the Meta Desc. until I read your post here today! So, I quickly updated them! lol But, when I tried to search using google to check if the changes have been reflected, it haven't. How long do you think it will take to take effect?
Vic
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PjGermain Premium
Yea, that will take some time to reflect. Not sure exactly how long. Depends on when the search bots visit again.
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VicC Premium
Oic, I found out that in some of my post, the Google was intelligent enough to pick the most relevant sentences from my post to represent the Meta Desc. Better than my rewrite version.. hehe..
Anyway, thx again for taking the time to share this knowledge with us!
Have a nice weekend! :-)
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PjGermain Premium
Awesome! Thanks, you do the same!
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SWATTS99 Premium
This was very helpful and now I am going to go back to all my pages and posts to a Meta Description because you're right it could mean the difference between page 1 and page 3. Thank you for sharing your insight and perspective knowledge. This is why I love WA. The people make it great!

Have a great weekend,
~Shawna
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PjGermain Premium
Happy to help Shawna! Thanks for the comments! Have a Fabulous Weekend!
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shirian Premium
It really remarkable putting effort to creat informative tutorial. As always appreciate it! Thank you pj
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PjGermain Premium
Thanks very much Shirian! I hope it helps at least a few members!
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Themonkeyman Premium
another great tutorial by PJ
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PjGermain Premium
Thanks again Brad!!!
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