How to Add Keywords and Meta Descriptions in WordPress: The Complete Beginner’s Guide

Rank with Meta Keywords and Descriptions

by Montel Anthony
Published: Updated:

Adding keywords and meta descriptions in WordPress can seem daunting for beginners. But it doesn’t have to be! Proper usage of keywords and meta descriptions is crucial for improving your website’s SEO and increasing traffic.

In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through everything you need to know about adding keywords and meta descriptions in WordPress.

Key Takeaways:

  • Meta keywords and descriptions allow search engines to understand your content better. This improves rankings and traffic.
  • While meta keywords have low importance today, meta descriptions are critical for click-through-rate.
  • Plugins like All in One SEO make adding meta tags easy. You can do it for posts, pages, archives etc.
  • Focus on creating descriptive meta descriptions between 150-160 characters. Use relevant keywords naturally.
  • Meta titles and meta descriptions show up in Google search results. A good meta description boosts CTR.
  • You can also add keywords and meta descriptions for your homepage, categories, tags etc.

Why You Need Keywords and Meta Descriptions

But first, let’s understand why keywords and meta descriptions are important for SEO.

Meta keywords and descriptions allow you to provide more context to search engines about your content. You are telling Google and other search engines what your page or blog post is about.

  • The meta description is a short summary of the content.
  • The meta keywords are relevant words and phrases related to the content.

Adding a proper meta description and keywords results in:

  • Better SEO understanding – Search engines can better grasp what the page is about.
  • Higher click-through rate – An appealing description gets more people to click through to your content.
  • Improved rankings – Relevance signals from keywords and descriptions lead to better rankings.

In short, keywords and meta descriptions help search engines understand your content, leading to more clicks and better rankings.

Now let’s see how this actually looks in search engine results:

Meta Description of Cloudorian

As you can see, the meta title and meta description show up prominently in Google search results.

An appealing title and description can improve click-through-rate (CTR), getting you more organic traffic.

So properly adding them is crucial for good SEO and driving more visitors to your website.

Next, let’s look at each in more detail.

All About Meta Keywords

Meta keywords are important words and phrases that are relevant to the content on the specific page.

For example, if you have a post about ‘WordPress SEO’, some meta keywords could be:

  • WordPress SEO
  • Improve WordPress SEO
  • Optimize WordPress for search engines
  • etc

In the past, stuffing a lot of meta keywords was a popular SEO tactic. But search engines algorithms have evolved a lot since then.

Today, meta keywords have very little SEO value.

In fact, most modern search engines like Google don’t even look at meta keywords for rankings.

Their algorithms are now advanced enough to understand content without needing to rely on keywords. Instead, they analyze factors like:

  • Page content
  • Title tags
  • Headings (H1, H2 etc)
  • Internal links
  • And many more…

So you may be wondering – should you even bother with meta keywords?

Our recommendation is to go ahead and add relevant meta keywords, but don’t stress too much over it.

Think of it as a way to provide additional content signals rather than something that will directly impact rankings. Avoid keyword stuffing – instead, focus on quality and relevance.

Now let’s move on to meta descriptions, which are much more important.

The Importance of Meta Descriptions

The meta description is a short summary of what the page or blog post is about.

Meta descriptions are used in two important ways:

  • Improved CTR – They show up prominently in search results and can improve click-through-rate.
  • Better content understanding – Meta descriptions provide additional context about the content to search engines.

Let’s expand on both of these benefits:

1. Increase Click-Through Rate with Meta Descriptions

As discussed above, meta descriptions show up in search engine results pages.

For example, here is a search result for ‘seo tools in 2024’:

seo tools in 2024

If the user finds the description compelling, they are more likely to click through to your content.

In fact, one study showed that click-through-rate drops 35% when no meta description is present!

Clearly, a good description encourages users to check out your content from search results.

2. Help Search Engines Understand Pages Better

Along with users, search engines also use meta descriptions to better understand what a specific page is about.

Descriptions provide additional context about the page to search engines, which can improve rankings.

Google may also sometimes display your meta description on SERPs instead of generating its own description.

In short:

  • Meta descriptions improve click-through-rate. A compelling description encourages users to click from search results.
  • It provides extra signals to search engines about your content, which can lead to better rankings.

So in comparison to meta keywords, meta descriptions have much more SEO value today. That’s why we recommend focusing your optimization efforts on crafting good descriptions.

Best Practices for Meta Descriptions

To maximize the SEO benefits of meta descriptions, follow these best practices:

1. Create a Unique Description for Each Page

Avoid duplicating the same meta description across your entire site. Each page or post should have its own unique description.

Craft a description specifically about the content on that particular page.

2. Write Descriptions Between 150-160 Characters

Google generally truncates snippets longer than 160 characters. Very short descriptions under 120 characters also have lower CTR.

Aim for meta description length between 150 and 160 characters (including spaces). This is the optimal length for maximum visibility and click-through-rate.

3. Make the Description Accurately Summarize Content

Readers will feel cheated if they click through to a page that seems unrelated to the description. Make sure your description accurately represents the actual content.

Use simple language to provide an overview of what readers can expect on the page.

4. Create Compelling, Engaging Copy

Your meta description won’t be clickable if the copy is boring or overly stuffed with keywords.

Write the description in an engaging way – use conversational language and highlight the main benefits readers will get from your content.

5. Include Relevant Keywords Naturally

Work your most important keywords into the description naturally without stuffing. You can bold keywords on mouseover to remind readers what the page is relevant for.

Focus on creating compelling copy rather than shoehorning in keywords.

Follow these meta description best practices, and you will notice your pages generating more clicks from search engine results!

Next, let’s look at how to actually add keywords and meta descriptions in WordPress.

How to Add Keywords and Meta Descriptions in WordPress

There are two main ways to add meta tags in WordPress:

  1. Directly in your theme – By editing the theme’s header.php file
  2. Using SEO plugins – Plugins like All in One SEO provide an easier UI

Coding meta tags directly in the theme can get complex. Beginners are much better off using a dedicated SEO plugin.

For this article, we will show you how to add keywords and meta descriptions using All in One SEO. It’s the most beginner-friendly SEO plugin available.

Installing and Activating All in One SEO

First, you need to install and activate the All in One SEO plugin.

When you activate All in One SEO, it will take you through a simple setup wizard. Follow the on-screen instructions to configure the basics for your site.

After completing setup, click ‘Finish Setup and Go to Dashboard’.

Enabling Meta Keywords in All in One SEO

By default, All in One SEO comes with meta descriptions enabled but has meta keywords disabled.

Here’s how to enable it:

  • Go to All in One SEO » Search Appearance » Advanced in your WordPress dashboard.
  • Switch the toggle for ‘Use Meta Keywords’ from ‘No’ to ‘Yes’.

This will enable the meta keywords field allowing you to add keywords to your pages.

You can also choose to generate keywords automatically from categories and tags. The plugin has some other options like dynamically populating keywords too.

We recommend adding keywords manually for more control. Auto-generated keywords may not always be relevant.

After enabling meta keywords, click ‘Save Changes’ at the bottom.

Adding Keywords and Meta Descriptions to Posts and Pages

To add meta tags to a post or page, follow these steps:

  1. Edit the post and scroll down to the ‘AIOSEO Details’ box.
  2. For meta description, enter your description into the field provided.
  3. The preview snippet automatically updates as you type. Craft an engaging description between 150-160 characters.
  4. To add keywords, click the ‘Advanced’ tab and enter your main keywords.
  5. Add 4-5 relevant keywords maximum for each page. Avoid keyword stuffing.
  6. Save or publish the post for your keywords and meta description to be added.

That’s it! All in One SEO makes it super easy to optimize your content.

You can also use dynamic tags in your meta descriptions. For example, insert the author name or post date automatically.

The plugin has an AI assistant that provides auto-generated descriptions too. We recommend manual entry for more control.

Adding Meta Tags for Your Homepage

All in One SEO also allows you to customize the meta description and keywords for your WordPress homepage.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Go to All in One SEO » Search Appearance » Global Settings
  2. Scroll down to the Homepage section
  3. Add your meta description and keywords for the homepage here
  4. You can also add dynamic tags like {post_title}, {site_title} etc
  5. Click ‘Save Changes’ once done.

And you’re all set! The plugin will now insert the meta tags you added for your homepage.

Make sure to set unique descriptions and keywords for other important pages like About Us, Contact etc.

Adding Meta Descriptions to Category and Tag Pages

Here are the steps to add a meta description to your blog’s category and tag pages:

  1. Go to Posts » Categories and edit the category
  2. Scroll down to the AIOSEO box
  3. Enter a meta description specific to that category
  4. You can also add keywords under the ‘Advanced’ tab
  5. Save your changes for it to take effect

Repeat this process for all your main blog categories and tags. The meta description will be used on the archive pages for those taxonomies.

And that’s it! By following the steps above, you can easily add optimized meta keywords and compelling descriptions in WordPress.

Wrapping Up

Properly optimizing your content with keywords and descriptions should be a key part of your SEO strategy.

We hope this detailed guide helped you learn precisely how to add meta tags in your WordPress site. Happy optimizing!

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