You’ve added a meta description on WordPress using the Yoast SEO Plugin and according to Yoast SEO, you’ve met all the necessary requirements.
However, there’s one problem. Despite your content being successfully published, the meta description is nowhere to be seen!
Whether you are a seasoned user or a newcomer to Yoast, this is not an uncommon problem. In this article, we’ll help you figure out a cause and solution for this issue!
Yoast Meta Description
Yoast SEO is a popular WordPress plugin which provides search engine optimisation.
With more than five million active users, it has been downloaded over 200 million times!
It can help you optimise the slug, SEO title and meta description of your web pages.
As with any SEO plugin, it features a meta description.
An SEO meta description is an HTML tag of up to 160 characters designed to summarise the content featured on a web page.
Search engines like Google often use these snippets so that users can find out what a web page is all about before opening the link.
A meta description should feature keywords or phrases designed to appeal to the right audience.
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Yoast Meta Description SEO: How to Create One
First, let’s look at the source code we’d expect to appear as part of the <head> section.
Below the title, the meta description should appear.
You can analyse the source code of a web page either through WordPress or via a page source viewer. For instance, on Google Chrome, just right click on the page and then select ‘View page source’.
While editing in WordPress, you will see in the top-right corner of the page two different options.
‘Visual’ allows you to see the content as a written draft. ‘Text’ will let you view the page as source code.
By selecting ‘Text’, you should see the meta description in the <head> section. If it is not appearing here, then it is yet to be added.
Alternatively, you may have added the meta description but it is not appearing in the published source code. In this case, you should see the next section.
The meta description can be found toward the bottom of the page, assuming that the Yoast plugin has been correctly added to your WordPress account.
Scroll down past the entire visual/text draft and you will find ‘Yoast SEO’.
Below ‘Focus Keyphrase’, there you’ll find ‘Google Preview’. It will have a section to ‘edit snippet’. Select ‘edit snippet’ and fill in your meta description.
Yoast SEO will have parameters set it would like you meet.
The plugin will want you to have a meta description of a certain length (at least 120 characters) and to include your focus keyphrase.
Once you’ve met these suggestions, save and click on ‘text’ located in the top-right corner of the page (if it is not already selected). There, the meta description should appear.
Meta Description Not Showing in Google: Search Engine Issues
If you’ve added your meta description with Yoast SEO, there are several possible reasons why it’s not appearing on search engines like Google.
First and foremost, it’s possible that Google or another search engine has simply chosen to ignore or leave out your meta description.
Even if you’ve ticked all the boxes set by Yoast, search engines can have their own measures as to whether a meta description will or won’t appear.
Google and other search engines may simply change your meta description or remove it entirely.
Here are possible reasons why your meta description is either not appearing as you intended or at all:
- The meta description you chose is not relevant to the search query.
- The chosen meta description is either too long or not long enough.
- Your meta description chose does not accurately represent the contents of the web page.
- The meta description chosen in your HTML code repeats too often.
- You have not correctly specified a meta description.
- The search engine is not using your meta description. Instead, it is compiling a description from elsewhere (e.g. an Open Directory Project).
There is no way to guarantee that your chosen meta description will appear on search engines. However, you can improve your chances of success by taking the right approach.
By taking into consideration the above suggestions (i.e. keeping your meta description around 155-160 words, ensuring that your meta description is relevant, etc.) you can give your meta description the best odds of appearing on Google, Yahoo and other popular search engines.
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Meta Description Not Showing in Google: Yoast Changes Needed
If the issue is not with your search engine, it’s possible that there is a problem related to Yoast.
Firstly, you should check whether the necessary WordPress function is being used by your theme.
Under your theme header.php file of your web page, have a look for a call to ‘wp__head()’. This is a necessary segment of code for your Yoast SEO meta tags to output correctly.
If the theme does not come with this function, you can contact the theme developer and request that the code be changed.
The developer may be willing to alter it so that it can be made compatible with Yoast.
If your theme’s source code features the correct function, there may be an issue with the meta description template.
By using the following steps, you can verify that it has been added:
- Find ‘Admin’.
- Open Yoast SEO settings.
- Click on SEO.
- Search Appearance for the content type you are looking for.
You can ensure that a meta description template has been added in the Yoast SEO settings under Admin > SEO > Search Appearance for the content type in question.
Here, you can check whether the template has been added as part of the default for Yoast SEO on your WordPress website editor.
Yoast SEO Meta Description Not Showing: If All Else Fails
You’ve tried everything suggested and still, you’re having no success? If this is the case, then it may be that search engines are unwilling to display your meta descriptions.
This could happen because the parameters set by search engines are very strict or your web page content is not particularly compatible with how search engines are designed to display the meta descriptions of web pages.
It is possible that there is still an issue with WordPress or Yoast, however.
It is worth contacting both parties to see whether there is some unexpected glitch or error with your web page.
You can contact Team Yoast via their support email. WordPress can be contacted through their support page.
How to Get Google to Update Meta Description
Once you’ve re-published your content with an updated meta description, it should take somewhere between 7 to 15 days for Google to display these changes online.
A variety of factors play a role in determining precisely how long this will take. By maintaining a healthy site and publishing new content on a regular basis, you will improve the chances of Google showing your new meta description sooner!
We hope you enjoyed our article about what you can do if the Yoast SEO meta description is not showing.
Even if you find a solution to this problem, it is no guarantee of success online!
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