Writing Effective Meta-descriptions

Meta-descriptions provide brief summaries of webpage content. They appear on search engine results pages along with URLs and page titles. Cascade, our content management platform, allows us to enter meta-descriptions for NIU webpages. By including effective meta-descriptions on our pages, we can improve search engine optimization and help more visitors find our content.

For more information or assistance with your meta-descriptions, please contact us at webcommunications@niu.edu.

Effective Meta-descriptions

In general, effective meta-descriptions:

  • Consist of approximately 150-200 characters (with spaces).
  • Include keywords and a call to action.
  • Contain simple words and short sentences.
  • Are unique (search engines may ignore pages with duplicate meta-descriptions).

When writing meta-descriptions for NIU webpages, be sure to use NIU brand voice:

  • Address audience as “you.”
  • Use an inviting, welcoming tone.
  • Make every word count – use strong, compelling language.

How to Write Meta-descriptions

  1. Brainstorm keywords. What words and phrases would people use to search for your page’s topic?
  2. Determine a call to action. What is the desired action? What do you want the visitor to do?
  3. Take note of any distinguishing characteristics. What is unique about your topic or would be of particular interest to your audience?
  4. Incorporate select keywords, the call to action and any unique details into a few sentences. Write more text than needed and edit to the appropriate length.


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