Matt Cutts Answers If Every Page Needs To Have A Unique Meta Description

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Matt Cutts Answers If Every Page Needs To Have A Unique Meta Description

Matt Cutts, Google’s head of search spam, answers a question about meta descriptions in his latest video where a user writes in to ask:

Is it necessary for each single page within my website to have a unique metatag description?

When it comes to metatag descriptions, Matt says there are really only two viable options. You can either have unique metatag descriptions, or you can choose not to put any metatag description at all. Definitely don’t have duplicate metatag descriptions.

A very easy way to avoid having duplicate metatag descriptions is by registering and verifying your website with the free Google Webmaster Tools console. Google will crawl your website and tell you if they find duplicate metatag descriptions.

Generally speaking, Matt says it’s probably not worth your time to write a unique metatag description for every single page on your website. Matt doesn’t even bother to do that on his own blog. 

Matt recommends doing this only on pages that really matter. Such as your home page or pages that have high ROI. If you notice that some of your pages have really bad auto-generated snippets, you should consider writing a unique metatag description for those as well.

To sum everything up, you should avoid having duplicate metatag descriptions on all pages. Instead, write unique descriptions for some pages and just let Google auto-generate the rest.

What do you think about Matt Cutts’ latest video? Do you write unique metatag descriptions for all pages? Let me know in the comments section!

You can see the full video below:

Matt Southern
Matt Southern is the lead news writer at Search Engine Journal. His passion for helping people in all aspects of online marketing flows through in... Read Full Bio
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  • Well, whenever i create a new page or post on my site, i keep aside about 10 mins for the On page factors like Page Title, Meta Description, Image Optimization, Having built my website in WordPress, i have SEO by Yoast installed to mange the on page factors. So really, it doesn’t take a lot of time and i do it for all my pages and posts.

  • “Do you write unique metatag descriptions for all pages?”
    Simply yes. For smaller website apr to 100 web pages we can write it manually. At larger pages is description mostly some kind of “snippet” from page.

    We are looking for trouble issues at Google webmaster tools.


    • According to what Matt says, there seems to be nothing wrong with that at all. If you have the time to do it, and it’s working for you, keep at it! 🙂

  • Hello Matt Southern,

    First of all I want to thank you for providing this information. But I want to write my own opinion which is I am using unique Meta Description for each and every web pages since long time such as year 2011. I have never used duplicate Meta Description for any website, because it is not good for search engine optimization.

    People who are using duplicate Meta Description tag should learn from your shared blog. I hope this blog will help many people who are unaware of Meta Description tag.

    • Thanks for sharing, I do the same for my site as well, and also for clients’ sites when I’m hired to optimize theirs. As long as you have the time to write unique descriptions for all pages, go for it! Can’t always rely on auto-generated descriptions to provide users with the best info.

  • Every page that you want to increase click through rate from SERPS should have a unique meta description to encourage click through!

    • I completely agree with that. Specially for Ecommerce site owners. Auto generated meta description for ecommerce site will simple be garbage and meaningless which will definitely reduce click through. At that point i do feel like self constructed meat description is much more useful than auto generate description by google.

  • FYI, my boss posted a blog with no description tag and someone with the same name as him died, So the description tag Google generated, had he died and then second line was snippet from his post. It is extremely important especially in a regulated industry you tag each page uniquely and not leave it to Google to set your message or tone at least as long as description tags show up in search results. This is your early point for click through and surprised Matt didn’t stress that.

  • I have to agree with him to a certain extent, it’s not nescessary to write meta descpription on pages that barely see search engine light.

    However, out of the box, and when launching a new site, it’s a vital part to include good meta descriptions that encourage users to click your website.

    • Exactly, you have to pick and choose when it’s necessary for your particular site.

  • Till now I have never actually written meta description for every page, other than the fact that i have tested it for once or may be twice to see what exactly happens if we do it.

    But now that it has been said by matt cutts himself, i am sure that i wont be using it much now

    • As long as your website isn’t hard coding duplicate descriptions for your pages, keep doing what you’re doing if it’s working for you 🙂

  • James Halloran

    So, just to clarify — having duplicate meta tags counts as duplicate content in Google’s eyes? If so, that’s good to know for SEO.

    • Yes, that’s pretty much it. Stay away from duplicate meta tags as much as possible.

  • Why would I let Google create the snippet for me? I get and understand about the not having duplicated Meta descriptions but is the content if worth putting on a website why would I not create my own Meta description?

    • In certain cases I understand why Matt says it’s not necessary to write unique descriptions, but in other cases the auto-generated snippets can be downright awful. You just have to pick and choose when it’s appropriate.

    • I agree with Matt, with time being a constraint, you have to pick and choose. When would you rely on Google’s snippets? When you need to conserve time, keep costs low for the SEO client.

      On ecommerce sites, people are often shopping for price and not paying a whole lot of attention to the SERP descriptions. That said, if you let Google auto-generate the description, they will generally grab a snippet of text surrounding the search term from your page content. That at least serves the purpose of confirming your page is a viable choice for SERP viewers because it contains the original search term. It’s often enough to encourage a click thru where they can dig deeper for pricing information.

  • I think main thing is not creating duplicated metas as he said. Even Moz checking duplicates . What i am doing is dividing site according to competition , average site rank well with good unique contents but only with title tag. If it big site using CMS it should have ability to create metas automatically rather than wasting of many hours for creating meta tags .

  • I think Title tag is only important and Description is very rarely grab by search engine. It usually most of time use page content to show in Search page.. So I think it is better to spend time to create Title Tag – rest we can skip…

    • I agree that Title tag is more important than description but click through will increase more with good description

      • Yash


        To increase CTR – I think you need more relevant keyword in page or description – such as – A page is called Book Ticket Assam Tourism – and you skip Description but webpage has that keyword than people can click more –

        And –

        If you have description with Assam Tourism or anything else than also Google will skip Description and fetch content….

        So, bottom line is – need nice content for user with complete info…

        I guess you agree with me.

  • We must make a unique description of each page if possible as it will increase our visibility and click through in SERPS. Yes if pages are too many or you do not have a time to write, just leave them blank

    • That makes sense to me.

      • Aditya

        Writing a Unique content for single page is hectic…..but if it is done definitely the page rank will increase and serp will be good,this gives boost for the people who search the websites with keywords.

  • Yes every Page needs its Own Meta description, but it must contain the target keywords for your SEO, and also the page must also have the keyword, you will not rank well in Google with Poor content.

  • Hey Nice Article, really very helpful, but i have a question,
    Is it really important to use Meta Description tags for pages?
    Do Google consider it as a Ranking Factor?

  • Hi Matt

    Nice Article. Good to see people directly from google replying to mere humans! 🙂
    We are developing a “single page” website, which is quite a trend these days to one of our clients. They have unique content for each single section, on this case, we have two ways that I could figure out to expose “meta descriptions” of those sections:
    1) Using one unique meta description and try to put as much information there that covers the all sections or 2) using a js library called phantom.js (widely used with backbone and node.js ) where I can give to Google bot different meta description depending on the section you land /#section1 or /#section2 . My question is: Considering we will use option 2, will Google identify the website as spam if finds out it’s one single page providing multiple meta descriptions even in fact it’s different sections?

    Sorry for the long comment. Best