Tried to explain to a client yesterday about WordPress custom excerpts and how they relate visually to the blog archives page, and it got really messy when we then brought in Yoast SEO and writing a custom Google meta description. Hence this short screen cast that aims to clarify the relationship between custom excerpts, your main blog page, and the meta description for search engines.
WordPress allows you to create custom excerpts for your blog posts. If you do not create a custom excerpt, WordPress will simply pull in the first 55 words of your blog post and display it on your archives page. This is not very helpful for the user, as the first 55 words of your blog post does not necessarily give the reader a clear understanding of what the blog post is about. It also means a word and /or sentence is cut off the in middle resulting in this.
This is a sent …. [Read More].
Not very helpful!
Your custom excerpt replaces this and give you the opportunity to instead display a short sentence or paragraph clearly describing your blog post.
Google Meta Description
Meta descriptions are what show in Google search results below the page title and url.If you do not create a custom excerpt and / or a custom meta description, Google also pulls in the first “x” number of words, often cutting off sentence / word and adding the …. like WordPress.
If you write a custom excerpt, Google will pull in your custom excerpt instead, providing a much better description of your blog post in search results.
If you use the Yoast SEO plugin, you are able to create custom page titles and custom meta descriptions for your blog posts.
Depending on your custom excerpt and your chosen focus keyword for your blog post, you may or may not need to create a custom meta description in Yoast SEO.
Why? Because Google automatically pulls in your custom excerpt and uses as the meta description.
Depending on how well your custom excerpt is written in relation to your focus keyword will determine whether you need to write a custom meta description in Yoast SEO.
If you write a custom meta description in Yoast SEO, this will override your custom excerpt and display in Google search results instead of your custom excerpt.
If you are a genius and can write your custom excerpt with your keyword in mind, then you may not need to add a custom meta description in Yoast SEO.
You’ll know when you start working with Yoast SEO to optimize your blog post.
Either way, create a custom excerpt because it provides a much better experience for your user when they land on your main blog page.