Generate Meta Descriptions Automatically in Google Sheets
If you’re an SEO specialist, you have definitely, at some point, spent time writing and optimizing meta descriptions for content on your site or your clients’ sites.
Most of you will agree with me that writing meta descriptions can be a very boring and monotonous job, especially if you are doing it at scale for hundreds or thousands of pages.
Reading the content on a page and then writing a relevant description for what that page is about, can take quite a bit of time.
The digital marketing world is increasingly moving towards efficiency and getting more done in less time.
Enter the Meta Descriptions Writer Google Sheets add-on to help you with writing meta descriptions at scale. Let’s look at how you can use this add-on
But wait, are meta descriptions still that important for SEO? Can’t I just let Google pick the best description for that page for me?
Well, of course, you can. If you don’t have meta descriptions in place, Google will automatically, generate one for you.
In fact, for large websites with thousands of pages, most SEOs only optimize the “key” pages and leave the rest for Google to automatically generate one.
This might not be the best approach since Google-generated descriptions may not always be what you want and may not be the best.
And besides, having an optimized title and description is key to improving your SERP CTR, which in turn is going to help you with rankings and traffic.
Automating meta descriptions with the Meta Descriptions Writer Google Sheets Add-on:
Here’s a step-by-step guide to using the add-on. There is also a 3-min video tutorial below to guide you through the process:
Just head over to this link and Install the add-on
Next, enter the web page URL, that you want to generate a description for, in any cell.
Select the cell and then go to “Add-ons” → “Meta Descriptions Writer” and click on “Get Meta Description”.
Within anywhere between 10 and 30 seconds, depending on the amount of content on the page, you will see the description for the page show up in the cell to the right:
There’s also another interesting feature that you can use – you can specify the length that you would want for the meta description that is being generated.
Just specify the character length in the cell next to the URL. Select both cells and follow the same process – “Add-ons” → “Meta Descriptions Writer” and click on “Get Meta Description”.
Note that the length of the generated description might not be exactly equal to the input length.
This is because the add-on uses an extractive summarization technique (explained below) where it would not be able to truncate sentences midway. Hence, it would try its best to create a description that would be as close as possible to the input character length.
Automatically Generating Meta Descriptions in bulk:
You can also add multiple URLs in bulk, select them all, and follow the same process for a bulk operation. This would take anywhere between ten to thirty seconds for each description so depending on how many URLs you’ve added, in a short while you would see all the descriptions show up.
Under the hood – How does the add-on work?
The add-on uses a component of artificial intelligence called natural language processing or NLP to extract the most important content from the webpage and summarize it
A quick fundamental overview of the two types of AI-based text summarization techniques – Extractive and abstractive summarization:
Extractive Summarization: This method finds the most important sentences in the text and strings them together to form a summary. It does not rewrite sentences. The current version of the Meta Descriptions Writer Google Sheets Add-on uses this summarization technique.
Abstractive summarization – This method finds key phrases in the text and rewrites sentences to create a summary, similar to how a human being would summarize a sentence.
We are currently working on implementing abstractive summarization in the next version of the add-on, which should be released shortly and would further improve the quality of the summarization.
Can meta descriptions be completely automated?
Well, not really. The add-on only helps reduce the time it would take to generate descriptions for each page. The descriptions would still need some manual review and optimization, especially for important pages on the site.
So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and use the add-on for generating meta descriptions at scale and get a lot more done in less time.
If you have any suggestions for the improvement of the add-on, please do email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or do let us know in the comments below.