The meta description tag is a HTML attribute traditionally located in the <head> area of a website, that provides search engines and applications with a text description designed to be a concise summary of a webpage.
Search engines such as Google look at the meta description attribute and may decide to use it in their search results.
Here is an example of a meta description:
<meta name="description" content="Hello. I am a meta description." />
Assuming there are no technical issues - often if a description is spammy/over-optimised, or another piece of text would be more useful, Google may decide to show content derived from the web page instead.
This depends on the SEO plugin you are using for WordPress, for example Yoast or All in One SEO Pack.
If you are not using an SEO plugin then the description shown may vary depending on the theme.
No, it is optional whether you leave meta tags open or closed in HTML 5, but it makes little difference to the rendering engine in browsers and isn't correct in xHTML.
Content last checked for accuracy and updated: 6th June 2020, by Colin McDermott