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Back in those times when search engines paid great attention to META description when assessing the relevancy of a page, it was viable that each page have a unique well-worded META description.

Today its importance has diminished, yet it is still recommended to let this tag stay for one big reason: it may appears in the SERP snippet that Google will generate for the pages of your website. It won't be necessary the META description that Google will choose (it may instead consider the text on the page), but there are high chances for it. So when a user searches for something and they see your page SERP among tens of other results, you have fractions of second to attract their attention by a killer META description.

SERP snippet as seen from IziSEO

SERP snippet as seen from IziSEO

Generating META Description

If you have hundreds, if not thousands, of automatically generated pages, and you don't have time to make unique META descriptions for all of them, better leave it empty rather than stuff the same words into each. This is what Matt Cutts, Google's head of search spam, recommends anyway. Just make sure you have descriptions for key pages of your web site, i.e. home page, purchase page, product info, important forum topics etc. Don't forget to include relevant keywords there!

Google tends to cut off descriptions that are longer than approximately 160 characters. This depends on the actual letters in the phrase as they fit into different width when a SERP snippet is generated. Knowing this peculiarity, some webmasters make cliffhanger META descriptions that make potential visitors curious when they see the snippet among the monotony of other search results. Here is an example of an amusing description that caught my attention when I was searching for "parenting a toddler":

A Cliffhanger META Description

A Cliffhanger META Description

Consider running a script or a CMS add-on for auto-generating META tags. Such generators may use a predefined template with basic starting or ending patterns, but with unique phrases relevant to the page's content in between. There are plenty of such tools online, some include SERP snippet optimization feature. Here is an example of unique META descriptions generated programmatically:

Automatically Generated META Description

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