Let me skip the waffle – show me the template

We’ve all been there when we onboard an eCommerce client, and they have 1000s upon 1000s of products that don’t have optimised meta titles or descriptions.

Sometimes, the CMS that they’re using can create specific rules that generate the metadata based on the product information, mainly the product name being slotted into the rules that have been created.

However, what happens when the CMS doesn’t have that capability? Do you have to start writing the metadata yourself? Do you feel impending doom when you realise you must write endless metadata? Luckily, we have created a template to speed this process up so you have time to focus on the bigger and more critical issues.

How does the template work?

Tools you’ll need:

Step 1: Crawl the website

Use your chosen tool (we like to use Screaming Frog) and crawl the website you are working on. We don’t need every page on the site; we just need the product pages. Some sites will have a set structure so that the products will have a pattern in the URL such as /products/{product-name}-{sku}. However, that isn’t always the case.

One recommendation is to set up a custom extraction through Screaming Frog, which will pull the SKU from the product page and help you home in on the product pages.

To do this, head to Configuration > Custom > Custom Extraction, then click on the + Add button at the bottom right to add a new rule. Once the extraction rule has appeared, click on the globe icon to the right of the text box to open a new window. Post the product URL, then click the part of the page you want to extract. In this example, we’ve chosen the Product SKU. Click OK, and then once you’re happy, run your crawl.

Screaming Frog javascript view

Step 2: Export the URLs & tidy up your data

Navigate to Internal > HTML and export your list of URLs.

Screaming Frog HTML list

This next part is manual, but you’ll need to tidy up your data so you’re only left with the Product URL and Product Title. This is where your Custom Extraction will help, as you can start filtering out anything without an SKU number attached.

Step 3: Paste product URLs into the sheet

Paste your Product URLs and Product Titles into the Product Data tab. The relevant information will then populate the Meta Description Generator table. You may need to drag down the formula in the URL and Title columns.

Template table structure with column titles

Step 4: Add your callouts to the callouts tab

When writing meta descriptions, it is recommended that you add a call to action where possible (as long as it makes sense). To do this with the generator, head over to the Callouts tab.

Here, you’ll see two tables: List of Words and List of Callouts. The list of words table should include any verbs that will make the user want to engage with the page they’re viewing. These verbs will depend on the website that you’re writing these descriptions for; for example, this website would benefit from using Shop, Buy, Order, and Purchase due to being an eCommerce site. The list of callouts table is where you can place your call to action, such as Contact us today to place your order or Shop now! These can be tailored to the site you are working on, so follow whatever their tone of voice is.

List of words and callouts for meta description generator

Step 5: Add the brand name

The Brand Name/Callout cell can be populated in the instructions tab. Add the relevant brand name to the cell, and it will be sent to the generator.

Brand name callout

Step 6: Start generating your meta descriptions

Once you have added your Callouts, you can return to the Meta Description Generator tab. You’ll notice that the first line has generated a description based on the information you provided.

Meta description generator example output

Drag the formula down to the last cell you’ll be using, and it should start generating each description. Have a play around with the Callouts to make better use of the meta description character limit.

And there you have it

You now have an automatic meta-description generator that can help you write endless product descriptions, saving you hours of work! One caveat I would like to add is this is more of a quick fix for sites with 1000s and 1000s of products. If you don’t want meta descriptions for every product, I recommend picking the top 100-200 products and writing the descriptions for those instead.

I hope this generator helps you as much as it’s helped me!