Writing meta descriptions is an essential activity in your SEO campaign. Meta descriptions provide a concise summary of a page’s content alongside the metadata in your website’s HTML code. If you are not sure what a meta description looks like, it is the snippet of text that is displayed in the search engine results underneath a headline.
As you may see, it is just a short and simple blurb that gives users the idea what they will find if they click through to your site. Before we discuss the tactics for writing meta descriptions, let’s first understand why meta descriptions matter.
Meta descriptions can make a difference in your SEO efforts. They can serve as an organic ad text, which means that when your ad ranks for a keyword, search engines will show the meta description to describe the page. While most content sharing systems can create a meta description for you, it is not advisable as this definitely will not be as effective as the one you write.
On the other hand, by creating a compelling meta description, you can improve the click-through rate of your organic search results. This means that more people who come across your page in the search results will actually click on your result. This eventually will move you up the ranks and convert visitors into a lead or new customer.
Effective Tactics for Writing Meta Descriptions
Follow the Suggested Character Count
In December 2017, Google confirmed with Search Engine Land the changes the company made when displaying snippets in search results. The changes aim to offer more descriptive and useful snippets so users can better understand how pages are relevant to their searches. The character count has grown from around 160 characters to almost 230 characters on average.
However, an update released in May 2018, reveals the length of meta description went back to the previous 155 characters although this doesn’t apply to all pages. With these ongoing changes in the character limit, we suggest sticking to 160 characters or less. Otherwise, going over this character limit will likely cause your description to be cut off in the search engine results page.
Make It Valuable to Web Users
As they say, always write for your users first and the search engines second. This remains true when it comes to writing meta descriptions. For every meta description you create, ask yourself these two questions: “What do you offer?” and “Why should people visit your page?” Let the readers know what you do and convey this information in your meta description. Craft the description like you would with your elevator pitch. Until you can get it right, you will likely need to go through a bit of workshopping. Remember that this will be the first impression you create for your brand so it is important to get things right.
Invite Users to Visit Your Site
Aim for a meta description that is short and sweet yet inviting enough to draw online users to your virtual front door. In one to two sentences, convey how your content can make their lives better without sounding salesy. Provide enough information that will want them to click through to your website. Work on a description that gives an overview of your the landing page. As you try to aim for all these things, make sure there are no typographical or grammatical errors. With such a short amount of text, any errors made would be easily noticeable.
Use Relevant Search Terms
Although Google claims that they don’t use keywords in the meta description for ranking purposes, you still see them highlighted when performing your search. That said, make sure to use keywords that can direct users to the most relevant result but be careful to not keyword stuff your meta description, as this will only harm your SEO efforts and hurt your readers’ trust. If using a keyword phrase sounds unnatural, don’t force it. Your goal should be to focus on providing a clear and concise description of your page that showcases what the user can expect if they click on the link.
Include a Strong Call-to-Action
Don’t forget to incorporate action-oriented words such as learn, find out or explore in your meta description. Then follow it up with compelling details of what they will get if they click on it. Just make sure your content matches what they expected or else they will end up hitting the back button in no time. This is your opportunity to win over prospects so be sure to create an engaging meta description that persuades users to pick your content over other search results.
Writing Meta Descriptions for Your Website’s Homepage
The first thing users learn matters a lot. So the importance of writing for your website’s home page is huge. By creating a good meta description, you give your potential customers a brief overview of your brand. This gives them a sense for what you offer and why it is important to their query.
5 Examples of Great Homepage Meta Descriptions from Popular Brands
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Writing Meta Descriptions for Your Blog Post
Creating meta descriptions for your blog posts gives your readers the idea what the overall content is all about. Your meta descriptions can also be very helpful when sharing blog posts on social media. Most networks will use the meta description as the description to show in the share. Without it, social networks will pull the first sentences in your blog post. If these sentences fail to summarize what the content is about, readers who come across the post might miss the point and end up passing over the link without clicking.
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You will want to create a unique and relevant meta description for every page on your website as well as on your blog posts. This is because having duplicated descriptions can hamper the user experience. Even though titles are different, all pages will appear the same because all the descriptions are the same. As a rule of thumb, make sure that every page has a strong description that will make readers eager to click the result and learn more.
Does writing meta descriptions give you a hard time? We can make it less stressful for you. From crafting the right meta descriptions to developing your overall content, we at BMG have stellar content writers that can help you achieve your content marketing goals.