Meta descriptions could be your answer to increasing your organic SEO rankings — if they are well written.
They should be compelling enough to get users to click on the page you have listed in search results. They should also contain keywords to boost your SEO.
What is a Meta Description?
A meta description is a snippet that summarizes the content of a webpage.
It enables users to decide whether they want to click on your site in a search result. It also plays a role in determining the rank of your website in search results.
Why are meta descriptions important?
Meta descriptions are important because they give Google and other search engines a summary of what your page is about. For example, a page’s title may be a few words or phrases, whereas a page’s description meta tag might be a sentence, two, or even a short paragraph.
Meta descriptions are user-experience components that tell searchers about your website and the information they can expect to find there. They are an excellent way to engage users on their SERP (search engine results page) and improve your organic traffic.
When a link to your content is shared, meta descriptions may also appear on social media.
“Meta tags are important because Google might use them as snippets for your pages. Note that we say “might” because Google may choose to use a relevant section of your page’s visible text if it does a good job of matching up with a user’s query. Adding description meta tags to each of your pages is always a good practice in case Google cannot find a good selection of text to use in the snippet. The Google Search Central blog has informative posts on improving snippets with better description meta tags. We also have a handy article on how to create good titles and snippets.”Google
Meta descriptions can help:
- Increase click-through rates, which will boost your conversions and sales — pages with meta descriptions get 5.8% more clicks than pages without them.
- Ensure that your indexing is improved so that you rank higher in search engine result pages (SERPs).
- Make it easier for people to find what they are looking for without having to scan page titles and meta tags.
A search engine might create a meta description if it is missing or you haven’t followed best practices, and it might not be as compelling or accurate as the one you write.
It is therefore crucial that you write your meta descriptions.
8 ways to create compelling meta descriptions
1. Include a call-to-action (CTA)
Using a CTA in your meta descriptions is a great way to compel people to click on your website. For example, when your website appears on search engine results pages (SERPs), you can use phrases such as “Learn More,” “Click Here,” or “Shop Now.”
CTAs help readers understand the content of your page and what they can expect from clicking. As a result, you can use CTAs to encourage users to click through and engage with your site.
2. Focus on the value you offer
A meta description should help someone understand your content and determine if it’s worth their time. Using words that describe the value you offer is a great way to tempt people to click.
When appropriate, include words like “learn” or “see” to get readers to interact with your content.
Meta descriptions can be made more compelling by using other words such as “best,” “deal,” or “popular.”
3. Use A/B testing
Meta descriptions are a great place for experimentation with keywords, phrases, and CTAs. Experiments will you determine what drives engagement without changing the design of your site.
You can use A/B testing on your meta descriptions by creating two for each page — one meta description can use one variant of a keyword phrase or CTA, and the other could focus on another term.
Run each meta description for several weeks. Then check Google Analytics to determine which version is getting more clicks — you can use this information to create new meta descriptions.
4.. Test Character Length
The best length for your meta description is 150 to 160 characters because, in many cases, users won’t see longer ones — they will be truncated on SERPs. However, you can still experiment with the description length of each page without going beyond the limit.
Meta descriptions may be shorter on your homepage, but blog post descriptions are more effective with a greater word count. You may also find that meta descriptions with a higher word count are more effective for pages containing recommended products.
It’s best not to exceed the recommended character length since this can negatively affect your rankings.
5. Make your Meta Descriptions Interesting and Unique
Meta descriptions summarize the content on a page and are necessary for getting your content noticed.
Try different approaches to capture attention, such as asking a question users want to be answered. Use eye-catching phrases or words that grab users’ attention, such as “shocking” or “amazing.”
And, most importantly, ensure that the description matches your page content — it will help you rank higher in SERPs.
6. Include Keywords in your Meta Descriptions
You should include keywords in your meta descriptions for two reasons:
- Search engines will be able to understand your page and thus give you a better ranking
- It assures users that the page is relevant to their interests
Use a keyword tool to find the best keywords for your site, then add them to your meta descriptions to improve your rankings. Your meta descriptions should contain at least one keyword per phrase and should be relevant to the page.
You should include different keywords in the meta description for each page. Unfortunately, Google hasn’t used keyword meta tags in its rankings since 2009. However, this doesn’t mean that they’re not valuable to users.
It’s also best to avoid keyword stuffing in meta descriptions, as this can lead to a search engine penalty.
7. Use structured data
Search engines do a great job of measuring the technical parameters of your site, such as speed and mobile optimization. They are also excellent at identifying page types and main topics. But they may need some help understanding the meaning of small content elements and the details that go with them. That’s why search engines use structured data to comprehend your content better.
Enter Schema markup. Schema is a set of standard tags that you can use to describe various elements on pages. Without markup, search engines would perceive these elements as plain bits of code. With markup, these bits of code are interpreted as company logos, reviews, contact details, recipes, job listings, and many other types of content. Thus, schema markup gives meaning to your pages and makes them more valuable in search engines’ eyes.
You can leverage rich snippets to make your meta description even better and more detailed for searchers.
8. Don’t duplicate meta descriptions
Please make sure you have unique meta descriptions for every page —this improves the likelihood that search engines will understand what your pages contain and how they compare with others.
This is particularly important for e-commerce websites, with multiple pages of similar content — each description must be unique, descriptive, and compelling, even if the products are very much alike. If users see the same meta description on every page of your website, they won’t know which content is on what page.
Meta descriptions are essential to your onsite SEO
They should be descriptive, compelling, and unique to each of your pages.
Although meta descriptions are not very long, they can help you rank higher on search engine result pages (SERPs). In addition, they enable search engines and users to understand your pages better.
Ensure that you have a unique meta description on every page of your site, including blog posts and product pages.