Meta Description – How to Efficiently Make it Perfect
SEO is a great way to boost the organic traffic to your website. However, it’s also tricky to keep up with as the algorithm rules constantly change. Not to mention, SEO might be a little overwhelming when you remember everything that goes into it. But, there’s one element of SEO that has stayed pretty consistent throughout the years and that’s the meta description. In this post, we’ll explain what a meta description is, why it’s important, and how to write a compelling meta description.
What is a Meta Description?
A meta description is an HTML meta tag that provides more information about a website. It’s usually displayed on the search engine results pages, under the website’s title. In HTML, it looks like this:
<meta name=”description” content=”A one or two sentence description of your webpage.”/>
In search engine results, it looks like this:
Meta descriptions are typically 155-160 characters long. Anything longer than that will get cut off so your meta description needs to be clear, concise, and compelling.
Why Meta Descriptions Matter
Here’s an interesting thing about meta descriptions: according to search engines like Google and Bing, they’re no longer a ranking factor. What’s even more interesting, your meta description is shown only 37% of the time.
So why should you bother writing a meta description for each page?
Simple. The more compelling and interesting your meta description is, the more click throughs to your website you can expect. And that clickthrough rate is an important ranking factor that search engines use to decide whether your website is a good result or not.
In addition to that, if more people visit your site, your conversion rates might improve as a result.
Another reason why meta descriptions matter is that this is what will display when someone shares your website on Facebook or Twitter, if you haven’t set up your Open Graph tags.
As such, meta descriptions are still an important part of your on-page SEO and should not be overlooked.
Eight Tips For Writing Great Meta Descriptions
Now that we’ve covered what meta descriptions are and why they matter, let’s go over some tips that will help you craft an interesting and unique meta description for every page on your site.
1. Your Meta Description Should Complement Your Title Tag
Your title tag is the first thing a user will see when your website shows up as a relevant search result. Your meta tag should expand on it and go into more detail about what they can expect when they visit that page on your website. It should intrigue the users and get them to click through.
2. Get To The Point Quickly…
On desktop computers, you only have 155-160 characters available for your meta description. On mobile devices, that number goes down to 120 characters.
As such, your meta description is not the place for a long, drawn out speech. Instead, you should get to the point quickly. Remember that most users skim the content nowadays so you want to put more relevant information closer to the beginning of your meta description.
If you’re using a good SEO plugin, chances are you’ll be able to tell when you’ve hit your character limit and edit your meta description accordingly.
Alternatively, you can use Spotibo’s Meta Tag Length Checker to see how your meta description will look on search engine result pages.
3. But Don’t Focus On Character Count Alone
The character count shouldn’t be your primary focus as the rules can change on a whim.
For example, in 2017, Google increased the length of snippets in search engine results. In addition to that, a study by SEMRush, found that a meta description that exceeded 320 characters performed better in search engine results. While your meta description should be clear and concise, that doesn’t mean that you should do whatever you can to stay within character limits.
4. Match The Search Intent
Search intent might sound complicated but in essence, it refers to the why behind what the users are searching for. For example, if someone types in best food for kittens, their search intent could be one of the following:
- They want to know what’s the best food brand to give to their kitten
- They want to know where to buy the best kitten food
- They might be looking for more detailed information on what to feed their kitten
While the mind-reading device, sadly, hasn’t been invented yet, you can use the search engine results to give you an idea of what users really want when they type in certain keywords.
In the kitten food example, you can see two types of results: those that list the best kitten and cat food brands and those that provide more information about what to feed the kitten and the best foods in general for kittens.
From that example, you can use that information to write the perfect meta description for a page or post on your site that talks about kitten food.
5. Use Keywords Wisely
If SEO is a part of your marketing strategy, you’ve probably generated a list of keywords for your website. You might even go a step further and research new keywords for each article or blog post you publish on your website.
It’s only natural to include those keywords in your meta description. However, don’t go overboard. Instead, use the keyword naturally and where it fits. As you can see from the screenshot below, several results on this search engine result page have the keyword bolded:
6. Use Active Voice
Passive voice makes your sentences less clear. Sentences that use passive voice tend to be lengthy and require more cognitive effort. As such, there’s no place for passive voice in your meta descriptions. Instead, use active voice which is more likely to encourage action on users’ part.
7. Include A Call To Action
Include a call to action in your meta description. The call to action should depend on the individual page and can be one of the following:
- Read the full article
- Visit our store
- Make a reservation
- Shop online
- Try for free
- Get it now
- And similar.
This goes hand in hand with the previous tip about using active voice and can further encourage users to click through to your website.
8. Don’t Duplicate Meta Descriptions
If you have several pages on your site that are similar, it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of duplicating the meta description. However, this is a practice you should avoid. Each page on your website is unique, therefore each meta description should be unique.
By having unique meta descriptions for each page, you’ll have better chances of getting more click throughs to your website.
Even though meta descriptions are not a ranking factor, they can still help improve your search engine rank and drive more traffic to your website. Use the tips in this article to write the perfect meta description for each page on your site and enjoy the boost in traffic and rankings.