The meta description is one of the most crucial on page SEO factors that determines the search engine ranking of your website and web pages. If you know how to write a meta description that converts, you will attract heaps of traffic from search engines.
The meta description is viewable. The potential readers can see and read it. If it is well-written and makes sense, the readers are expected to click and land on your website.
Learning how to write an effective meta description means serious business.
What is meta description
It is a 155 to 160 character short snippet that provides search engines information about the content on the page. It is a great tool for webmasters to tell search engines about their web pages. The search engines use part of or whole meta description in search results so that users can read and see if the web page is a good fit.
The keywords and phrases that match the researcher’s query are highlighted. Search engines try to show the best results that will help the users.
How to write killer meta descriptions
As a webmaster, your job is to write meta descriptions that will persuade the readers. Your job is to write meta descriptions to increase click through rate.
Make it actionable
The best meta descriptions are the ones that use actionable language, words, and phrases. Using words like discover, learn, find, etc. will increase the CTR. Write it as if you are writing a CTA. In fact, try adding a call to action in the meta description tag. Make it persuasive, attractive, and emotional.
Keep it short
Keep it under 155 characters. Anything over 155 characters might be skipped by search engines. Be noted that 155 characters are just a rough estimation – not an exact measure. Search engines don’t use characters to measure the length of the meta description tags instead, they use pixels.
The idea is to keep it short so that no part of it is cut off. The readers must be able to read the complete meta description. If it is skipped, it won’t make much sense which will reduce CTR.
Exact and honest
The purpose of the meta description is to summarize the content on the page. Make sure you do it, and nothing else.
Be honest. Do not mislead. Do not try to cheat the search engines and/or your target audience. Summarize the content. What is the page about and how it can be of any help to the readers, this is what you should include.
Use your main keyword
Adding the main keyword in the meta description tag will help improving search engine rankings. No, we are not talking about adding a series of keywords. Use the focus keyword naturally so that search engines include your web page when someone searches for the same keyword.
Make it unique
The meta description should be unique. Copied content doesn’t make search engines as well as target audience happy. Similar descriptions will tell search engines that the web pages are similar in nature and they will show one page at a time in search results. This might be a page you don’t want to show.
Better write unique meta descriptions.
Focus on benefits
The readers are not interested in the features of the content instead, they are interested in what benefit they will get. Keep it benefit-oriented. Clearly communicate to the readers as to what benefit they will drive.
Try to be helpful. Try adding value. Try to stand out from the crowd by offering something better and valuable than your competitors. Tell the readers why and how your page is better than the thousands of other pages they are seeing in the search results at that very instant.
Clearly pitch your competitive edge.
Be relevant. The meta description tag must be relevant to the title and the content on the page.
It is a complete package that you offer to your target audience. Meta description is one part of the package. Every component of the package must be relevant.
Is it necessary to write meta description tag?
No, it isn’t.
You can leave the meta description tag empty. The search engines will pick any piece of content from a single place or from multiple places on that page and will compile a suitable meta description matching the search query.
Google does this. Even if you have written a meta description, it might not necessarily be shown in the search results. Google can choose to show any other portion of the content from your page, if it has the potential to drive more clicks than the actual meta description.
Matt Cutts explains it in these videos.
So there are two options.
- Write a killer meta description that will drive clicks.
- Leave it blank and let search engines compile a meta description based on the searched keyword.
While a lot of SEO experts do not write meta descriptions anymore, I personally prefer writing them and I recommend the same for two good reasons.
- There are other search engines that do not auto-fill the meta description tag.
- In any case, meta descriptions still can be used by Google. If it doesn’t like yours, it will use its own. If it likes yours, it will use it.
You now know how to write meta descriptions. Get started right now. It is time to increase organic traffic.