Meta descriptions are concise explanations of the contents of a web page. These short paragraphs are our opportunity to advertise our content to searchers and potential customers, and to let them know exactly what they will find on the page if they click.
The Meta Description is the snippet that appears below the blue link in Google search. Words that matched the searched for user query get pulled out in bold.
Meta Descriptions shouldn’t use more than 155 characters to avoid ellipses, this is unattractive and chances are, the searcher doesn’t want to read an essay-long description.
A good Meta Description draws readers to a website from the search engine and therefore is an extremely important part of search marketing. Crafting a compelling and readable description using important keywords can improve the click-through rate for a given webpage
To maximize click-through rates on search engine result pages, you should note that Google and other search engines bold keywords in the description when they match search queries. So use keywords that people may search, “Cheap, Best…” etc.
It is also important to be concise! Think about how you read the search engine results pages. If you’re like the majority of Google users, you’ll scan the page rather than reading it. Therefore your Meta Description has got to grab the user’s attention and to ensure they click on your website, not someone else’s. This isn’t the place to ramble on or get into intricate levels of details, so you need to know what your message for that page is and communicate it clearly. Don’t look desperate, “PLEASE BUY OUR STUFF OR WE DON’T EAT FOR THE REST OF THE MONTH”, doesn’t look good!
Avoid Duplicate Descriptions
Always aim to avoid using duplicate descriptions, it’s extremely important that Meta Descriptions on each page be unique.
You can edit the same description as long as the text is 35% different from the original! Example:
“Twitter is a free social messaging utility for staying connected in real time.” Could be changed into:
“Twitter is the best social media utility for staying connected with the world in real time.”
These are considered fantastic descriptions. They state exactly what you’ll find if you click on the page, they make it enticing to click on and they don’t lie to the user. There’s nothing worse than clicking on something that says ‘Latest news’ when in fact there’s a picture of cat. It may get you a higher click through rate in the short term – but google doesn’t like spammy pages – and if a customer’s first introduction to us is based on lies and deception the chances are they won’t want to shop with you or use your services
Some final things to help you
- Make the meta descriptions unique and relevant to the page
- Don’t deceive the user. Big no-no. Give them EXACTLY what they clicked on.
- Search Terms: Don’t forget that keywords matching the users query will be matched in bold and therefore draw the eye’s attention to your result and increase your chances of click through.
- Brand message/strap line: An important differentiator in a crowded marketplace. What is your USP?
- Compelling marketing message: The last bastion of traditional marketing! Write something that markets the contents of this page.
- Make it personal: Make the reader feel like it’s directed at THEM not everyone!