What is a Meta Description?
A meta description is the text that appears under your organic advertisement on search engines results pages such as Google, Bing and DuckDuckGo. Meta descriptions usually show around 160 characters and pull information from your website when someone searches for a product or service you offer – acting as your organic ad copy.
Why Are Meta Descriptions Important in SEO Marketing?
Meta Descriptions are an important part of SEO marketing and one of the most crucial elements of organic listings for SERPs (search engine results page). Meta descriptions have the potential to influence a consumer’s purchasing behaviour and an effective meta description can be the difference between someone clicking through to your website or scrolling past.
Here are 10 meta description tips for your SEO marketing strategy:
1) Think of Meta Descriptions as Your Pay-Per-Click Text Ad Copy, Only Free!
As a digital marketer, it is vital to write effective and engaging ad content for your pay-per-click text campaigns. It is equally as important to do this for your free listings too! If you are ranking highly for particular keywords, test them out and type them into your search engine. Think of these keywords as if you had chosen to bid on them for a paid advertisement campaign. What would you want to appear? Is your meta description engaging, relevant and descriptive? Are your eyes drawn to a compelling call-to-action at the end? These are just some of the elements to think about when writing your meta descriptions.
2) Write Meta Descriptions as an Extension of Your Title Tag
Title tags are the main point of focus for anyone searching for something. The unfortunate reality is that the majority of people only read the headlines to make a decision on which listing to click through to. With this in mind, the importance of writing meta descriptions that expand on your heading title is essential for influencing an increase in traffic and CTR (click-through rate). People searching SERPs are usually there to get one thing, an answer or solution to their search query. Provide a meta description that offers or suggests that they will be able to find this solution if they continue reading and click through to the site. Writing a description that offers enough information to capture interest but not too much that they won’t click through to your site is a skill in itself, but one that is highly valued to master for effective SEO marketing.
3) Focus Your Meta Description Around the Main Keyword you are Ranking For
Your title tag will almost certainly relate to the keyword that you are ranking for. SEO 101 – keywords are your best friends! If someone is searching for something, they want to find out more information about that particular search query and search engines will display listings that they calculate as more relevant. If you are ranking well for a relevant keyword then include this near the beginning of your meta description too; you have the information they are looking for, so highlight this fact to both your potential audience and Google (or other search engines). An additional tip – make sure that the content on the landing page is HIGHLY relevant to your organic ad. Google will use machine learning to determine this factor and your meta description, landing page and focused keyword all must complement each other or your SERP position will rapidly decrease.
4) Learn the Intent Behind Searched Keywords
When people are searching for a keyword you are ranking for, what are they intending to get out of this? An answer to a question? A definition? Or just simply wanting to find and purchase a product? Writing a meta description that captures the attention of a user is the ultimate goal. You won’t be able to please everyone, so try to tailor your text towards the main objective from that search term. A good rule of thumb to follow if you’re unsure is to firstly include a short definition of the keyword, followed by something unique you can offer relating to that keyword and finally the overall result of someone clicking through to your website in the form of a call-to-action, e.g ‘order today’ or ‘learn more’.
5) Include Numbers in your Meta Descriptions
This blog post is already 10 times more engaging from the use of the number ‘10’ in the title followed by points listed out in numerical order. Numbers are a great asset for including in your headings and meta descriptions as they instantly grab the attention of a user. It is a known fact that humans can decipher pieces of information more easily when numbers are involved. This is because numbers help to break down pieces of information so we can organise these details better. In an SEO marketing study, 36% of readers said that they favoured headings containing numbers – with multiples of 5 and in particular the number ‘10’ standing out as most popular.
6) Include a Call-to-Action, now!
Calls to action, like numbers, also help to break down information and will usually be the main part of a meta description people will read. We already know that most internet users will only read the headline of a listing, so we need to work harder to grab their attention. A call to action will turn your ad into a reason to act with a possible bonus of adding urgency. “Order today for 10% off”, “limited stock available, order today!”. It adds a short phrase to your listing that instantly lets your audience know what they can expect to find or achieve from clicking through.
7) Stand Out From the Crowd with USPs
Now, this may seem obvious, but the importance of your organic ad standing out from the others will be the difference between an interaction with your website and an interaction with your competitors. Including USPs in your text is essential! It is the details that make you different from everybody else, plus an extra incentive for someone to choose your particular organic ad.
8) Optimise your Meta Description Lengths for SERPs
Whilst the amount of characters isn’t something you should spend hours agonising over, it is a smart idea to get as close to 160 characters as possible. Google and other search engines fluctuate in the number of characters that they will display on SERPs, however, 160 characters is generally a safe bet. Keep in mind though that on mobile devices, only up to around 120 characters will be shown. If you would rather optimise for desktop, then keeping the most important information near the beginning of your meta description should take priority to ensure your listing is still effective for mobile users.
9) Tailor Your Meta Description Content to Users with the Correct Language
Write meta descriptions in the third person, tailored more personally towards your reader. ‘Get yours today’ ‘treat yourself to a…’ ‘Discover more to learn about how you can…’. “You” and “Yours” are great words to include in SEO marketing because they address your audience directly. With this in mind, avoid ‘our’ and ‘I’. As a reader, people are looking for an answer to their problem or something that benefits them, in other words, they don’t care about you specifically (sorry!) but instead what they can get from you.
10) Take up as Much Space as Possible on the Page with Extensions
Got any 5-star reviews lying around? If you have built up a good portfolio of those shiny 5 stars, use them! Incorporate anything into your organic ad that will take up space on the search engine results page and stand out from other listings. Site links are great for this, they take up a much larger space and make your organic ad appear more pleasing in comparison, richer with content and more established as a brand. Note that Google will shorten site links to around 50 characters though, so optimising for this length is advised.
Effective Meta Descriptions
To summarise, your main objective when planning for effective meta description writing is to make your listing bigger and better than all the rest. Understanding your audience and their needs when searching specific keywords will play the biggest role in writing successful meta content, followed by what you can do for your readers in a unique summary of why they should click through. Optimise for success when you apply the 10 useful tips above to your SEO marketing strategy.
Contact Us at Seed
If you are looking for SEO marketing or any digital marketing help, please feel free to get in touch with us at Seed on:
01273 286616 or firstname.lastname@example.org