Best Practices: How to Write Effective SEO Meta Description
Published on: July 30, 2021
The Meta description is a snippet of up to 155 characters – an HTML tag – that summarizes the content of a page. Search engines display it in search results most of the time when the searched-for phrase is contained within the description. As a result, optimizing it is critical for on-page SEO. We'll go over what makes a good Meta description and how we can help you with it in this post. Do you want to increase organic traffic to your website? Let’s go.
What Exactly Is A Meta Description?
The Meta description is an HTML tag that you can add to a website post or page. You can define what your page is about in it. If you're lucky, Google will display it beneath the title of your page in the search results. It provides you with an opportunity to persuade search engine users that your page will provide what they are looking for.
Why Set A Meta Description?
Its goal is straightforward: it must persuade someone searching on Google with a specific search term to click on your link. In other words, Meta descriptions exist to encourage search engine click-through.
The Meta description has no direct SEO benefit, according to search engines, because it is not used in their ranking algorithm. However, there is an indirect benefit: Google uses click-through rate (CTR) to determine whether you are a good result. Therefore, if more users click on your result, Google considers you a great outcome and will move you up the rankings based on your position. This is why optimizing your Meta description, as well as your titles, is critical.
Unfortunately, there is no certainty that Google will display your Meta description. However, it is always worth the effort to include it in your post or page because there is a chance it will.
Does Meta Description Affect SEO?
Google has stated that the information in the SEO Meta description is not used when evaluating a website's rank. Even if there is no significant impact on your SERP placement, creating clear Meta descriptions is still beneficial. Your description acts as a preview of the content on your site, attracting visitors and compelling them to click to learn more. A captivating description can help you increase engagement while also motivating people to share your piece on social networking sites and even include backlinks to your work. These are the elements that will influence your ranking.
Features of a Good Meta Description
Based on our research and experience, we came up with the following list of elements you need to produce an excellent Meta description:
1) Keep it up to 155 characters.
The ideal length does not exist; it is determined by the message to be conveyed. Therefore, you should allow enough space to convey the message while keeping it short and snappy. However, if you look at Google's search results, you'll quite often see snippets of 120 to 156 characters.
Unfortunately, we do not have complete control over what Google displays in search results. Sometimes it indicates the Meta description, and other times it simply grabs a few sentences from your copy. In either case, keeping it brief is your best bet. That way, if Google decides to display the Meta description you wrote, it will not be cut short.
2) Use Active Voice And Make It Actionable.
If you consider the Meta description to be your page's invitation, you must recognize your user and their (possible) motivation to visit your page. Therefore, make sure your description isn't dull, complicated, or overly cryptic. People must understand what they can hope to receive on your page.
3) Incorporate A Call To Action.
"Hello, we have such and such a new service, and you are interested in it. Discover more!" This is similar to what we said about active voice, but we wanted to emphasize it again. The Meta description serves as your sales copy. Except, in this case, the "product" you're attempting to sell is the linked page. Invitations like "Learn more," "Take it now," and "Try it for free" are helpful, and many SEO companies and we in Dallas use them as well.
4) Show Specifications, Where Possible
If you're selling a product to a tech-savvy audience, it's a good idea to emphasize the technical specifications. For example, you could include the manufacturer, SKU, price, and so on. However, if the visitor is specifically looking for that product, you may not need to persuade them.
5) Check That It Corresponds To The Page's Content.
This is a critical one. If you are using Meta descriptions to trick visitors into clicking on your result, Google will find out. They may even punish you if you do it. However, misleading descriptions will almost certainly increase your bounce rate. People's trust in your company will suffer as a result. For that reason alone, it's a horrible idea. That is why you want the Meta description to be relevant to the page's content.
6) Make it Unique
If your Meta description would be the same as those on other pages, Google's user experience will suffer. Even though your page titles may differ, all pages will show up to be the same because all descriptions are the same. You'd be better off keeping it blank rather than creating duplicate Meta descriptions. Google will select a snippet from the page containing the query's keyword. However, having a unique Meta description for each page, you would like to rank with is always a good idea.
How to Compose a Concise Meta Description
A good Meta description persuades visitors that your page provides the best answer to their query. However, to produce the best results, you must first understand what people are looking for. What is the purpose of their search? Is it a question that they're looking for an answer to? If they are, try to provide the most comprehensive response possible. Is it a product they're looking for? Make a list of what distinguishes your product and why customers should buy it from you. Be succinct and convincing!
What Should You Do If You Require Meta Descriptions For A Large Number Of Pages?
After reading this, do you feel compelled to revise all of your Meta descriptions? But are you unsure how to fit it into your schedule? Google has the solution:
If you don't have time to write a description for every page, try prioritizing your content: Generate a description for the crucial URLs, such as your main page and popular pages, at the very least.
Google Search Console allows you to see which of your pages are ranking the highest. Simply proceed from there.
1) Include The Page's Targeted Keyword.
Every webpage should contain a targeted keyword for which the page is intended to rank. Perform keyword research to determine the best keyword, and then include it in the SEO Meta description.
When search engines align the search phrasing, they bold the words in the results. As a result, when you include words that searchers use in your description, users will be more likely to notice them.
2) Don't Use Quotation Marks.
Because SEO Meta descriptions are embedded in HTML, you must be cautious not to use characters to trigger the HTML language to break. A double quotation mark is among the most common characters to create issues. Avoid using double quotation marks ("quote") in Meta descriptions because they can cause problems. If you're using a quotation, use a single quotation mark ('quote').
3) Don't worry about Meta keywords.
Meta keywords, like Meta titles and descriptions, are tagged and placed on the HTML page. However, Meta keywords have very little influence on the page's value for search engines or users, unlike titles and descriptions. Major search engines have publicly stated that all these hidden terms do not influence ranking. Also, Meta tag keywords are not viewable, so don't waste time adding them to your pages.
4) Add Different Rich Snippets For Facebook And Twitter.
Social media platforms usually use the Meta description characterized for a page as the blurb for their featured posts. You can, however, change this.
5) It's Time to Re-evaluate and Improve Your SEO Meta Descriptions
As you can see, SEO Meta descriptions are more than just filler text. Instead, they are part of a larger plan that can assist you in attracting readers from search results pages, increasing your rankings, and attracting additional traffic from social media platforms.
Don't overlook this information on your websites. Make a plan for adding unique metadata to each of your new pages, and then go back and examine your existing pages to ensure that they meet the SEO Meta description standards and practices.
Although Meta descriptions do not directly influence how Google ranks your web pages, they do assist in enticing people to click on your links. So, when optimizing your site's SEO, nailing your Meta descriptions will still be a top priority. And, whenever possible, prefer to adhere to the 160-character limit.
But that doesn't mean you should spend all of your time optimizing Meta descriptions. Instead, what Google wants is for you to devote more time to creating creative, high-quality content. As a result, as long as your content is helpful to users and contains the information that fits search queries, your pages will rank high in search results.
Susan is an experienced online marketer who builds innovative internet marketing strategies utilizing PPC and Local SEO in Dallas's renowned companies. She assists in guiding customers to buy their desired product. Her duties include creating written and visual material and keeping abreast of developments in the industry and social media.