People create websites with the definitive goal of making connections with others. The objective is to connect and communicate your message to as many people as you can. If you’re planning to start an online business or if you are already running your site, then you want to do everything you can to ensure your business’s success by getting as many people as possible to connect with your site. You’ve got hopes and dreams and some of those are based on site traffic and high click-through-rates. Am I right?
If so, then you’ve probably invested the time in learning how to market your site and brand, and you’ve spent time in working on your website’s SEO to improve your ranking on search engines to drive traffic to your site. Now, you’ve been coming across a new aspect: meta descriptions, a powerful tool that you need to be utilizing. If you aren’t, then you are wasting an opportunity to drive people to your site.
Meta descriptions are a vital feature of the search engine results page. They are a tool for you to provide value and information to target market or audience from a search engine, a tool that gives them significant reasons to click on your link.
This article was crafted to give you an introduction to meta descriptions, what they are, why they are important, and of course, how to create effective meta descriptions for your website. Keep reading to find out more.
What are meta descriptions?
Meta descriptions are the texts you see underneath the titles and URLs of the search results you get from your search engine. You have probably skimmed through some of them today to quickly find what you are looking for when you entered a search query. Here is what they look like:
We bet that looked familiar.
Meta descriptions are the brief summaries that you see from your search engine that describes the contents of a website. They are about 155-160 characters long, but their brevity can act as a powerful hook for the people out there in search of something on the internet.
The importance of meta descriptions lies in the fact that they show your prospective site visitors that you’ve got what they're looking for. Your site will show up on search engines based on whether your meta descriptions include the keywords that are being searched for by a user. This makes meta descriptions one of the most effective forms of SEO for you to use to your benefit.
If you are not already capitalizing on your site’s meta description, then you really need to start putting it to good use. Your meta descriptions may very well make all the difference in whether someone decides to click on your link or someone else’s link altogether.
Do meta descriptions affect your SERP rank?
According to Google in September of 2009, meta descriptions were not a factor in Google’s ranking algorithm. However, meta descriptions are proven to have an impact on your page’s click-through-rates or CTR. And if your meta descriptions don’t count, CTR does.
Google’s basis on judging whether your link leads to content with good results depends on how many people click on your site’s link. Good meta descriptions should grab people’s attention and encourage higher CTR. This is a very good reason for you to now put some time and effort into crafting some great meta descriptions because the more people click on your link, the higher your rank on the search engine results page.
Will search engines always use your meta descriptions?
No, not always. There are times when a search engine will not use your meta description. It does this in a totally unpredictable way, and it usually happens when Google is trying to answer the searcher’s query by presenting an extract from your webpage that the search engine feels will provide an adequate answer to a question.
How Not to Write Meta Descriptions
Before we go on to tell you how to write good meta descriptions, we will let you know which mistakes to avoid. Here is what not to do when writing your websites meta descriptions:
- Don’t write the same meta descriptions for every web page. You don’t want to provide the same information for your homepage and every page of your website for your potential web visitors and customers.
- Don’t be boring. You are working with limited characters when writing your meta descriptions, but don’t underestimate the power and potential of a good meta description, which could really pack a punch.
- Don’t forget to make use of relevant keywords. You want to use keywords in your meta description based on the content of your site and based on what you know your target audience is looking for.
- Don’t create unreadable copy. This happens when you make it your objective to stuff as many keywords as possible into the meta description, making it far from friendly to the eye of any reader.
How to Write Effective Meta Descriptions
1. Use relevant keywords and do so naturally
You need to include relevant keywords in your meta descriptions to help searchers know that your site matches what they are searching for in the first place. Make sure that the most important and relevant keywords from your webpage are included in your meta descriptions and that you write copy that describes the contents of your page accurately.
Here is an example of a meta description that includes keywords from a search on tips for small homes:
As you can see, Google highlights the relevant keywords for the searcher to help them find what they are looking for. You might have also noted that the meta description here uses natural and inviting language that makes the reader feel as if they are being spoken to directly.
2. Include a call to action
Include an effective call to action or CTA into your meta description copy. Your CTAs act as a nudge to guide your target consumer to complete an action by clicking on your link or doing something through your site. Here is an example of compelling CTA from Spotify:
Shopify makes good examples of CTA rich meta descriptions. Spotify uses their meta descriptions to encourage people to try out their services with phrases like:
- “Go Premium. Be Happy”
- “Play the Songs You Love & Millions More For Free. Sign Up Today”
- “Try for 1 Day, 1 Week or 1 Month”
3. Keep your customers in mind
You might be writing your meta descriptions to improve your conversion rates, but who are your meta descriptions really for? They are for your prospective customers and prospective site visitors. Remember to always write copy with your target audience and consumers in mind by creating copy that is specifically targeted at them. Take Netflix Originals as an example:
They end their meta description with the words “It’s all tailored specifically to you.” Their site’s meta description is very much directed to their users and does a good job at making them feel special and catered to.
4. Consider the length of your meta descriptions
Your meta descriptions should be around 155-160 characters long. If your characters go over a certain length, your meta description will be cut off. Like this:
This meta description trails off into uncertainty. It has decidedly no impact whatsoever on the reader and doesn’t even provide a good summary of what the web page is about, nor does it contain any form of CTR. All in all, this is an example of a poor meta description that wasn’t made to accomplish anything. Remember that your meta descriptions are a powerful marketing tool, and you should not be treating it as an afterthought.
5. Use the power of words
With 160 characters, you might feel like you don’t have a lot to work with, but this isn’t true. Some of the best tag lines ever made consist of just a handful of words or less, and they manage to still make a great impact.
Some words carry more weight than others, and you can use power words that encourage people to click on your link. Here are some examples from Huawei and from The North Face that get people’s attention.
Here we see the use of words like “Leading”, “Global”, and “Exceed your expectation”. These are examples of power words that can stir a reader’s interest and attention.
6. Match the content of your site to your meta description
Make sure that what your meta description says matches the actual content of your website. You don’t want to trick your potential website visitors into clicking on your site only to find out that the content did not match what they were searching for. Your meta description should accomplish exactly what it promises to your audience.
7. Be unique and creative
Your brand, business, or webpage is unique, and we are sure that you have your own voice and way of doing what you do best. We can give you all the tips in creating killer meta descriptions, but ultimately, it’s up to you and your creativity to accomplish a meta description that is effective and has a powerful effect. Just take a look at these examples to see how brands have come up with fun, compelling, and creative meta descriptions:
Back to you
With this article, we have let you in on the basic concept of what meta descriptions are, why they’re important for your site, and how to create high-quality, value-packed meta descriptions that encourage more people to click on your link from the search engine results page.
What are you waiting for? It’s time for you to put those meta descriptions to work!
What did you think of this article? Do you have any queries or ideas on how to improve the quality of your meta descriptions? If you do, feel free to hit us up any time! Ecommerce Pro loves to answer your questions and we more than welcome discussions about your business ideas.