How To Write A Great Meta Description To Improve Organic Click-Throughs!
Optimising a website's Meta tags has always been a big part of Search Engine Optimisation and will continue to be for a long time to come.
It has always been best practice to optimise the different Meta tags for the individual pages on your website. The Meta description is one of these Meta tags. Do you know what a Meta description is or how to write an effective one? Continue reading to find out.
Before we get into writing a great Meta description, I just want to explain briefly what a Meta description is and why they should be optimised.
What Is A Meta Description?
If you are a business owner who is fairly familiar with the SEO community then you will probably know what a Meta description is. If you don't, a Meta description is basically a small snippet of HTML that shows up in the Google search results pages when someone makes a search. This is probably made clearer from the image below. The snippet of text inside the red outline is what is known as a Meta description.
Why Should Meta Descriptions Be Optimised
A good few years ago when SEO was still quite new, Meta descriptions were optimised heavily with keywords to directly impact search engine rankings. Google cottoned onto this and updated their algorithm. They no longer use a Meta description as a direct ranking signal. However, this doesn't mean that they shouldn't be optimised.
Optimising your Meta descriptions individually on each page is still seen as a best practice that Google likes to see. Also, because the Meta description appears in the Google search results page directly below your listing, it has a direct impact on your click-through rate. If you wrote a Meta description that was uninformative or didn't make too much sense, no one would want to click on it. However, if you make it eye-catching and appealing to your audience you can be sure to get increased traffic to your website due to the higher click-through rates from the search results page. Better organic click-through rates is also proven to have a positive impact on rankings.
How To Actually Write A Great Meta Description
Okay, so now you understand a bit more about Meta descriptions, what they are and what their purpose is, we can get into actually writing one. There are a few things you need to consider when writing the perfect Meta description. These are:
The length of your Meta description is really important. No matter how much you write, Google will only show about 156 characters, so keep it short and sweet. Think of a Tweet. It should be a similar length to this.
Although including the keywords in your Meta description won't impact on your rankings it is still good to include them for two main reasons. One, to increase the relevance of the Meta description for when someone does a search for that keyword. And two, it makes it stand out more. If someone searches for the keyword that you include in the Meta description, it will make it bold. See the below screenshot as an example.
Remember though, make sure the keyword appears in it naturally and don't over-stuff the description with loads of keywords, only use your main focus one for that particular page.
It is extremely important that your Meta description reads well and makes sense. Don't use words that are too complicated. Make it short and easy to understand. I have seen many poor examples of Meta descriptions that write for search engines and not for the user, they stuff keywords in and it just looks terrible! So, make sure your description is clear and written for humans.
Google hates duplicate content. Your Meta descriptions should all be uniquely written and not the same. If you have a Meta description that is the same as another page, change it!
What To Actually Write
What to include in your Meta description and how to write it all comes down to you now. Make sure you include all of the above when you are writing your description. You need to treat it like a short advert, really sell what you are offering and how you can help the searcher. Tap into their core emotions. What is it they are having trouble with? What don't they like about it? How can you help them? Thinking like this and stepping into your customer shoes will help you with what to write. A few things that are good to include in Meta descriptions to increase click-through rates are:
- A call to action
- A reason to believe
- A guarantee
- A special offer, discount or something free
- Capitalisation on certain words i.e. FREE
- Use of punctuation i.e. exclamation marks!
If you take on board all of the above, you will be well on your way to writing great Meta descriptions for your website that boost search engine click-through rates and get you more traffic!