How To Write Meta Descriptions Your Customers Will Love
19th December 2017
Having a successful search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy is about more than just ranking highly on the search results pages.
A successful SEO strategy encourages high-quality traffic back to your site and ensures they engage with your brand. In December 2017, Google announced it was to extend its meta description snippet length from 160 to 320 characters; giving you a greater opportunity to attract your ideal user from the search results pages.
Your meta description length should be optimised to fit nicely within the 320-character limit
When a user searches for a particular query within Google, they will be able to view your websites title and a short snippet of text; designed to provide more insight into what they can expect to read. This acts similarly to the blurb/synopsis for a book, enticing people with an idea of what they can expect contained within its pages. As a website owner, you want to attract the user to click through to your website, read your content and the carry out the defined action; be it transactional, making contact or otherwise.
If done correctly, well-written descriptions can help boost the relevancy of your content and work towards ensuring appropriate, high-quality, relevant traffic comes through to your site – ultimately leading to improved on-site user behaviour.
Here are our top tips to ensure you’re writing meta descriptions your customers will love.
- Length: Strive for quality over quantity
- Your meta description length should be optimised to fit nicely within the 320-character limit. Anything longer and Google will simply trim the end, to fit the length. Be sure to only include the information you need within the space provided, striving for quality over quantity.
- As with meta tags, be sure to include your most important and relevant keywords in your meta description. Often Google will highlight these words if they’ve also been included in the user's search query, increasing prominence. However, don’t fall into bad habits by trying to cram in lots of different keywords and variants. This won’t be appealing to a user and, more than likely will simply lead them to not want to click through to your site.
- Content: Be creative and include accurate descriptions
- Be creative, and include accurate descriptions, for all important pages and posts on your site. If you don’t have the time to create new descriptions for every page on your website, at the very least prioritise the most important, profitable pages such as your products or services pages and create descriptions. This will be a worthwhile tactic when it comes to your individual pages appearing in the search results. This is a big opportunity for you to really ‘sell’ your business, service, product etc. by showcasing your expertise and unique selling points.
- Concise: Answer the questions that users are posing
- Your customers aren’t interested in outdated information. If you’ve added new information section to your site, be sure to tag the key information associated with it, appropriately; such as date of publication, author, category etc. This will help Google determine the most up-to-date and relevant content for the user. Do this well and accurately - whilst concisely answering the questions that users are posing - and Google could reward you by making your information visible in the 'featured snippet' section at the top of their results.
- Snippets: Help search engines populate your listing
- If you’re not already using structured data (Schema, for example) as a part of your search engine optimisation strategy, then you’re already missing out on a big opportunity to rank higher – naturally – within the search results. Including structured data code across your site, will help search engines populate your listing with more relative and beneficial information such as star ratings, customer reviews, product information etc.
- CTAs: Discover more…
- Think of your meta description as an advert. You have a short window to grab the user’s attention and entice them to engage with your brand. Be sure to include a call to action within your meta description, using action language such as “Shop for…”, “Discover more…”, “Sign up for a free trial…”, “Learn more about…”.
Getting your website to the top of Google search results is great, but if the user doesn’t click through – or doesn’t take action/interact when they land on your site – then what was the value in obtaining that user? If this is the type of engagement you’re seeing, then this could be a sign that your meta descriptions may be providing misleading – or poor – information.
Focus on writing a meta description that’s designed with your user in mind, understanding what they’re interested in and focus on nurturing these visitors. If may be that, upon revisiting your meta descriptions – following our top tips – that it comes to light that you’re on-page content is actually the biggest issue on your site. If that’s the case, write some excellent meta descriptions and quickly follow this up with some content rewriting for your site; always bearing in mind your prospective user/customers point of view.
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