Meta Description: How to write the best meta description
The small text that appears under the heading (link) in the search result, is a meta description. If you want to rank higher in the organic search results, this snippet of text may be the answer – if you write it well!
A good meta description should be interesting enough that the user wants to click on your website and visit it. But it should also include the keyword for that page, to boost SEO.
In this article, we will go through how to create the best meta description.
- What is a meta description?
- Why are meta descriptions important?
- 8 tips for writing a good meta description
- Include a CTA in your meta description
- Focus on value
- A / B test your meta descriptions
- Experiment with length
- Unique and interesting
- Include keywords in your meta description
- Implement structured data
- Do not duplicate meta descriptions
What is a meta description?
A meta description is a small piece of text of approximately 160 characters that summarizes what a page on the website is about. The search engines display this snippet of text in the search results so that users know what the page is about, before clicking on it.
Meta descriptions help users decide if they will click into the page or not. In addition, they are also an important factor in where your page ranks in the search results.
Why are meta descriptions important?
Meta tags (including meta descriptions) are used by Google’s algorithm to determine which pages should rank well for specific keywords.
If you use them correctly, you have an opportunity to rank better in the search results. Meta descriptions help by:
- Increase the CTR (click-through rate), which in turn boosts your conversions
- Improve indexing so you rank higher in the search results (SERP)
- Make it easier for visitors to find what they are looking for
Search engines like Google recommend that you write meta descriptions to your pages. They show, in the search results, what your page is about and what the user can expect if he clicks on the page.
In addition, meta descriptions are also visible on social media when you share a link.
If you do not write a description, Google will create one for you. The problem with this is that it probably will not be as clear and interesting as if you had written it yourself. Therefore, you need to write meta descriptions to every page on the site, including articles.
8 tips for writing a good meta description
Meta descriptions are a great way to increase organic traffic to your site. But how do you write a description that both gets many clicks and at the same time improves the ranking?
Here are 8 tips to help you write good meta descriptions.
1. Include a CTA in your meta description
Using a Call to Action (CTA) in your meta description is a great way to convince users to click into your page. You can use phrases like “learn more”, “click here” or “shop now”.
CTAs also help the reader understand what the page offers and what they can expect when they click on it. You can use Call to Actions to sell a product, convince the user to sign up for an email list or by directing users to your social channels.
2. Focus on value
Using words that describe the value of what you offer is a great way to entice users to click into your page. When someone reads a meta description, they should be able to understand what is being offered and if it is something for them.
Use words like “learn”, “see” or “look” in your description where appropriate. You can also use words like “best”, “offer”, “new” or “popular” to make your meta description more appealing.
3. A / B test your meta descriptions
In your meta descriptions, you can easily experiment with different CTAs, etc. Then you can analyze the data to see what works better. For example, test different Call to Actions on two descriptions (which mean roughly the same thing). Leave them for a few weeks, then you can analyze in Google Analytics which page got the most clicks.
(If it is equal in number of clicks, you can instead analyze bounce rate, page time or conversions).
4. Experiment with length
A meta description has a maximum length of 160 characters. If it is longer, Google will cut it so that it can no longer be read after 160 characters. But even if there is a maximum number of characters, you should experiment with the length.
For example, long and in-depth wizards may actually get more clicks with an interrupted meta description, because the user wants to know more. Your homepage will work better with a shorter description while blog articles may get more clicks with a longer description.
Experiment! A basic rule is generally not to exceed the recommended length.
5. Unique and interesting
Meta descriptions give a good overview of what the page is about, therefore they are important to attract visitors. Use different methods and phrases to get attention, for example write an attractive title or include a question.
Remember that the meta description must always match the content of the page!
6. Include keywords in your meta description
It is important to include keywords in the meta description for two reasons:
It helps search engines understand what the page is about and can then rank your content
This ensures for users that the page is about what they are interested in
We assume that you have search engine optimized your page or article, then include your primary keyword in the meta description. But be careful not to try to stuff it in too much. Once or twice is enough.
7. Implement structured data
Structured data are HTML tags that you can add to your website to give search engine optimization and social media more context. You may have seen some stars in the search results? It is one of the more commonly structured data used.
8. Do not duplicate meta descriptions
Because meta descriptions are important for SEO, make sure you always write unique descriptions for each page and article. This will help search engines understand what your page is about and at the same time how it should compare to other pages.
For example, if you use the same meta description on all your pages on the site, then the search engines will not know what the pages contain. This is especially important for e-commerce, where the same description is often used for all pages. Although the products are similar, their descriptions should be different.
Frequently asked questions and answers about meta descriptions
A meta description should be approximately 160 characters long, including spaces.
It appears in the search results when a user searches on one of your keywords. It is the small text that is under your meta title.
Yes, they affect SEO because they give search engines information about your site and it also affects the user experience.
No, use unique meta descriptions and meta titles for each page of your site. Remember, your description is directly below the meta title, which is usually the same as the page title.
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