Meta descriptions are a fundamental part of any good SEO project, and they’re used by Google to help users understand what’s on a particular page. Google describes meta descriptions as being ‘like a pitch that convince the user that the page is exactly what they’re looking for’. So, it’s safe to say they’re important. They show up as snippets in the SERPs (search engine results pages), so having effective meta descriptions for your site will encourage users to click through and visit your page. If you’ve found this post because you want to make sure your content is in tip-top condition, we’ve put together eight tips on how you can write a good meta description.
1. Stick to the ideal character length
Make sure your meta description fits into the space it will be displayed on in the SERPs, so the searcher can read all of it. It doesn’t matter if you write a killer description but it’s too long and gets truncated! Keep your description to 155-160 characters (including spaces) to ensure it’s displayed in full.
2. Highlight what sets you apart
Mention your product or service’s USP in your meta description. Can you highlight what makes your offering different in the ideal number of characters? This can really make you stand out in the SERPs.
3. Keep it unique
It’s important to have a unique meta description for every page. If two or more pages from your site show up on one page in the SERPs you want them to be easy to differentiate between, so potential visitors know exactly what they’re getting. If they click one page at random and it isn’t as relevant to their search as the other page from your site which was also listed on that SERPs, they might not stay on your site as long as they could have.
4. Mention your brand
If you have a strong brand name with a positive reputation it can be beneficial to include this somewhere in your meta description, as this may encourage a visit to your site.
We recommend including the keyword you’re targeting for that the page within your meta description, IF it fits in naturally. Don’t just stuff the keyword in if it doesn’t really make sense to you, as it won’t make sense to the searcher either and may cost you a lost click.
6. Call to action
End your meta description with a call to action. Think about your online marketing objective and have your call to action reflect this. So, if you want people to register for your newsletter you could try ‘sign up to our newsletter today’, or if you offer a free trial or incentive you could mention that. If your call to action isn’t as obvious as this, you could try ‘learn more’ or ‘read more’.
7. Formatting is important too
Consider your formatting. You could try using an ellipsis at the end of your meta description to elude to more content still to read, as this can encourage the reader to click in order to read on if they’re interested.
8. Tell the truth
You should always ensure you’re accurate and truthful about your business when writing meta descriptions. If your meta description sounds amazing and then your content, product or service offering doesn’t live up to its promises, you’ll find your bounce rate will soar and people will leave as soon as they arrive.
There are lots of mixed opinions on best practice for meta descriptions, and often the success of your tactics depends on what best suits the kind of service of product you’re offering. An exclamation mark may suit a bouncy castle hire website but might not work so well on a medical treatment website. Remember to use your character limit wisely as they could be the difference between a click or no click!