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Tara West

Tips for Writing a Good Meta Description

26th May 2011 SEO, SEO Resources 3 minutes to read

Meta descriptions are a fundamental part of any good SEO project. In the past, they influenced rankings directly, until the search engines caught on to the way that SEOs were abusing them with keyword stuffing. Today, they are still fundamental, but for very different reasons.With SERPs (search engine results pages) becoming increasingly saturated with paid, local and organic results, it is more important than ever to stand out on the page and encourage a user to click and visit your site. Having a good Meta description s one way to achieve this.

This post gives you ten tips for writing compelling Meta descriptions:

  • Make sure your Meta fits into the space it will be displayed on in the SERPs, so the searcher can read all of it. Keep the description to 155 characters (including spaces), and the Meta title to around 55 characters.
  • Mention your product or service’s USP ion the Meta. What makes your offering different? Include this in your Meta as if it makes you stand out in the market it can help you stand out in the SERPs.
  • 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 are 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 SERP they might not stay on your site as long as they could have.
  • 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
  • Include the keyword you are targeting with the page within your Meta description if it fits in naturally. This means that where the user’s search query matches text in the Meta description, it will be formatted bold and stand out more. Don’t just stuff the keyword in if it doesn’t make sense as it won’t make sense to the searcher and may cost you a lost click.
  • End your Meta 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 news letter you could try ‘sign up to our news letter 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’.
  • Consider your formatting. Try using an ellipsis at the end of your meta to elude to more content still to read as this can encourage the reader to click in order to read on:

Use an ellipsis at the end of a Meta description...

  • Ensure you are accurate with you Meta descriptions. If your Meta sounds amazing and then your content, product or service offering does not live up to its promises, you will find your bounce rate will soar and people will leave as soon as they arrive.
  • Use all options available to enhance your appearance on the SERPs and Meta description, for example implement Rich Snippets where it is available.
  • Don’t engage in unethical tactics, such as excessive use of symbols or capitalisation, as you may stand out but Google will eventually catch you out:

There are lots of mixed opinions on best practice for Meta and often the success of your tactics depends on what will suit the kind of service of product you are 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 155 characters wisely as they could be the difference between a click or no click!

Please feel free to put your thoughts and ideas about what makes good Meta below in the comments section of the post.

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