What are meta descriptions?
According to Google, “Good meta descriptions are short blurbs that describe accurately the content of the page. They are like a pitch that convince the user that the page is exactly what they’re looking for”.
Everyone will have seen a meta description but they probably didn’t know. Meta descriptions are found on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) underneath the title of the website. They should be around 150-160 characters which doesn’t give you many characters to persuade the user that your webpage is the best for them. By not entering a meta description, Google will end up choosing one for you from the content on your webpage and this isn’t really what you want happening. They usually end up not making much sense and don’t offer much enticement to the user.
Metadata – including meta titles and meta descriptions – are basic SEO tasks, however, are often overlooked. Although meta descriptions are not a ranking factor, they do influence a ranking factor – click-through rate. So by having a good meta description that entices users to click-through to your site, you should start to see your ranking move up.
Writing a good meta description
Here are some tips to think about when you create your meta descriptions:
Clear and Concise
For your meta description not to be cut off in the SERPs, you need to ensure it is no longer than 160 characters. You want to make sure that you clearly describe what the user will find on the website if they click-through, however, you don’t want it to sound boring either. After all, if your description is long and confusing, the user is not going to click on it.
Ensure they are unique
You want all your meta descriptions on your website to be unique from each other. Having the same descriptions on all your pages will not allow you to describe them as well. Seeing a generic description isn’t going to entice the user to click-through.
Include a call-to-action
Why should a user click-through to your website over another? The meta description needs to give the user a reason to click-through. Giving a teaser of the content they will find on the website will entice them to click-through to find out more.
You need to have keywords in the meta description that is relevant to the search query and the page’s content. If not, Google will pull text that does include it to use as the meta description which will likely not be as enticing or offer any reason for the user to click-through. If Google is showing a different meta description that you entered, go back and edit to make it more relevant.