Writing the best meta descriptions for your web pages provides a better user experience for your site visitors. It improves your website’s performance by increasing click-through rates (CTR), relevance and competitive advantage. You can boost organic traffic to your site and page views with a well-crafted meta description, which is excellent for search engine optimization (SEO). For these reasons, you must learn how to write meta descriptions better.
Google has provided guidelines on how to write good meta descriptions: best practices and examples of good meta descriptions and what to avoid. You can find these rules and procedures in Google’s snippet documentation.
In the discussion below, you’ll learn about these requirements along with other essential tips and information, including:
• What are meta titles and meta descriptions?
• How to write good meta descriptions
• Meta descriptions best practices
• How to write meta descriptions for SEO purposes
• Bad practices to avoid
• Examples of good meta descriptions
What Is a Meta Description?
Before you learn how to write great meta descriptions, you need to understand what they are. A meta description is part of a webpage’s code, an HTML element that includes a start tag, the content and an end tag. The content of the meta description should provide a brief summary of what the page is all about.
Here’s an example of what a meta description looks like with all three elements mentioned earlier:
<meta name= “description” content= “This is an example of what a
meta description looks like and how it will appear on the SERPs.”>
Most content management systems (CMS) like WordPress will allow you to edit this part of your site’s markup code. You can edit this section directly through the code or the metadata settings description field.
Search engines use this description to help determine the contents of a page, which allows your site to perform better in search results. That is a clear incentive to learn how to write meta descriptions for SEO. Not only is it part of standard web design best practices, but it should also be part of your overall content strategy for SEO.
Further, the description you include in this HTML element can be displayed in the search engine results page (SERP) as a snippet, which users can read, giving them an idea of your page’s content. As users review the SERPs, they will read through these snippets and decide, based on your summary, whether or not they will click the link to your page.
When you learn how to write good meta descriptions, you can increase your site’s CTR by providing users with the helpful content they need. You can increase the CTR by 5.8% by writing meta descriptions compared to other pages that don’t have them (Search Engine Watch, 2020).
Benefits of Writing Meta Descriptions That Convert
The best meta descriptions follow search engine guidelines, which means they should be informative and concise, usually around 150 to 160 characters. As you develop techniques on how to write great meta descriptions, you compose them in a way to entice and engage your audience.
Equally important is adding relevant keywords you’re aiming to rank for.
“If the keywords or key phrases used by searchers match any part of the text in the meta description, it will be highlighted on the SERPs, making your link more visible and inviting to click, and it tells search engines the topics you’re covering in your page,” said Ronnel Viloria, Thrive’s Demand Generation Lead SEO Strategist.
Apart from the focus keyword, Viloria also recommended adding a call to action (CTA) in the meta description, if possible. The CTA prompts users to click on your link, which increases your page’s CTR. He explains further that at Thrive, we make sure to optimize descriptions and all other page elements to rank higher in the SERPs. These best practices must be performed while strictly following Google’s recommendations, such as meeting the 70 to 155 character limit or 430 to 920-pixel limit, Viloria said.
These practices also affect meta titles and descriptions. Using this strategy puts more eyes on your links in the SERPs, and it’s an excellent method for optimizing content for SEO. It is also important to note that even though Google has not confirmed if it is a direct ranking factor, composing outstanding meta titles and descriptions impacts your site’s rankings by increasing the CTR and reducing bounce rates.
Here are some of the main reasons why you should practice writing meta descriptions better:
1. Improve Your Site’s CTR
Google has clarified that meta keywords, meta titles and descriptions aren’t ranking factors in SERPs. However, a page’s description can indirectly impact your site’s ability to rank higher due to increased CTR. A well-crafted description can influence user behavior.
There is a tremendous benefit to learning how to write meta descriptions for SEO. The content becomes compelling and relevant if descriptions accurately reflect what users can expect from your pages. Further, it increases the chances of people clicking on your link.
For instance, let’s say you’re advertising running shoes. Adding keywords and relevant phrases like “comfortable” and “durable” in the description can grab the user’s attention if they’re looking for these specific qualities. These elements increase the chances of people clicking on your site’s link in SERPs.
2. Communicate Your Brand Message
Well-crafted meta titles and descriptions can be used to highlight your unique selling proposition (USP). You can use the description to differentiate your brand from the competition. This practice can increase user engagement if their values align with your brand voice, potentially leading to increased conversion rates.
3. Improve Search Relevance
Relevance refers to how well your content matches the queries of users. Search engines use several factors to determine applicability, including bounce rate, CTR, authority and your site’s content. Ensuring that your description accurately conveys the content of your page can appeal to your audience to click your site’s link in the SERPs. This should be part of your company’s SEO content writing best practices.
4. Enhance User Experience
When you compose concise and clear meta descriptions, you help users determine if your page contains the necessary information. The best meta descriptions improve user experience by providing relevant and valuable content. Suppose you need help crafting better meta titles and meta descriptions. In that case, it is best to consult with reliable SEO content writing services providers.
Meta Descriptions Best Practices
Google has provided several examples of good meta descriptions and, on the other hand, practices you should avoid. Suppose you find that the search engine isn’t using the descriptions you have created. In that case, working with agencies like Thrive that provide vital SEO content writing services will benefit your business immensely. These specialists can help you formulate strategies for optimizing content for SEO, including crafting compelling meta descriptions.
Content specialists can walk you through the meta descriptions and best practices various search engines provide. Here are some of the bad practices that Google has specified in its guidelines – and what to do instead.
1. List of Keywords
While it is essential to include at least one keyword you’re ranking for in your meta description, stuffing it with keywords will do more harm than good. It will make your description’s content difficult to read, reducing the quality of the user’s experience and reducing audience engagement.
Further, search engines are now better at detecting keyword stuffing, which will negatively affect your ranking. This can also reduce your CTR since users won’t likely click a list they don’t understand.
What You Should Do Instead: Add more details about your product, service, or business being discussed on the page. You can even include your contact details and opening hours.
2. Using the Same Descriptions
This guideline is directed at news articles published online. Writing the same descriptions for all your articles can be tempting, especially if they all contain news items. This practice can be flagged for duplicate content, and it can also confuse your audience. Since you’re using the same summary for every news article, it can reduce your site’s CTR since users may think you’re not offering anything unique.
What You Should Do Instead: Google recommends using snippets from your news article content to make each description and summary unique.
3. Descriptions That Don’t Summarize the Content
Only accurate descriptions that summarize the content of a page can be beneficial to your SEO efforts. Search engines may deem the description irrelevant or poor quality. In addition, users will be less likely to click your link if they know your summaries aren’t accurate.
What You Should Do Instead: Make sure that your meta descriptions summarize the main points of your page’s content. This will be more valuable for your audience and improve your CTR.
4. Very Short Descriptions
It is crucial to keep meta descriptions concise, but keeping them too short won’t help you rank better. In addition, it will make your site less competitive since users won’t have enough understanding about a page’s content to click on your link.
What You Should Do Instead: Keep your meta descriptions concise and within the 150 to 160-character limit, but you should provide enough information to users so they can judge how relevant the content is to their search intent.
Why You Should Work With Seasoned SEO Specialists
Thrive is a seasoned digital marketing agency that has served hundreds of companies since 2005. Our team includes some of the most talented SEO specialists in the industry, allowing us to help our clients rank higher in SERPs and generate more business.
We offer turnkey SEO content writing services, including effectively crafting meta descriptions that attract audiences. We can help you formulate a custom content strategy for SEO that works best for your business. Contact us today for a consultation.