What’s a meta description? A meta description is a short paragraph of text that appears underneath your page title in a search engine. See the example below.
Meta descriptions can be tricky to get right. There are so many factors to consider to get your meta description to help your pages rank higher on search engines. However, one that also entices users to click on your website. So what’s the trick? What do you need to do to get your meta descriptions to help you rank higher? How do you get more clicks on your webpages?
In this article, I’m going to show you some tips to get your meta descriptions in top shape to boost your CTR and your SEO rankings.
What Is a Meta Description & Why Do I Need One?
As shown above, a meta description is the paragraph of text that appears below each search engine result. The reason for meta descriptions is to give a quick insight into what each page has to offer. What is it going to show a user who clicks on it.
That is why meta descriptions are so important. You need to consider including this in your webpages. This is your chance to quickly show users what each of your webpages is about. Plus why each page would be useful.
Think of meta descriptions as almost like an elevator pitch. When a user lands on a search engine results page, you only have a few seconds to give users a reason to click your page. You need to deliver that reason as effectively as possible.
So, once you’ve decided to include meta descriptions for your web pages, what now? Here are a few things you should do to ensure your meta descriptions look good. This ensures they will help you generate more traffic to your website.
Use Relevant Keywords
As with any piece of webpage content, it’s important to consider the keyword/s you’d like to target before writing anything. So, when writing your meta description for a specific web page, first think of the keyword you’re targeting.
Once you’ve identified your target keyword, you can also consider how you are going to best target this keyword to help your page rank higher in search engines. Targeting your keyword can be done in several ways, including using industry-specific phrases and using additional keywords that compliment your main target keyword.
Additional keywords are sometimes referred to as LSI keywords (LSI = Latent Semantic Index). Despite the fancy name, LSI keywords are just keywords that are similar or relate to your main keyword. You can learn more about how to find the best LSI keywords in our quick guide to LSI keywords.
You can carefully place additional keywords into your meta description to help better build a context around your main keyword.
As with any talk of keywords, it’s very important not to use “keyword stuffing” (cramming in as many keywords as possible). Keyword stuffing is bad for SEO, so as with any piece of writing, it’s important to use keywords intentionally and in the right context.
Keep to the Correct Length
While you can write meta descriptions enough any length, most search engines cut off any text that goes over ~160 characters. So, it’s important to keep your meta description within the optimal length. To be safe, I’d recommend keeping your meta descriptions around 150 characters, just to be sure none of your text gets cut off.
With this in mind, you may need to reconsider your it’s conciseness.
Keep It Concise
With the recommended meta description length outlined above, you’ll need to consider the words you use in your description.
You need to get across to users exactly what your webpage is about in less than 160 characters. So, how do you do this? Think of the most important things on your page, and also think about your audience’s potential hidden needs.
Finding the most important information included on your page (the key reason why you want people to visit) should be pretty straightforward. If your page is about email marketing automation, you can clearly state in your description that your page is going to show the reader everything they need to know about email marketing automation.
However, on my second point above, you can also consider your users’ hidden needs. Essentially, hidden needs are subconscious needs that show what your audience is really looking for. For example, if users are searching “email marketing automation”, one of their hidden needs is probably finding how to generate more leads using email marketing automation.
With this in mind, you can include in your meta description a brief mention that your webpage shows the information on how to generate more leads.
Your Meta Description Might Not Be Used
Don’t be disheartened if your meta description doesn’t get used by search engines. In some cases, search engines like Google will place a meta description for you if the Google algorithm thinks a piece of content within your webpage or blog post is better suited for your target audience.
This can be a little frustrating, especially if you’ve spent a long time crafting the “perfect” meta description. However, I usually see this as a good sign that the content on my pages rocks and Google is recognizing it as such.
That said, it’s still important to consider making a unique meta description for each page on your website as they’re most likely going to be displayed by search engines.
For more information on how to optimize the content on your website, how to build an effective marketing strategy, or way to improve your business, check out the latest posts on the Intentionally Inspirational blog as well as interviews with industry leaders on the Intentionally Inspirational podcast.
Written by Lewis James