Are your Meta Descriptions doing their job?
Are your Meta Descriptions doing their job for your website? They should be since meta descriptions are a factor in SEO that you shouldn’t ignore. As a top web development company, we know the value and importance of good meta descriptions and wanted to share with your our insights on the subject. After all, every single visitor your site receives matters and you don’t want to lose out on traffic because of something that is relatively straightforward to correct.
What are Meta Descriptions?
In a nutshell, Meta descriptions are supposed to provide a concise summary of a webpage. It is contained within a tag in HTML and can be up to 320 characters although many people use less. Usually they are written as a short paragraph unless you can be more to the point and use a singular descriptive sentence.
Many times you will see a meta description in search results when the searched for phrase is contained within the description. This often happens when meta descriptions are doing their job properly. The optimization of meta descriptions should be included in your on-page SEO strategy.
Why do they matter?
As we said, these descriptors are valuable for your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts primarily because they are like an organic advertisement. When you are able to rank your page for a keyword, Google will display your meta description as the summary of the page on the results page.
For people who are ranking highly this can be a huge boon simply for the additional level of authority it displays for your business and brand. Even better however are the increased clicks you will see if you have a compelling, well-written meta description. Those clicks are free traffic!
Often it isn’t just getting ranked that matters, but then showcasing your potential value to searchers that matters to an actual click-thru. What is your site going to provide them compared to the other listings? Think of it like an additional sales pitch you get to make to a searcher.
Those click-thrus do add up, not only as traffic to your site but also as a measurement that Google and other search engines track when ranking your site. A great description that can influence searchers to click is ultimately going to help your algorithm score.
Another fun fact about meta descriptions; they also show up when people share content on social media platforms as well as on websites. Again, it is like a free advertisement showing people that, “Wow, these guys seem to have some good stuff that sounds interesting plus people are sharing it!”
Writing Meta Descriptions
Typically you should have direct control of all of your meta descriptions. WordPress and other content management systems make it very easy to create and adjust this information. On every page it is located in the <head> section in a box that looks like <meta name=”description” content=”Write something interesting and useful right here people.”>
Basically what we are saying is that it is not that complex, so don’t be intimidated with the idea of changing or adding one.
Just like writing great ad copy, there is no perfect formula for crafting meta descriptions. However there are quite a few important things you should be trying to accomplish each time out:
- Relevancy – You description needs to be relevant first and foremost. It should include the keyword in a very specific and authentic manner. Every word counts and they should be used to connect with the searcher so try and put yourself in their shoes. What is going to appeal to them? What type of language or writing style will resonate with them?
- Actionable – The best ad copy uses present-tense, action-oriented words and your meta description should too. Why should people follow this link? What will happen? Phrases like, “Learn more,” or “Discover new,” can help combine intrigue with information.
- Value – What is the value you are providing? Is there a benefit to your products or do your services provide a solution to a problem? How exactly can going to your website give them what they want, need, or are looking for? As most search results are going to provide a selection of options for the searcher, your meta description needs to show the user the value you intent to provide.
- Short – Last but not least, try and keep it as short and concise as possible. No doubt it is hard to show relevancy and value while using actionable words and still keep it short and sweet, but that is what you need to do if you want the best possible results. The truth is that most of us skim and don’t read search results so you need to use key words and be concise so that when people skim your description they quickly your message.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that your meta descriptions should be doing their job and earning you more clicks, more visitors, and better overall rankings because of user behavior. If they aren’t, or you aren’t sure, then it is time to review them and see if they can be improved upon. After all, each and every click is valuable to your businesses bottom line either by leading to a conversion or increasing your brand’s visibility.
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