On Page SEO
You’re confused, right?
You know that meta descriptions are your advertising copy/sales pitch.
That means they should be compelling enough to attract your target audience to your website from the SERP and increase click-through rates. But then you’re not sure how to craft them.
You’re not alone.
According to custom essay help, writing compelling and readable meta descriptions is a challenge faced by most webmasters.
Unfortunately, writing boring meta descriptions can hurt your CTR rates and ultimately affect your SEO efforts.
Well, of course, Google stated that meta descriptions don’t count when it comes to getting better rankings. However, their influence on a page’s click-through-rate on search can improve the visibility of your website.
That’s why it’s important to craft mouthwatering meta descriptions for your web pages and blog posts.
If you’re confused about how to boost CTR by writing compelling meta descriptions, this in-depth guide is for you.
Here, I’m going to talk about what meta descriptions are, the ideal length, and how powerful they are when it comes to improving your SEO. I will then show you how to craft compelling MDs for your website and blog posts.
So without much ado let’s get rolling.
Understanding meta description definition
Meta descriptions are snippets that provide a brief description of a page’s content in the SERPs- usually appears below the title of the page in search engine’s organic search results.
Take a look at how meta descriptions are displayed on search in the following screenshot.
Are meta descriptions important for SEO anyway?
Why should you bother to write compelling Meta descriptions for your pages and blog posts?
Well, according to Google’s announcement of September 2009, the search engine’s algorithms don’t use meta descriptions as a ranking signal; however, the content inside the meta descriptions can increase click-through rates.
Typically, meta descriptions are important for various reasons as outlined below:
- Attract your target readers to click on your website in the SERPs.
- Drive more traffic to a page. When optimized properly, meta descriptions have the power to attract visitors to click on a page in the SERPs and this ultimately leads to increased traffic.
- Increase conversions. A properly crafted meta description that’s optimized for user intent can potentially increase conversion rate and revenue.
What’s the ideal length of compelling meta descriptions?
Google has been constantly changing the meta description length. For instance, the search giant increased the length to 320 characters in December 2017- Only to revert the length to between 155-160 characters in 2018.
Ideally, it’s not easy to determine the exact length of meta descriptions for both mobile and desktop devices.
In fact, according to a Google employee, a good meta description should be short, interesting, and aimed at informing the reader about the content of a particular page.
In other words, Google is yet to state the ideal meta descriptions length.
That’s why it’s important to make sure that your meta descriptions are as descriptive as possible- I’m going to show you how to do it in a moment.
Of course, the recommended best SEO practice by expert SEOs is to keep meta descriptions around 155-160 characters for desktop and 120 characters for mobile devices.
Difference between meta descriptions and search snippets
For years, people have been mistaking meta descriptions with search snippets.
The two are different components altogether.
As stated above, a meta description is a snippet that briefly describes the content of a particular page.
Users have control over how to optimize and tweak a meta description however, a search snippet is controlled by Google.
Ideally, Google displays a search snippet depending on the search phrase a user enters into the search engine. The search engine can even display a snippet of the conclusion as long as it is optimized for the search query.
Well, if you’re lucky, Google will display your meta descriptions but in most cases, Google controls what should be displayed in the SERPs.
That said here is how to write compelling Meta descriptions that increase CTR and conversions.
Understand Your Target Audience
I mentioned above that Google displays meta descriptions based on the phrase a user enters into the search engine- and sometimes the search engine may display your exact meta description; if you’re lucky though.
We also found that meta descriptions should be short, interesting, and inform the reader about the content of a particular page.
Now here is the thing: No matter how descriptive your meta descriptions are, if they don’t grab your user’s attention, no one is going to click on your page.
But how do you write meta descriptions that grab the reader’s attention in the first place?
That’s where you need to research your audience well- find out what your target customers are looking for on the internet.
As Lucas Trogdon, the author of paper writing service reviews suggests, your page’s content needs to satisfy what users are looking for then your meta descriptions should grab them to click.
As a rule, you need to understand the searchers’ intent then give them exactly that by writing meta descriptions that attract them.
Assuming a user wanted to buy the best running watch and enters the exact search phrase on Google, see what the search engine would display:
As you can see, T3 wins the searcher’s heart by listing all the suitable running watches.
That means that T3 took their time to understand that users looking for running watches want certain types of watches and targeted them by listing those watches right in their meta descriptions.
Include Your Focus Keywords
Having said that your meta descriptions should signal search engines and users about the content of a particular page, it’s safe to assume that including your focus keywords right in there could help increase your CTR as well.
Take a look at how adding your focus keywords in your meta descriptions could help when a user enters the phrase “SEO best practices”.
As you can see from the top 5 results, all the blog posts have listed the SEO best practices straight away and the keyword “SEO best practices are highlighted.
Ideally, if you were looking for how to do SEO on your blog posts you’d use the five results to inspire your SEO strategy.
That’s because the results matched with what you’re looking for. And to add more salt, the blog owners have even shown you what to do to strengthen your SEO efforts.
Remember that you should use your focus keywords naturally to let the reader know what to expect when they click
Google also uses the keywords you add to know what the page or post is all about.
The Yoast SEO tool lets you add your focus keywords to your web pages as well as blog posts with ease.
Ignore What SEOs Say
Given how Google keeps changing the meta description length, it doesn’t make sense to focus on the ideal length of your pages’ meta description.
Initially, Google had announced the character count for meta description to be 320. The search engine then reverted the length to 155-160 characters.
Now, considering the main purpose of meta descriptions, it’s important to avoid focusing on the character count and give users what they want.
As I stated earlier, the meta descriptions should act as a hook while also telling the reader what the content of a page is all about.
That means that what you include in the meta descriptions should be influenced by the end user.
And most importantly, you should check what your competitors are writing in their meta descriptions and do it better.
Well, and of course, if you want to limit yourself to the announced character count then keep your MD between 150 to 160 characters long.
Of importance, it should inform the reader what’s inside the page before they even click.
Take a look at the meta descriptions of these three companies- Short and straight to the point.
As you can see, the meta description of the first result: BuyaCar is 28 words long whereas that of the second result: AutoExpress is 23 words and the third one: CarWow 36 words long.
That means that whether the meta description is long or short, as long as it serves the purpose, you shouldn’t bother yourself focusing on the ideal length.
Craft an Interesting, Unique Meta Description That Promises Value
It’s easy to attract people to click your meta descriptions if you make them interesting.
So you want to make people want to click on your page once it is displayed in the SERPs.
To achieve that, you should write in the active voice.
You also want to keep your meta descriptions unique.
Remember that your meta descriptions are a powerful tool to build your brand. So you need to promise the reader something of value once they click on the search results.
Use Action Words
I’m going to use Dropbox as my example as the company uses action words to get people to create an account with them.
As you can see, Dropbox’s meta description tells users what the company does to ease people’s work so they can focus on things that matter. Their meta description also goes further to get you to take action: sign in so you can put your creative energy to work.
They promise value then make you take action.
Once your meta description attracts readers, you want to make them take a certain action. This is the best place to add action words such as “Click here to read more”, “Download the latest app to track your weight loss effort”, “Sign up an account and enjoy…” etc.
Match the Content of The Meta Descriptions With That of the Pages
Granted, the meta description is just your advertising copy. It’s meant to sell the product fast and effectively.
It wouldn’t make sense to craft an awesome meta description yet you’re selling a poor-quality product.
Besides, you shouldn’t promise people something you don’t provide.
By this, you shouldn’t make your meta descriptions click-baits.
Google will discover that if you’re tricking users to click on your page and you might be penalized.
In fact, this will even result in a higher bounce rate. After all, what would you do if you clicked a Google result that promises to sell weight loss supplements only to find that the content is talking about different things altogether?
You will click the back button right away.
Once someone has taken their time to click on a result, they want to see exactly what you promised on the meta description so there shouldn’t be a content mismatch.
Tease But Don’t Give Out Everything
See, your meta descriptions should briefly tell the readers what to expect when they click.
Ideally, you want to grab them so they can click and get inside. That means that if you give out everything in your meta description then no one will click and this will hurt your CTR.
As a rule, give them a tip of the iceberg and let them want to click and find out more.
Write Separate Meta Descriptions for Each Pages
At no time should there be pages on your website with the same meta description.
Well, this doesn’t affect your CTR but it can get people confused about which pages to click.
As a rule, each page should have a unique meta description that informs the reader what content is within.
How to Add Meta Descriptions With Yoast SEO
For WordPress users with the Yoast SEO Plugin installed, adding meta descriptions is easy.
The good thing about this tool is that you get to see feedback in real-time.
The plugin lets you add your meta descriptions and your focus keyphrase.
It will also check whether your meta descriptions are within the required length as well.
Take a look at how the Yoast SEO Plugin works in the screenshot below.
As you can see in the image above, the lines are all green which means that the SEO title and meta description box is within the required character count. Had the content within the meta description box been longer than required, the line could have turned red.
Of course, right below the meta description assessment box is the SEO analysis where you can optimize your content further as shown in the image below.
If you check the results in the image above, you can see the “Keyphrase in meta description” and “Meta description length” sections have a green dot.
That means that the meta description contains the focus keyword and it’s within the ideal character count.
So that’s how easy it is to add meta descriptions using the Yoast SEO Plugin assuming your website is hosted on the WordPress platform.
The plugin also lets you add meta descriptions for social sharing.
Write Compelling Meta Descriptions:FAQs
Does Google show web master’s meta descriptions?
Oftentimes Google shows meta descriptions based on the search term a user enters into the search engine.
That means that your meta descriptions may or may not be displayed at all times. Usually, Google picks information based on the search query. To increase the chances of making Google display your meta descriptions, research your target audience and make sure you add the exact keyphrases they are entering to your meta descriptions.
What makes a good meta description?
A good meta description is short, descriptive, and informs the reader about the content within. Think of a good meta description as a sales pitch that convinces a user that the page displayed contains exactly what they are looking for.
What’s the ideal length for meta descriptions?
Typically, there is no character limit for meta descriptions. Of importance, you need to craft meta descriptions that compel and inform the reader about what to expect once they click on a search result.
Meta descriptions aren’t Google ranking signals but they can impact rankings indirectly.
Given that Google monitors click-through rates, it’s no doubt when you craft compelling meta descriptions, you increase CTR and ultimately move the needle for your page rankings and increase conversion.
Remember that meta descriptions are here to stay. So, it’s important to learn how to increase CTR by writing compelling meta descriptions, which is exactly what I have talked about in this article.
Did I miss anything you feel should be featured in this in-depth guide on how to write compelling meta descriptions?
Let’s hear that in the comment section.