Meta descriptions are often overlooked when creating web pages, but well optimised meta descriptions and page titles will help increase your click through rate and as a result, boost your Google rankings. We’ve pulled together a five-point checklist to make sure yours stand out from the crowd!
What are Meta Descriptions?
Think of a meta description as the blurb of a book, and the page titles as the text on the spine. The title should be descriptive and to the point, the description should entice the reader to find out more.
Meta descriptions appear in search engines when you look for something on the internet. They’re the small snippets you see for each result, which, together with the title, help to provide additional information to the reader so they know whether or not to click through. If you want searchers to visit your site, this description needs to be relevant and provide a solution to their search query.
Although Google does not directly use meta descriptions when determining where to rank your website, they are a valuable tool in attracting people to click through to your site. The more people that click through to your website the more relevant Google considers your page to be and ranks it accordingly, so spending time on your meta descriptions will pay off. If you want your meta descriptions to be successful, length, keywords and duplicated text all need to be considered.
To help you get started on your journey to clickable meta descriptions, here are some things to think about.
Should I Include Keywords in my Meta Descriptions?
Keywords are incredibly important across your entire website and it’s useful to use them in your meta descriptions and page titles too. When someone searches for a term, Google highlights their search query in bold text in the descriptions. Through your keyword research you should know the top three keywords for each page. Adding these terms to your description will ensure Google highlights your result in the search, which will catch the eye of the searcher and make your result seem the most relevant.
Provide a Clear Call to Action
Meta descriptions containing a clear call to action have been proven to produce higher click through rates. Making it clear what you want your reader to do will increase the likelihood of them taking action and clicking through to your website.
How Long Should My Meta Descriptions Be?
Meta descriptions need to be informative but if they are too long Google will not display them in their entirety. Keep them between 70 – 155 characters long as a general rule. This should give you enough room to write what you need while also keeping them short enough that they are not penalised by Google for being too long.
Think About the Intent Behind the Search
When writing your meta descriptions, it’s important to keep in mind what people are searching for. Consider what answers the searcher might be looking for and try to make these prominent in your descriptions. Your reader will be more inclined to click through if it is evident that your page will solve their problem or answer their questions.
What are your Competitors Doing?
Explore the top results for each of the terms you want to rank for on Google. What are your competitors doing to achieve the top positions that you’re not? If you want to beat the competition, take note of this and strive to incorporate the best ideas into your meta descriptions. However, be careful to keep them relevant to the page’s content and don’t just copy and paste (Google hates a cheat)!
One Final Tip
Don’t give up! As with anything in life, you’re unlikely to get it 100% right first time. There is always room for improvement and the best results will come from trial and error. Use Google Search Console to monitor your results and watch the page “click through rate” like a hawk. After updating the meta descriptions, look out for the pages with the lowest CTR scores and give them a tweak.
Creating meta descriptions can seem difficult at first, but it’ll become much easier after some practise and by following these steps. Once you know the right keywords to target for each page, and you’re tracking your results properly it becomes second nature to craft meta copy that really resonates with your audience. If you need help with meta descriptions or some additional SEO support, click here to speak to one of our team. We’re always on hand and ready to help!