When people search for a term, Google gathers all the top pages related to that specific query and builds up a list of relevant pages on the search engine results page (SERP).
Once in the SERP, a web page is condensed to show only its page title and meta description. Users look at these two elements and decide whether to open a particular page.
Because of its effect on click-through rate (CTR), brand recall, and traffic, meta-description has become very important in digital marketing.
Want to enjoy its awesome benefits? Here, SEO specialists in Dubai will teach you how to write a well-optimized meta description that converts.
What Is a Meta Description?
Meta descriptions are HTML attributes added to specific web pages.
On the front end, they serve as a summary of what’s inside those pages. They could also appear alongside rich snippets beneath headlines and display URLs.
On the back end, a meta description looks like this:
|<head> <meta name=”description”
content=”Here is a sample meta description.
It will often appear in search results.”></head>
Note that a meta description does not appear on the page itself. It is a form of metadata that merely provides information about the webpage.
9 Best Practices in Optimizing Meta Descriptions
According to Google, they do not use meta descriptions to rank pages. If that’s the case, why bother optimizing it?
What Google meant in their statement is that meta descriptions don’t directly affect page ranking. However, putting focus keywords in this metadata can help your page gain more traffic and a higher rank in the SERP.
So, between better brand marketing and increased CTR and organic page visits, it’s safe to say that meta descriptions are worth the effort.
Ready to optimize? Here are nine best practices for writing meta descriptions that are proven to help:
Start with the title tag.
Your title tag – also known as the “meta title” – headlines your meta description. It grabs users’ attention with just a few focus words and summarizes the page at the same time.
When writing a meta description, your goal is to provide additional information on what’s stated in the title. In other words, you need to discuss the page’s unique selling propositions (USP) that weren’t already covered in the meta title.
Match your keyword’s search intent.
Also known as “user intent,” the search intent is the primary goal a search engine user has while typing a specific query.
It can be one of four types:
- Navigational – uses branded keywords to find a specific website.
- Informational – seeks answers for specific questions (even though keywords are not always presented as a question).
- Commercial – aims to investigate a product or service before making a final purchase decision.
- Transactional – focuses on buying a product or service.
As a meta description writer, your task is to determine the users’ purpose for searching for a phrase or word on Google. You can do this by typing that term on the search bar and analyzing the most common type of content that appears on the results.
If you see a lot of definitions and how-to guides, for example, then your keyword is informational.
If there are plenty of products or services that appear on the SERP, the keyphrase could be either transactional or commercial.
Simply open the Keyword Magic Tool (under Keyword Research), input your keyword, go to SI “Intent,” and check the letters corresponding to each related keyword. You’ll see N, I, C, or T – each representing a different user intent (mentioned above).
Mirror what’s inside the page.
Meta descriptions summarize the webpage they point to, so it’s only proper that you write them in a way that mirrors the pages’ contents.
Aside from including relevant information based on the title tag, make sure your description clearly illustrates what the page is all about.
Remember to highlight your USPs, but never make promises you can’t keep.
Use focus keywords and their synonyms.
Keywords are powerful elements in SEO. Although adding them to the meta description doesn’t directly affect rankings, they can boost a page’s visual prominence in the SERP.
Research shows that most users rely on the first couple of words they see when scanning the search results. It only takes them several seconds to decide what’s relevant to their query, so that’s your only window of opportunity to leave a lasting impression.
If you use your keywords upfront and sprinkle synonyms across the meta description, Google will help you attract more eyeballs by emboldening those terms.
Go for the tried-and-tested length (but don’t dwell on it too much).
One more thing you need to consider when writing a meta description is its length. However, you must not dwell on it too much, as Google tends to change what appears on the SERPs quite a bit.
A study shows significant variance in the length of descriptions being displayed on the search results:
- On the desktop, 60 to 175 characters are shown.
- On mobile, it is limited to 60 to 150 characters, with the majority displaying 100 to 125.
With so many factors affecting this (e.g., query type, ranking position, and device), there’s no perfect meta-description length that can be used by all.
So, instead of searching for a golden number, try to look at what worked for others. SEO experts say you can start with 120 to 158 characters, then see if the entire description is displayed. If not, you can just adjust it until you get the perfect length.
When it comes to enhancing your online presence, mastering the art of crafting a compelling meta description is just one of the many effective strategies to boost website traffic, as discussed in the related article.
Write in the active voice and second person POV.
A sentence written in the active voice has a subject that acts upon the verb. Use it to make your descriptions more on-point by addressing the users more directly.
You can also replace the words “I,” “we,” and “ours” with the second person point of view (POV) such as “you” or “yours.” This way, you can boost engagement and make it more personal by talking directly to the audience in your meta descriptions.
And remember to begin your descriptions with action words like “learn,” “discover,” “grab,” “buy,” and “shop,” among others. These can help boost your chances of winning a click.
Include a CTA.
Call-to-action phrases aim to make the audience do something. When placed in meta descriptions, it helps drive more clicks to the page you’re optimizing.
When writing a CTA, do so without imposing any obligation on the searchers. This will remove or reduce the risk they may feel that could make them think twice about opening your post.
However, you must also create a sense of urgency to make them click the page right away. Adding the words “now” and “today” should do the trick.
Determine winning hooks from Google Ads.
Top-ranked Google Ads keywords have high-quality Scores. For advertisers, this means paying less for every click they get. But for meta description writers, it can help craft a message that has been proven to resonate with the audience, effectively boosting CTR.
Make every meta description unique and attractive.
Finally, you must make sure every meta description you write is unique.
For product pages on e-commerce websites, you can use templates available in most content management systems. These will let you write unique descriptions at scale just by changing a single variable.
In terms of appeal, you can boost your pages’ relevance and CTR with power-up elements. These include numbers, dates, specifications, and value-adds.
SEO experts also recommend adding emojis to improve visual prominence. Just make sure you choose a relevant emoji. Otherwise, Google will remove it.
Get More Clicks with Better Descriptions
When done right, custom meta descriptions help improve click-through rate, brand recall, and ranking (albeit indirectly). Follow the best practices listed here to ensure that all your pages get visited when they appear on the SERPs.