When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), it’s crucial that you always write for the user FIRST and the search engine next. This couldn’t be more true when it comes to writing meta descriptions for your web pages.
When users see your pages in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), they need to decide which results to click on based on the titles, names, and meta descriptions of the websites. In particular, meta descriptions are essential to search engine optimization. If done correctly, they’ll encourage users to click through from search results pages.
In this blog post we will explain what meta descriptions are and how to write the perfect one for SEO purposes.
A meta description is a short snippet, a description tag in HTML, that summarizes a webpage’s content. On a search engine results page (SERP), the meta description appears under the page title and URL. In addition to that, social sharing sites like Facebook commonly use a page's meta description tag as the description that appears when the page is shared on the site.
Meta descriptions do not directly influence search rankings. However, they play a role in helping potential site visitors understand what a page is about, which can provide a positive impact on search referrals.
The meta description can impact a page's click-through rate (CTR) in Google SERPs, which can positively impact a page's ability to rank. These short paragraphs are the webmaster's opportunity to "advertise" content to searchers, and the searcher’s chance to decide whether the content is likely to be relevant to their query and contain the information they're seeking. Also, without the meta description tag, social sharing sites may just use the first text they can find. Depending on what that first text is, this might not create a good user experience for people encountering your content via social sharing. Therefore meta descriptions have an indirect impact on search rankings and especially because they can significantly impact user behavior, it's important to put some effort into writing them.
Check everything you need to know about the title tag here: https://ositcom.com/84
If the search keyword matches a part of the text in the meta description, Google will be more inclined to use it and highlight it in the search results. This will make the link to your site even more inviting. Google sometimes even highlights synonyms. In the example below, both the Academy Awards and Oscars are highlighted. Getting your results emphasized like that makes them stand out even more.
Remember: Don't stuff keywords - Repeating your keyword 9 times will get you penalized.
It has been considered a standard SEO best practice for years to keep meta descriptions at around 160-165 characters maximum (or 156-160 characters).
Google uses the meta description to better understand the webpage, and there is no limit to how long the meta description can be, although Google suggests no longer than a short paragraph.
This is what Google recommends:
“A page’s meta description tag gives Google and other search engines a summary of what the page is about. …a page’s meta description tag might be a sentence or two or even a short paragraph.”
SEOs recommend keeping the meta description within a set limit based on how much of the meta description Google can show on a search results page.
The meta description’s main purpose is to pique a user’s interest while remaining relevant to the page’s content
Make the copy count: tell visitors what the page is about without revealing all of your secrets right away; think of something that is easy to read as well as compelling.
Again, give users the quick answer to their question while making them want to read more.
You can also add a call to action in your meta description will compel people to click through to your page. They help readers understand what you offer and what to expect after clicking. For ecommerce stores, focus on different motivations behind their search.
If someone is looking for a more broad search term, like women’s shoes, you’ll notice what ranks are a lot of category pages. People use category pages to browse, versus product pages where they buy. Reflect those intentions in your call to action.
Some call to action examples for ecommerce are:
Give each page a unique description that is tailor-made for it, without copying meta descriptions from other pages.
Why are the above examples of good meta descriptions? All within the recommended 160 character limit, you have an accurate representation of what this site’s page content is going to be. The above listed descriptions are informative and communicate an idea of enjoyment and community while being brief.
Meta descriptions are some of the most important elements for SEO, even though they don’t directly affect your ranking by the algorithms. They are important for your website for several main reasons, they help users find what they’re looking for on search engines since they are the first element to determine whether a user will visit your website or not after the page title.
Be sure to create an engaging meta description for your website that persuades end users to choose you over your competitors. By taking the time to create well-thought-out and contextual descriptions, you can help boost traffic to your website and help users find the information they need.