One of the most common mistakes SMBs commit when creating their website is ignoring meta descriptions. However, having a user-friendly, navigable, and informative website with a low bounce rate (amount of visitors that leave the website) won’t mean much unless you’re generating a decent amount of traffic.
If you want to maximize your business website, you need to draw in as many prospects to your site as possible. One of the best ways to do that is by creating quality meta descriptions. These are one- to two-sentence blurbs that appear under page titles in Google search engine results pages (SERP). They give readers a general idea of what the linked web page contains.
Meta description strategies are some of the cheapest yet most effective ways to drive organic traffic to your website and improve click-through rates. These short blurbs represent your web page along with your meta title in the Google SERPs they appear in, and are the first thing your readers see.
Content Optimization With Meta Descriptions
Bear in mind that Google won’t always use the blurbs you provide for the meta description and snippet. In fact, SEO statistics show that Google changes 62.78% of the snippets that appear on their SERPs.
To ensure that your snippet ends up with a suitable meta description—whether Google goes with your blurb or chooses an excerpt from your web page—optimize your content according to your meta description strategies as well.
There are several ways to force Google to use your desired snippet. First, answer the search intent right from the get-go. Let’s say your article is titled “How to Rank on Google.” Rather than creating a long intro hyping up the reader, answer the question right from the get-go in a simple, straightforward manner—ideally, in the first or second paragraph.
Apart from giving Google bots a suitable blurb to use for the snippet, providing a direct answer early in the article reduces the chances of readers losing interest and moving to another page or website. Thus, reducing bounce rates.
Second, create a short, concise blurb for the meta description that adheres with Google’s guidelines. Common guidelines and rules include keeping the text within 150 to 160 characters and using the keyword you want to rank for no more than two times.
What Happens If You Don’t Put Meta Descriptions
If you forego creating your own meta descriptions, Google will automatically create one for your pages. No search result will appear on Google SERPs without a snippet.
Now, if Google can automatically generate a meta description for you, why should you bother creating one in the first place? The answer: For better page ranking. There’s no guarantee that the meta description Google generates is SEO keyword-optimized, compelling, or even coherent. If that happens, your chances of ranking will significantly drop.
Although, there are also cases where it’s more cost-efficient to leave the generation of meta descriptions to Google.
For example, if you have a large website that contains thousands of web pages, creating and maintaining snippets for all of them would be very expensive and inefficient. In these cases, the best approach would be to select pages you want to drive organic traffic to such as the homepage, contact page, landing page, and product store page.
Top Tips for Writing Meta Descriptions
You’ve been successful in organically increasing web traffic through meta descriptions in the past few weeks and are happy with your conversion rate optimization results. You think you have the magic formula now. Then, all of a sudden, your meta descriptions stop performing as well as they used to. What happened?
Google updates its algorithm more than 500 to 600 times annually, so it’s not unusual for SEO tactics to eventually stop producing the same results. That’s why you should never rely on templates.
Instead, learn the digital marketing strategies behind creating high-quality meta descriptions that both compels readers to click on your page and convinces Google your page deserves a top spot on their SERPs.
Tip #1: Make Sure You Insert the Right Keywords
Keywords are a crucial element to any SEO strategy. The idea here is to use relevant, timely words and phrases that your readers are searching for on Google. Ideally, you’d want to sprinkle SEO keywords throughout your web content, page title, and subheadings.
When plotting what keywords to incorporate in your web page, you can use reliable programs such as the Google Keyword Generator Tool. This tool will show you what the highly searched keywords are, which ones are ranking, and what keywords don’t have competition.
Tip #2: Be Concise and Watch Out for Length
Technically, meta descriptions can be as long as you want to be. However, Google SERPs only allot a certain number of pixels per search result, so you’d want to keep your description within 150 to 160 characters—including spaces—at most. Otherwise, your description will just be cut off.
Unless you’re copy-pasting a specific excerpt from your page, going above 160 characters is not advisable. The excess parts of the blurb won’t be viewable anywhere since meta descriptions don’t appear on the web page itself. That means you’ll only be wasting your words while simultaneously reducing the chances of Google using your customized meta description.
Tip #3: Include a Call-to-Action
Call-to-action (CTA) phrases are a must, not just for meta descriptions but for every other element of your site as well. Your homepage, contact page, landing page, and even social media ads should have some sort of CTA phrase or button.
These phrases guide readers on what they should do next. For example, if you’re writing a meta description, the snippet should end with something that tells the reader to stop scrolling through Google and click on the web page link right now. Don’t just present a solution, tell your reader to act on it.
Tip #4: Stick to Your Site’s Branding
Do not deviate from your website’s branding and voice. For example, if your website primarily talks about serious topics such as finance, digital marketing, or insurance, you’d want to maintain a professional, formal tone throughout the various elements of your website.
Meanwhile, those who discuss less serious topics like dating, fitness, or beauty tips can adapt a more casual, laid-back voice.
Tip #5: Observe Proper Grammar
Even if your site has a casual, informal branding, you should never forego grammar. Make sure to write coherent, compelling descriptions that follow basic grammar rules. Poorly constructed sentences and phrases reduce a site’s brand authority making it an unreliable source of information.
Pro Tip: Don’t have the time to write meta descriptions for your website? Work with digital marketing professionals who do SEO services instead. Use the time you save to focus on other more important business-related matters that need your undivided attention.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are meta descriptions?
A meta description is an HTML element of one to two sentences summarizing a web page’s contents. This appears on SERPs and is positioned right under your meta title, which is the clickable title that redirects users to your site.
You can write your own meta descriptions or let Google automatically generate one for you. Although, bear in mind that even if you do create your own set of meta descriptions, there’s still a chance that Google will change these.
How do I write compelling meta descriptions?
The key to writing compelling meta descriptions is to be as concise and straightforward as possible. Don’t beat around the bush.
Statistics show that the average human attention span is at 8.25 seconds, if you fail to capture your reader’s attention within that time frame, they’ll likely move on to the next search result.
Also, identify the user search intent. Think about why your readers are researching a certain topic, determine their potential pain points, then hint that clicking on your page will answer whatever question they have.
Do not spend all your resources into writing your own meta descriptions. Yes, they’re an important element to generating web traffic, but there’s also a 62.78% chance that Google will rewrite the snippet.
With that in mind, it’s crucial to put effort into creating multiple informative, concise answer paragraphs throughout your web page as well. That way, you can still force Google into choosing your preferred descriptions.
If you’re planning on managing your website’s SEO, it would be best to familiarize yourself first with the most recent updates with Google’s algorithm.
Overall, the key to writing meta descriptions is to use highly searched keywords, address user search intent, and adapt to Google’s ever-changing algorithm. Don’t just copy-paste random excerpts from your web pages.
Still struggling to create high-quality meta descriptions that generate results? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Running a business is hard work and requires most people to dedicate the majority of their day to regular operations and team management. It’s understandable why meta description writing isn’t something you can prioritize learning.
So opt to hire the content marketing professionals at Bliss Drive instead! Leave the tedious, time-consuming SEO tactics to us and just focus on making the most of the high-quality, organic traffic we bring in for you.
Are you having a hard time generating web traffic and reducing bounce rates? Bliss Drive is an SEO marketing agency that helps SMBs create compelling, informative, and prospect-converting web pages. Reach out to the Bliss Drive team to see what we can do for you!