SEO meta descriptions are the small search snippets found on search engine results pages. They give a brief description of the article and allow Google and other search engines to scan for relevant keywords. This is a great way to increase your website traffic by describing the content.
The purpose of the meta description is to give a brief preview of the article so the searcher can decide to click through. The meta description for each page should be unique and optimized with a keyword or long-tail keyword phrase. Moz, a software as a service company (SaaS), states that a meta description is typically between 150 and 160 characters and measures the width in pixels.
Using SEO Meta Descriptions
If you craft a powerful meta description using persuasive and creative copy, Google will bold the keywords on the search engine results page (SERP). The keywords do not impact Google rankings anymore, not since 2009, but the bolded words will catch your prospect’s attention. The goal is to get your prospect to click through to your website. This action will increase your click-through rates, and possibly your conversion rates, all from an organic search.
Copywriters use certain strategies to craft a persuasive meta description. The following is a list of a few of these strategies:
- Write persuasively with an active voice. Use a call to action to tell your prospect what you want them to do. For example, “Discover the 5 Ways to End Heartburn Today – Grab your copy of our free report.”
- Give your prospect the benefit they will receive when they read your article in the meta description.
- The meta description should be creative, but accurate. Do not oversell your content just for a click-through. It will only increase your bounce rates when your prospects leave your site disappointed.
- Knowing your target audience will go a long way in writing concise needs-based copy.
Google will not allow quotations to be placed in a meta description. Moz suggests that if your snippet must contain a quote, then use just single quotes so it is not deleted automatically. You do not want the search engines truncating any part of your snippet as you want to try to appear on the first page and above the fold on SERPs. Most people do not look at page two or even scroll down below the fold on SERPs.
SEO meta descriptions shared on social media sites like Facebook must be compelling. If no description is listed, Facebook will pull one from the article’s text. This piece of text may not be powerful enough to lead to click through.
Writing a Meta Description Is Not Always Necessary
Crafting a meta description can increase your click-through rate and possibly, your conversion rate. However, there are times when a description is not necessary on your part. If the content is large or complicated, the search engine can create one for you. The newly created meta description will highlight keywords and long-tail keywords that are relevant to the search. The only problem with this service is that the text used will probably not be persuasive enough for click-through.
Do not use keyword stuffing in a meta description. Keyword stuffing refers to the technique of using an inordinate amount of keywords to try to gain higher search engine rankings. If your description (or your content) is flagged for this, you can be penalized and your website banished. It is better not to have any meta description listed, than to resort to keyword stuffing.
Writing SEO meta descriptions is just like writing any other content. Practice and hone your craft and your click-through rates will increase over time.