A meta description is an HTML tag that benefits on-page SEO. Often displayed in search results, it describes the main topic of a page or a post. It is an effective tool to guide searchers to relevant content, improving your website's visibility, traffic, and industry credibility.
Let's be clear: a meta description doesn't directly affect a website's ranking. But it affects your clickthrough rate or CTR. The CTR measures the number of times a user has clicked on your link. And Google uses it to gauge your content's relevance, which might affect your ranking.
For this reason, it's important to write great meta descriptions. You can think of them as the first impression visitors get of your website -- and you want to ensure it's a pleasant one.
So how do you make sure you write compelling meta descriptions? That is what we are discussing in this short blog post.
Having your focus keyword in your meta description helps Google and other search engines to recommend your content to searchers. It achieves two significant benefits. First, your content gets indexed for your focus keyword. And your website visitors get the chance to know your business.
When using keywords, though, remember not to overdo it. When you stuff your meta description with too many keywords, you might compromise its readability. The quality will suffer, and people won't click on your link, even if your website is ranked high. Try to use only one keyword, if possible.
Google can pick up on synonyms and related terms. Take a look at this example.
Google recommended the website in the image above, and its meta description has the correct key terms: "Formula 1" and "Grand Prix", although these terms don't match the exact search phrase.
Your meta description should also have a call to action, which you want readers to do. Some examples are:
"Check out this post..."
"To learn more, read this..."
"Find out how..."
In addition, keep your meta descriptions unique for each page. It helps direct traffic to specific pages and improves your website's SEO performance.
The active voice is more compelling, and in content writing, it's beneficial. It gives the reader more clarity and is easier to read. It also gives your content more authority.
Unless your content is very formal, don't use the passive voice. It's not as committed, can sound disengaged, and might turn away website visitors.
Your meta description should also give readers what they need: an answer to a question or a solution to a problem. Look at this example from Forbes.
This meta description gives a concise answer to the search query. So anyone reading it will want to follow through and click the link to find more information.
If you're running an eCommerce store, your meta descriptions for product pages should be as specific as possible. This example from iPhone is excellent.
In this example, readers quickly see what they will get if they purchase this specific iPhone model. Additionally, it gives them just enough information to make them want to know more.
The perfect meta description is also relevant to the page or post it describes. As the gateway between your website and a potential visitor, making it accurate and honest is essential.
You need to engage a searcher and give them an incentive to want to visit your website. When they do, imagine how disappointed they will be if your content doesn't match what they were looking for.
In addition to upsetting visitors, it might also increase your bounce rate. The bounce rate measures how often a user has exited your website after visiting one page. A high bounce rate can seriously hurt your website ranking.
Google may also penalise you for writing inaccurate and irrelevant meta descriptions.
Finally, keep your meta descriptions snappy, concise, and short. A good range is between 120 characters and 155 characters. So it's not too fast, but also not too long.
It's hard to predict whether Google would display your prepared meta description or not. But if it does, keeping your meta description within the range ensures Google display it in its entirety. Not cut off.
Look at this example:
This one shows that the meta description only has 131 characters. Google displayed the entire snippet, which made it more engaging, readable, and effective.
As your trusted SEO agency in Sydney, iVersion can help you optimise your on-page content to improve your website ranking, visibility, and credibility. We provide transparent and real-time SEO performance insights, replete with actionable recommendations to get you started.
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