Meta Descriptions are the perfect way to begin your relationship with potential visitors. They are the small snippet of text that is located underneath the page title when you search for a page on Google. So, I’m going to try and talk you through how to write a good meta description.
Each page on your website has one of these on Google, if one has been set by you, which it should have been on every page for SEO purposes. However, if one has not been set then there will be one automatically written from the copy on the page, however it is best practice to write your own.
1. Meta descriptions do not affect ranking – this makes keywords optional
It is important to remember that although meta descriptions are vital for your website, that they do not actually affect where your page will rank in a search engine.
Meta descriptions can include keywords for your pages, but they should be enticing, as you want to encourage potential visitors to your webpage, and hopefully to use your products or services.
2. Maximise your character count.
A meta description should be no more than 160 characters, but ideally over 150. It is important to make your descriptions snappy and to the point, as you don’t get enough characters to be descriptive and detailed, leave that to the content on the page. The description is in place to get your users attention and make them want to visit your page, not to sell your products or service.
3. Know your competitors.
This description will be competing with all the other websites that show for similar search terms, so you must make sure that yours stands out from the rest and will make a user choose you over the other possible sites. Research meta descriptions that your competitors are using and take inspiration from these to help you craft your own, but try to still be unique to stand out from the rest.
4. Be inviting, welcoming and positive.
What purpose would you like your content to serve for your business? Do you want to use it to talk about your organisation in a positive light, sell your products, educate readers in your industry, or simply generate more enquiries for your business? If you focus your content around an end goal this gives you and your team something to work towards and means you will be able to analyse the effectiveness of your website content based on whether these goals are achieved.
5. Sell your page to search users.
The purpose of writing your own meta descriptions for each page is because it’s your first chance to sell yourself to the user, it’s the first thing they read before accessing the page and we all know first impressions are important. Make your description compelling and ensure that the visitor is left wanting to know more, leading them to your page.
6. Relate to your target audience.
Knowing your target audience is essential for all marketing activities. Your meta description is the perfect place to target them initially. Use of direct address is one of the things I find most important in a meta description, as you need to make your potential user feel involved in what is happening on this page in order to draw them in. A user should feel like they are being personally targeted with this description so that they feel they are welcome and wanted on this webpage, increasing the likelihood that they will visit your site.