How to write a meta description that gets clicks

How to write a meta description that gets clicks

Like all beautiful yet hard-to-perfect things in life, writing effective meta descriptions is hard work.

A critical HTML element of every webpage, a meta description is a summary of a page’s content that helps inform users and search engines about what’s on a page.

It appears in search as a snippet beneath the blue, clickable link to indicate what is on the page.

Why you shouldn’t ignore meta descriptions

Your meta description is one of the first things people see when using organic search.

While it may be tough to construct the perfect meta description, you should not ignore it. 

Each significant page of your website should be effectively summarized in its meta description – indicating what’s behind that blue link on the SERP and what a user will get when they click through to that page of your site organically.

Other than the website name, URL/domain name, and title tag, the meta description is the only other real element users can assess to determine whether a search result is relevant to their query or not.

Squarespace meta description

Below are nine tips to ensure you’re giving each webpage the best possible meta description and that users needing your content will click on your result, thanks to the summary you provided.

1. Make sure every page has a unique meta description (and title tag and URL)

Just like no website should have multiple pages of duplicate content, no website should have duplicate metadata either. 

That includes meta descriptions, title tags, and a page’s main target keyword.

All of these important page elements have an impact on SEO and user behavior and should be weaponized as such. 

Customize them to describe the page and the content that lives on it. Make sure they entice a user to click on it because they are sure that whatever is on the page will be useful to them.

It should be a complete sentence (or two) with keywords relevant to the page and its contents.

There is no one, single correct way to write a meta description.

There are multiple ways to get the job done effectively.

And people have different styles for how they craft them and what works best for them and their brand. Surely, differing styles are not “wrong.” 

We need to ensure we are coming up with and using the best one possible to accurately and effectively describe what a page contains.

2. Start it off with action words (and always include a CTA)

We only have about 160 characters to get our point across. Ensure there is a CTA to guide the user for what’s on the page.

Many use multiple sentences to compose their meta descriptions to include keywords and details in the front half of the description, then a custom CTA toward the end of the description.

Action words – regardless of where they are placed – help people and search engines better understand the type of page they are about to click on (informational, transactional, etc.) and if it’s what they actually want.

We can’t be everything to everyone. But people looking for a specific page should be able to find it and get an idea if it contains what they are looking for.

3. Use keywords and front-load them whenever possible

Keywords are still important. And they’re a leading indicator for people (and search engines) when determining whether a page is useful and relevant to any specific query.

The best meta descriptions use keywords early in the snippet in a natural way. Those keywords support the page’s content and goals.

4. Ensure you include vital information about the page’s content

Include pertinent information that is vital to the page’s theme while being mindful of character length (or pixel width).

You can cover critical information that helps explain the page’s function and/or goal.

Is it an informational page about a product? 

Is it an ecommerce page where you can buy a product directly from? 

Such details can differentiate this page from others while enticing users to click.

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5. Be specific

Put yourself in the shoes of the user.

What does that user need to continue to the website listed in search? 

Are there specific things being searched for in the user’s query that translate to your company helping them solve a problem?

Specify what users can expect when they open the page.

6. Maintain brand voice, tone and identity

This one may not translate directly to better search ranking or click-through, but brands benefit from a consistent voice and tone.

This includes specific terminology, general voice and tone, and style.

7. Keep character length (or pixel width) in mind 

Once again, remember: we only have about 160 characters to get the job done.

That’s not a lot of real estate to make a strong impression, but it’s definitely enough.

Use your space wisely and ensure your entire meta description is published (and not truncated).

8. Leave the brand name out of the meta description unless it’s needed

Having the brand name in the meta description is often unnecessary and should be avoided whenever possible.

But if it’s needed for context – or if you need to satisfy some characters to ensure you’re hitting minimum length requirements – have at it.

People, and search engines, know what brand is behind most domains (and it’s usually in the domain). Thus, adding the brand name to the meta description wastes valuable real estate.

9. Keep it short and sweet

It’s not just about character length. 

People want quick, easy, and digestible meta descriptions that tell them if your content contains the information they’re looking for.

Satisfy that need with a great meta description and title tag, and your click-through rate will reflect that.

Get more clicks from search with a well-written meta description

The best meta descriptions are accurate, keyword-rich and on-point. 

They give users an indication of what’s behind the link they are clicking while still satisfying the pixel limit and being easy to read.

Since search engines enable to customize and dictate what snippets are served to users in search, it’s vital to take full advantage of that opportunity.

The post How to write a meta description that gets clicks appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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