SEO, CTA, PPC… web development and web marketing sure is full of a lot of jargon. One term you may be familiar with is “meta descriptions,” and whether you realize it or not, meta descriptions can play a big role in improving web traffic, as well as drawing in the qualified traffic you want for your site?
So just what is a meta description? And how exactly will it help you? Read on to find out!
What Is a Meta Description?
Simply put, meta descriptions are short summaries of a web page’s content that do not actually appear on the web page itself. They’re a way to indicate to users what they can expect to see before actually clicking through to a page.
So if a meta description is invisible on your website, why would you want to bother including one for all your pages, let alone put any thought or effort into writing a good one? Well the answer is simple: Google.
While most sites code their meta description not to be visible on the site itself, the descriptions are visible on search engines like Google. They’re the little blurbs of text that appear under a website’s URL in search results.
Why Do I Need Them?
Meta descriptions may not be visible on a web page itself, but they play an important role in attracting visitors. Potential visitors who come to your website from search engines like Google will see them, and use them to decide whether a page is worth even clicking on. If you want to compel anyone to click through to your site, you’ll need an accurate and compelling description. Though they may not have a direct impact on SEO rankings, they are a vital component of your SEO success.
Meta descriptions are also displayed as part of your page preview when a page is shared on social media platforms like Facebook, giving you yet another avenue to attract potential clicks-throughs.
How Do I Write a Good One?
Brevity is king here. Meta descriptions can be up to 320 characters, but all 320 may not display in all circumstances. How much of your description shows depends on a few factors mostly outside of your control (just as with sitelinks, Google isn’t telling all of its algorithms secrets anytime soon), so try to keep it short and to the point. If you are going to use all 320 character, try to frontload the most important pieces of information within the first half of your descriptor; that way if it does get cut off you have still given your readers an idea as to whether they’ve found the page they’re looking for.
Obviously, the descriptor should be germaine to the page it’s describing. You want to give readers an accurate idea of what they’re clicking on. If they come to your page expecting to see one thing and instead find completely different content, they’re likely to bounce right off and be disappointed with their experience on your site, so describe your pages accurately. Doing so will help you attract the right crowd(i.e. bring in the visitors you really want).
Your descriptions should also be actionable. Give your potential visitors a reason to click through with terms like Learn more, Discover, Find Out, or other calls to action that indicate there’s a benefit to coming to your page.
Lastly, you should give each page a unique meta description. Every page on your website is different, and that fact should be just as obvious on Google as it is on your site. You’re not repeating content, so don’t repeat descriptions either,
To summarize, your meta descriptions should be:
- Brief and to the point.
- Accurate and relevant to their respective pages.
- Actionable, with a compelling CTA.
- Unique for every page.
Whether they’re being seen on Google, Facebook, or anywhere else, your meta descriptions can determine whether a potential user clicks through to your site, so always take the time and effort to include them on your pages. In many cases they’ll be the first impression you make on a user, so make them count!