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What are Meta Descriptions?

Updated: May 8

Meta Description is one of the important technical SEO elements, aside from title tags, slugs, and others.


A meta description is an HTML element that summarizes a webpage's content. It is an important SEO element that SEO engineers are optimizing to improve over-all SEO score. It appears as a snippet below the page's title and URL on search engine results pages (SERPs). Its purpose is to give users an idea of the page's content and how it relates to their search query.


Unlike page titles, meta descriptions are not a direct ranking signal for search engines but can impact organic click-through rates.

Google Search result for the keywords "How to write meta descriptions."


What is the purpose of meta descriptions?


The purpose of meta description is to entice users to click through to the webpage by providing a concise snapshot of the topic. A well-written meta description can improve a website's click-through rate, indirectly boosting its SEO rankings.


How do meta descriptions affect SEO?


While meta descriptions do not directly affect a website's search engine rankings, they are still an important aspect of SEO strategy. A well-written meta description that includes relevant keywords can improve a page's click-through rate (CTR) in search engine results pages (SERPs), leading to increased organic traffic.


Search engines use meta descriptions to provide a summary of a page's content and help users determine its relevance to their search query.


Why is it important to have a good meta description?


1. A good meta description helps SEO


Having a good meta description can positively impact SEO in several ways.


  • It can increase organic traffic to your website by making your result more enticing to click on in search engine results pages (SERPs);

  • It can improve your click-through rate (CTR) over time, which Google uses as a factor in determining the quality of a result, and can ultimately lead to higher rankings;

  • It can help users quickly choose the most appropriate webpage from the search results;

  • It can even boost the number of leads on your website due to increased visitors.


Make sure your meta description accurately summarizes the content of your page and includes relevant keywords. Use persuasive language and a call to action to encourage users to click on your result.


Regularly testing and refining your meta descriptions over time can also help you find the most effective wording to increase clicks and improve your SEO.


2. A good meta description helps users find your website


A well-written meta description can help users find your website by providing a concise summary of your page's content on the search engine results page (SERP). By using relevant keywords and a compelling call-to-action, you can persuade users to click on your result and increase your click-through rate over time.


Additionally, a meta description is good for SEO and can help Google understand the relevance of your page and improve your chances of ranking higher for relevant searches.


3. A good meta description is more likely to be clicked


A good meta description summarizes a page's content and presents it to users in search results. It's the first thing people will see when searching for something, making it an opportunity to persuade users to click on your result. That's why it's essential to craft a compelling, persuasive, and informative meta description that teases potential visitors with a hint of the value they'll receive by visiting your page.


A well-written meta description can increase click-through rates, drive organic traffic, and boost the number of leads on your website. For instance, increasing your CTR from 4% to 4.5% can result in almost 100 more clicks with a page that gets 50,000 impressions a month.


How to write a good meta description?


Research your competitors

Semrush report on Top Organic Research Keywords of Slaterock Automation.com

To write a better meta description for your webpage, you can research your competitors' meta descriptions using SERP research.


Firstly, research the SERPs for your targeted keyword and identify your competition. Then, research the SERPs for your competition and figure out what they are doing for their brands. Put them together in a spreadsheet and track them using tools like SEO Quake Google Chrome extension. Review their meta descriptions to generate initial ideas but do not copy their strategies directly. Differentiate your brand from your competitors by using valuable keywords and phrases that target your audience. Remember to write in an active voice and persuade your potential visitors. Check Google Trends, BuzzSumo, and Trending Topics on Twitter to see what's trending in your industry.


Lastly, search your keyword in Google and look at your top competitors' snippets to determine what needs to be included and how to stand out.


Map your customer’s journey


When mapping your customer's journey for writing a meta description, it is crucial to understand your target audience. Identify their pain points and highlight the benefits of your product or service.


Consider the customer mindset and make your meta description unique, actionable, and at an optimal length. Add a call to action and use your target keyword while avoiding meta description generators. For example, if you are selling a CRM software for small businesses, your meta description could read: "Nurture and grow your business with our customer relationship management software. Say goodbye to disorganized data and hello to streamlined workflows. Try our solution today and see the difference it can make for your small business."


Make your meta descriptions unique


It's crucial to make your meta description unique because it differentiates your brand from competitors and entices users to click through to your website.


A generic meta description won't capture the user's attention, and they'll likely choose a competitor's website instead. To effectively make your meta description unique, consider the customer mindset, use active voice, and add a call to action. Incorporate relevant keywords that match the search intent, but avoid using a meta description generator. For example, instead of a generic meta description like "Shop our products now," a unique one could be "Discover the best deals on high-quality products for your everyday needs. Shop now and save big!"


A unique meta description can improve click-through rates by providing a clear and compelling reason for users to visit your website. Remember to keep it at optimal length, make it actionable, and use your target keyword.


Step 4: Use your focus keyword


Focus keyword is the search term you want your page to rank with. Be sure to include the keyword in the meta description, ideally at the beginning, to make it easier for people to see that they've found what they're looking for. However, avoid overusing the keyword, as this can harm your SEO. Use natural language to tie the keyword into your description and make sure it sounds like a human wrote it.


Step 5: Keep it at an optimal length


It is recommended to keep your meta description to stay within the limit of 155-160 characters. This is important because search engine crawlers tend to cut off any text beyond this limit.


To edit and trim down the description, it is advisable to use specific words, match the search intent, use an active voice, and include a call to action. It is also suggested to avoid using meta description generators and to keep the description unique. One can expand on the title tag, show specifications when needed, and ensure that the description matches the content of the page.


Step 6: Target a specific search intent


Understanding the user's search intent is crucial to writing an effective meta description.


  • For informational search intent, focus on providing a concise and clear summary of the information the user will find on the page.

  • For navigational search intent, include the name of your brand or website in the meta description to help users find your site easily.

  • For transactional search intent, entice users with a call-to-action that encourages them to make a purchase or take a specific action on your site. For example, "Shop our selection of women's shoes and get free shipping on orders over $50."


By tailoring your meta description to match the user's search intent, you increase the likelihood of attracting the right audience to your site.


Step 7: Add keywords your audience actually searches for


Add keywords to your meta description that your audience actually searches for.


  • Conducting keyword research to learn the most valuable targets for your brand;

  • Use a keyword research tool to generate an assortment of valuable keywords and phrases to choose from;

  • Make sure to check out the keywords your competitors are targeting as well;

  • Tie your keywords into your meta description and make sure it sounds like a human wrote it;

  • Avoid stuffing all your target keywords into the meta description and keep it at an optimal length;

  • Remember to make it unique, actionable, and add a call to action.

Using your target keyword in your meta description will help Google and other search engines understand the intent of your web page and promote more clicks.


Step 8: Take advantage of trending social headlines


Google Trends

Take advantage of trending social headlines to write a compelling meta description.


  • Start by identifying the current trending topics in your industry using Google Trends, BuzzSumo, and Trending Topics on Twitter;

  • Once you've identified the trending topics, assess which ones are relevant to your brand and incorporate them into your meta description;

  • Remember to keep the description concise, accurate, and relevant to the content of your page;

  • Use active voice and add a call to action if appropriate;

  • Avoid copying your competitors directly, and strive to differentiate yourself from other brands;

  • Lastly, consider the browser's mindset and make the description unique and actionable. By following these steps, you can create a compelling meta description that drives traffic to your page.


Step 9: Avoid duplicate meta descriptions


Duplicate meta descriptions are a big no-no for SEO. To avoid them, each page's meta description should be directly relevant to the page it describes and unique from other pages.


One way to combat duplicates is to implement a dynamic and programmatic way to create unique meta descriptions for automated pages. However, if you have the resources, there's no substitute for an original description written specifically for each page.


To create unique meta descriptions for each page, consider the following best practices:


  1. Consider the length of the meta description and keep it concise to around 135 characters or fewer.

  2. Add the primary keyword and make sure it's hyper-relevant to the content on each page.

  3. Cater to search intent and communicate benefits and urgency.

  4. Include calls to action and make them actionable.

  5. Make every meta description unique.


To identify duplicate meta descriptions, use tools such as Google Search Console and Screaming Frog. Once you've identified them, rephrase the meta descriptions to make them unique and engaging. Avoid writing too much, sounding unoriginal, deviating from the topic of the page, ignoring your keyword, stuffing keywords, and using a passive tone. Instead, use active energy in your words and indicate the value visitors will gain from clicking through.


You can create unique and engaging meta descriptions for each page that will improve your SEO and increase your click-through rate if you follow above's tips. Remember, unique meta descriptions are essential for search engines to understand the relevance of your content and match user intent effectively.


Conclusion


A well-written and compelling meta descriptions of web pages are definitely important to SEO, along with the title tags, slugs, and other technical SEO elements. These should be carefully written considering that you need to capture with it the users browsing the Google results. Not to mention that it also helps Google to seach through your website.


We at Slaterock Automation, an SEO agency in Long Island, New York, are making sure that we are writing and optimizing for our clients compelling and properly-researched meta descriptions. Click the button below and get a free site audit report.



The report will include all technical, on and off-seo aspects of your website including domain authority, site score, and other relevant SEO metrics.


FAQs


How long should a meta description be?


The ideal length of a meta description is between 50 to 150 characters, but Google recently expanded the limit to 275 characters.


However, it's best to keep it concise and punchy while conveying the message effectively. Use active voice, include a call-to-action, and highlight the unique value proposition of your page. Avoid duplicating content and stuffing keywords. Remember, your goal is to provide value and drive clicks.


How does Google use meta descriptions?

Google Search main screen

Google uses meta descriptions to provide a brief summary of a webpage's content to users in search results. While Google may rewrite meta descriptions over 70% of the time to better match a user's query, it's still important to write a good meta description.


A well-written meta description that accurately describes the page's content and includes relevant keywords can increase click-through rates and drive more traffic to a website. It's also important to avoid using duplicate or irrelevant meta descriptions, as well as overly long or short titles.


What is the difference between a meta description and a title tag?


A title tag is the HTML element that displays the title of a webpage in search engine results pages (SERPs). It's the first thing people see when they come across your website on a search engine.


On the other hand, a meta description is a brief summary of the content on a webpage, also displayed in SERPs. While the title tag is a crucial ranking factor for SEO, the meta description is not, but it can still entice users to click through to a page. A well-crafted title tag and meta description can improve click-through rates and drive traffic to your website.

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Slaterock Automation is a Digital Marketing Agency focused on bringing the power of Ai to small and medium-sized businesses throughout the United States and Canada. "We utilize Ai for businesses through functional web design, Ai SEO, and business process automation."

 

Slaterock Automation is a Certified Wix Partner, Certified Semrush Partner, and Certified Google Partner.  Slaterock has served over 100 Wix clients and currently manages over 25 active SEO and PPC campaigns.

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