You’ve published your new blog. Or a brand new landing page. It’s a masterpiece.
All that’s left is the finishing touches…
…Your page title and meta description.
Well, your page title is straightforward.
But the description leaves you a bit more room to work with. So it’s time to get creative.
And in this post, I’m going to show you how to squeeze all the creativity you can out of your descriptions.
Let’s dive in.
The First Thing You Need To Know About Meta Descriptions
When we asked experts to share their best meta description tips for SEO, there was one constant:
The primary goal of your description is getting searchers to click.
But not only that, to click AND engage. Ian Matthews, Content Manager at Rebrandly shares details:
The job of a meta description is increasing your click through rate. And to do that, visitors have to know that your page is relevant to them.
But how does this affect SEO? The answer is click through rates and page engagement.
So with this said, you have to give your readers a taste of what the content is about, but without giving away the answer. This leaves searchers wanting more.
Ian’s point touches on the topic of dwell time. Dwell time tells search engines if users are engaging with your site after they click your organic result.
Higher dwell time: Means searchers spent time on the page, and clicked around. So, they got what they were looking for.
Lower dwell time: Indicates searchers weren’t satisfied. Meaning a poor result for a particular search query.
So with that said, I’ll start off with techniques you can use right now to start writing better meta descriptions.
Meta Description Tips Checklist
Here are the ingredients you’ll need to cook up CTR-boosting meta descriptions:
1. Use Popular Terms: Including the target keyword in your description will show in bold. This helps searchers scanning a search engine results page navigate to your content.
2. Write In Active Voice: Spark engagement using the classic copywriting technique of active voice. Because it gives searchers a clear idea of what action to take. It’s also grammatically correct.
3. Short Description Length: If your meta descriptions are too long, Google will truncate them. A good target to aim for is 140 characters. Just like your Tweets.
4.Search Intent Alignment: Understanding user search intent can shape your meta descriptions. If searchers are looking to learn, use your meta description to spark interest. If they’re looking to buy, make sure your description conveys action and value.
5. Use a Call-to-Action: The goal of your description (from an SEO perspective) is to get visitors to click your result. So you need to do everything you can to get that click. And here’s where you can use another copywriting technique that’s stood the test of time – the call-to-action.
6. Understand Your Audience: Knowing your audience is about understanding what visitors want when they search. To get clicks, you have to drill down to the essential problem users are trying to solve, and use that in your description.
7. Deliver on your Promise: Deliver on the promise you made in your meta description. If you don’t, visitors are going to bounce from your content. This is what hurts your SEO.
8. Keep Descriptions Unique: Larger sites run into the problem of overlapping meta descriptions. Make sure descriptions are different for every page.
Meta Description Tips Explained
We’ve listed the best meta description tips for SEO. Now it’s time to explore each. Read what the experts have to say and get examples for meta description tips.
1. Include Popular Terms
I’ve worked in digital marketing for over six years focusing on paid and organic search.
And one technique that’s served me well is to use Google Keyword Planner to come up with the top search terms that are most relevant to the page.
This way, when the user’s query triggers my result, those terms are bold.
– Jacquelyn Marks, Co-Founder, NewEra Collective
2. Use Active Voice
Meta descriptions are where your experience with creating strong marketing copy should shine!
That means you need to write in active voice. AKA prompt search engine users to take action and entice them to click-through to your content.
– Natalie Athanasiadis, Head of Digital, Digital Visbility Group
3. Meta Description Length
Optimal meta descriptions should be between 135 and 160 characters. There’s no exact number to pick here. It depends on what Google chooses to add to your search result.
For example, Google can add a date to your description, lowering the amount of description space shown.
As a rule of thumb, aim low, towards 135 characters. Just about the same length as a Tweet.
– Brandon Schroth, Owner, Click First SEO
4. Align with User Intent
When you’re crafting a meta description, make sure it aligns with what is actually on the landing page.
Google will figure it out if you’re trying to trick your visitors into clicking on something that doesn’t match up. It’s all about relevance. Also, the description should be unique from other site content.
– Kevin Drolet, Founder, cThru Media
5. Use a Call-To-Action
My number one tip for creating a good meta description for SEO would be to end the description with an action.
The real power lies of meta descriptions lies in improving organic click-through-rates.
One method I’ve found to be effective at increasing CTR is to end the meta description with an action-orientated message. This could be ‘Download Report’ or ‘Buy Now’ – something which instigates and action from the searcher.
– Jason Scott, Digital Marketing Specialist, Archway Cards
6. Understand Your Audience
You need to remember that you’re competing with the other SERP players for the click.
And you can do this by using proven copywriting techniques
Copywriting is all about understanding the audience. So take a long look at what you believe the searcher’s intent is. Then make sure your meta description (and title) address the intent and show that your result is going to solve their problem.
In short: Know your audience, know the searcher’s intent and combine this knowledge when writing meta descriptions
– Sam Warren, Marketing Manager, RankPay
7. Deliver On Your Promise
Imagine a page meta-description being the doorway to your page from a search engine.
Tell the user exactly what the page is about and use the focus keyword naturally. Never trick searchers to click on content that doesn’t deliver. This is only going to hurt SEO as your bounce rates shoot through the roof.
And long gone are the days of keyword stuffing. Make your descriptions sound as natural as possible so that human users will want to visit your page over competitor content.
– Anthony Macri, Founder, ANM.digital
8. Keep Descriptions Unique
Many large sites auto-populate metas, so the first thing is to make sure meta descriptions are unique.
Because keyword use isn’t as important as providing clear and compelling content in your meta description.
It’s what searchers see first, and if they aren’t clicking on your result, it could be due to a poorly written meta.
And, if no one is clicking on that page, then it’s more likely to lose those high ranks the SEOs worked so hard to get.
– Jonathan Poston, SEO Consultant
8 Meta Description Tips for SEO
You now have the toolset to start crafting awesome meta descriptions.
So make sure to use a combination of each as you put finishing touches on your new blog post or landing page.
And once you’re done, run your page through SEO Grader. It will give you an over/under on description length, and check to see if you’re used a keyword appropriately.