What is a Meta Description?
Whenever you get results from search engines, you usually see blue, hyperlinked headings all down the page. Those are “SEO Title Tags”; and underneath them you’ll usually find some text. Well, that seemingly conspicuous blurb of text is an HTML attribute called a “meta description” and very few people appreciate its value.
The typical meta description is usually anywhere between 70-147 characters long. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not harmful to go over that. However, SEO copywriting is a craft that’s heavily reliant upon succinctness. Also, there’s an aesthetic quality to information that doesn’t get cut off mid-sentence – quite awkwardly at that. That aspect, coupled with a high page rank, is bound to drive more traffic to your site. In addition to that, most content sharing systems these days automatically generate one for you.
Although, we’re all thankful for the efficiency that automation gives certain SEO processes. In this case, it always pays more to craft individual meta descriptions tailored to the target visitor.
What is the purpose of a meta description?
Now that you know what a meta descriptions is, perhaps you want to delve deeper into its purpose and underlying value. Meta descriptions don’t have a direct impact on search engine’s ranking algorithms. This is rather strange considering that duplicate and missing meta descriptions get penalized by search engines.
However, despite this, they’re absolutely invaluable to your site’s clickthrough rate and driving conversions. One of the keys to marketing is being able to communicate significance. That’s the ability to hold a customer’s attention and incite them to act; and click-through rate is the measure of it. Over time, the increased CTR (click-through rate) from your meta descriptions will help your pages rank higher. The question is, “Can you communicate your ability to satisfy your customer’s need in 147 characters?” If you can, they may be inclined check out your page to find out more.
To put it simply, these descriptions are a small window of opportunity to prove your expertise to would-be consumers. Thus, it’s important to maximize them through the use of SEO tactics like keyword optimization and calls to action. With that being said, mastery in those two things will undoubtedly help your meta descriptions push your visitors further down the purchase funnel and get conversions.
The Characteristics of a Good Meta Description
In order to craft a killer meta description, there are certain elements that must be followed. We’ll delve into a few of my favorites below:
If your goal is to create significance, you can’t go about it being stale and monotonous with your content. It pays to be different and to set yourself apart from the crowd. Be sure to apply that mindset to your meta descriptions. Find out what your company’s brand voice is and start to craft meta description in line with tone. Always examine how you address your readers with discernment, and you’ll reap the benefits very soon.
For developers, it is key to use meta descriptions as a means to highlight the differences between your pages. As mentioned earlier, if you don’t, you open yourself to penalization from search engines. This in turn will hurt your page ranking and your ability to drive conversions.
Include a call to action
You need to start seeing your meta description as an open invitation to your page. Once you’ve done everything possible to make them feel like such, the effort will reward itself. One aspect of this is a strong call to action. Few people know that in marketing there’s a fine line between persuasion and command. Sometimes, all your customer needs is a nudge in the right direction. Don’t be afraid to use imperatives and commands when trying to entice them. A few tried and true examples are still very effective: Read on, learn more, get it today etc. CTA’s are especially useful if the page linked to the meta description is one where a conversion can take place, e.g. a product page from which items can be bought.
Include the focus keyword
This cannot be overlooked. Keywords are the very cornerstone upon which SEO is built. You want to make sure everything ties back to the keyword. Optimization is key. It’s why your content’s keyword density matters as much as it does and why your invitation to your audience should make mention of exactly what they’re looking for. Don’t be afraid to use synonyms too. Today’s SEO tech makes keyword optimization wider-reaching and more sophisticated than ever before. So, research what synonyms your desired keyword has and incorporate them in your meta title and description today.
If you want to take your site’s SEO capabilities to the next level, I recommend doing business with us. Our attention to detail and finer understanding of SEO’s more cerebral elements make us the ideal agency to work with. Contact us today to find out how we can use our SEO expertise to get you the results you need.