So far we have not discussed on meta descriptions yet. But meta descriptions are an important part of your website’s search engine optimization. They are important because they provide information about your site to both search engine bots and website browsers.
Therefore, optimizing the meta description is a significant aspect for your website’s on-page SEO. In this article, we will emphasize on the essential characteristics that make a good meta description and how to write a meta description that makes people click on your link first.
How does a Meta Description appear on the SERP?
These HTML attributes appear as concise summaries of web pages underneath the blue clickable link and the website URL link in the search engine results page. Even though you may know how a meta description looks like, here is a screenshot was taken to use as a demonstration for those who are new to search engine optimization and need an introduction to what is a meta description.
So that’s how the meta description will look in the Search Engine Result’s Page. When an article is shared across other social media platforms or website, then the meta description will become visible along with a picture, the title and URL link of the web page.
It’s evident that the meta description is an essential element for every webmaster when it comes to online advertisement. They also help the reader to determine whether a particular content is useful or not. The meta description should be directly relevant to the content of the page.
Other important characteristics that make up a good meta description –
Keep the length of your meta descriptions within 135 to 160 characters and not more than that. According to Moz, that’s the standard length beyond which the search engine will tend to truncate the snippets that are longer than 160 character length.
Here is a good example of the actual length that a meta description should have –
- Tone of Expression
If you are using meta descriptions to invite readers or prospects to your page, then the active voice is the best form of speech to write in.
You can follow Yoast if you are wondering about writing meta descriptions in an active voice. Almost every meta description is written in active voice, and you can follow anyone –
Keywords help to maximize your web page’s click-through-rate. Craft a relevant content but make sure that it has got the relevant keywords that you are trying to target.
It is important to understand that whenever Google and the other search engines find a relevant match in the query, they tend to bold out the keywords that are found in the meta description. It also helps to draw the eyes of the person who is looking for relevant information.
Here is a good example. Note how Google highlights the term ‘Academy Awards’ along with ‘Oscar.’ It will make the search result stand out even more –
- Structured Content
Some meta descriptions require a structured content. For example, if the meta description is meant for a product page, then it would be a good idea to include information such as the SKU, Manufacturer, product price, etc.
This will help a prospective buyer to identify the specific information that is relevant to his/her search. This can trigger a prospective sale from the buyer’s side.
If you are wondering how a structured content looks like, then check out this piece of meta description from Apple. These piece of content is enough for asking prospective buyers to come and take a look at the newly launched phone instead of wondering around salesy texts.
- Unique Meta Descriptions
Make sure that you do not end up creating duplicate meta descriptions for each of your web pages. Or else, you would end up having something like this –
Therefore, you are recommended to create dynamic meta descriptions that make your automated pages unique. There is never an alternative for original content.
What Not to Include In Your Meta Description
Double Quotation Marks
Why? When a meta description that has those double quotation marks appear on the SERP, Google will cut off the description right where the quotation mark is. You can prevent this by removing all non-alphanumeric characters from your meta description. If you have to use the double quotation marks, then it’s best to use the HTML entity and not the double quotes to prevent any truncation.
Need an example? Here is one from High Rankings –
Do Meta Descriptions Help to Build Ranks?
No. Meta descriptions will not help you build up your website’s ranking factor. However, the right kind of engaging content can contribute to improving your web page’s click-through-rate.
How to Add a Meta Description?
A meta description will have the following things –
< meta name=” description” content=” Here is a description of my web page.”>
You will have complete control of how your meta description looks if you are using a CMS platform like WordPress. On the other hand, if you are using an SEO plugin such as Yoast, then you can always preview how the meta description looks like after adding the meta description to the search engine results page.
Sometimes Writing a Meta Description is Not Important
You can follow the rule of thumb instead to decide whether you should write a meta description or not –
- If your meta description has to target more than one searched terms or phrases, then writing your meta description is preferable here to target searchers who are looking for such phrases.
- If your page is targeting long-tail keywords, then it would be wise to let the search engines populate the meta description themselves. The reason for this is simple – you see when the search engines pull a meta description together, then they try to display the surrounding phrases and the keywords that the user has searched for.
Now if the webmaster writes something into the page’s code, then that can detract the relevance of the query that the search engines make.
- When you share content on social media sites like Facebook, these sites tend to pull the first content that they get and use it to share on their site. If the first text of your page is good, then this might create a good user experience for those whom you are trying to target on the social media sites.
Meta descriptions might not be that important when it comes to SEO optimization. However, a bad SEO optimized meta description can affect the click-through rate of your web page.
Need to change the meta description of your web page? Only take it from here. If you have too many web pages to optimize, then it’s best to prioritize on the ones that are more important than the rest.
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