Day 15 of the bigmouthmedia SEO Advent Calendar. You can read day 14 here.
Writing the perfect SEO Meta Descriptions
Getting your meta descriptions right is an important part of every SEO campaign. The purpose of meta descriptions is to tell users what your site is all about and to gain click through. Getting this right can make the difference between users coming to your page or scrolling right on past with no idea what you are all about.
Meta descriptions are the snippets of text that display with your listing on the search engine results page. Every listing only gets a small amount of space to entice each user to click on them to bring them to their website so what they see needs to be as enticing as possible.
Meta descriptions are not visible on page so you can check the meta description of your pages by looking in the source code. This will be located within the meta description tag:
<meta name”description” content=”Come to our site to check out our new range of fantastic products including special offers if purchased today!”>
Meta descriptions do not directly impact on the ranking within the search engine so it will not benefit your position to include your target keywords within the meta tag. However, since keyword is the description will be bolded in the SERP, this will further entice users to click on your listing which will mean more click throughs (click through rate arguably having more of an influence), more traffic and potentially more links.
As you only get around a maximum of 155 characters (including spaces) in which to get your message across you need to make them count. If you use meta descriptions which are longer than this length, the description will be snipped and the whole thing won’t be displayed in the SERP, which, let’s face it, doesn’t look as nice as a perfectly written description.
Now that you know how long to make your description, you better make every letter count and write the most inviting description possible so users won’t be able to help themselves and they will have to click on your listing. One way to do this is to directly tell them to click on your listing by including a call to action. This could be anything from, ‘shop with us today’, or ‘check out our latest products’, or even ‘buy our stuff’. As such it is best practice to include a call to action within your meta descriptions.
It is also good to utilities the meta descriptions tag to tell customers about latest offers, promotions and include other marketing messages. It is important these marketing messages follow the company’s brand message to continue to project a consistent image of the brand.
It is also possible to utilise your Paid search data to optimised your meta descriptions. If you have a long running PPC campaign, you can see which ad-copy is enticing the most users to click through to your site. Since you know these descriptions are tried and tested to provide click throughs, they can be utilised as your meta descriptions to improve organic click through rates.
Finally, make sure every page has a different description as you should do with your title tags. All pages should have different content on them so make sure they have a different tag to describe them.
The key thing to remember when writing your description is to make them so compelling, users won’t be able to help themselves but click on your listing to find out more about your site. You only get 155 characters to tell users what your site is all about and how it can help them so try and make is as good as possible.