Writing optimized meta descriptions is essential to boost on-page SEO. But, because SEO meta descriptions aren’t considered a primary search engine ranking factor, they’re not always given the importance they deserve. Rather than thinking about meta description optimization an SEO tactic you can play with or pass on, consider it more as a free opportunity to advertise.
Meta descriptions should be treated like mini digital advertisements. You can craft them to drive attention to your brand and to your individual web pages. By paying careful attention to writing meta descriptions, it’s possible to increase consumer action including click-through rate.
Ready to learn how to write good SEO meta descriptions and boost traffic to your web pages? Follow these 5 proven tips.
Use the Right Focus Keywords
Meta descriptions need to include keywords. Not just any keywords, but focus keywords that you’ve thoughtfully chosen to be relevant to your industry, company and offerings. The right keywords for your meta descriptions need to be based on research that reveals exactly what your target customers are searching for.
When writing SEO meta descriptions, make sure you include keywords that are relevant to your page’s content and that show how you solve a problem for your audience. It’s critical that you make your meta descriptions’ keywords and the content around those keywords relevant to the associated page. If you don’t, Google will instead choose it’s own version of a meta description and it will likely be what it thinks is the first sentence on your page that includes a relevant keyword.
This may work to your benefit and it might not. It only takes a bit of time to focus on what specifically your page is about and to craft a corresponding meta description for that page. Why put Google in complete control when you can take the opportunity to reach your customers in the way that you want? Additionally, make sure your meta description content is aligned with your page’s title tag.
Create Unique SEO Meta Descriptions for Each Page
Google won’t penalize you for publishing duplicate meta descriptions, but if you do, you’re missing out on an opportunity to offer a fine-tuned and targeted summary of each of your web pages. The search engine giant strongly advises website owners to create unique meta descriptions to “pitch” each page in the SERPs.
Use individual meta descriptions as an opportunity to control your website’s narrative. Each description can drive users to take specific action and view your brand in a certain way. The more thought you put into your meta descriptions, the better chance you have of driving targeted traffic to your pages and securing conversions.
If your pages have duplicate meta descriptions, there’s also a chance they’ll be misleading because not all of your site pages include the content of the same subject matter, right? Instead of turning off and confusing consumers, help them learn why they should click on your titles to end up on your specific pages.
Don’t Worry Too Much About Character Count
For a long time, the standard for writing meta descriptions was to include roughly 160 characters. You didn’t want to go over, but staying under the count meant you weren’t taking full advantage of the space given. It was hard to find a balance between properly describing what the page was about and sticking to best practices.
In 2017, Google relieved marketers from that dilemma, somewhat. Meta descriptions were seen in the 320 character range regularly and they appeared to not be truncated or created by Google. This gave SEO professionals and business owners what was commonly thought as more real estate to work with and less reason to stuff keywords into a tight space, which often resulted in content that didn’t really make sense.
Even though it appears you can now include up to 320 characters in your meta descriptions, you don’t have to. If you can get your page’s point across in 240 characters or even 200, taking the shorter road might be best. Consider further that Google doesn’t have to use the meta description you create. It may manually assign meta descriptions to your pages based on its own priorities, which means you might find that your description ends up as just a relevant piece of content pulled from your page.
Don’t obsess is the key point to remember when thinking about meta description character count.
Optimize for Rich Snippets
Keeping structured data optimization in your mind as you write SEO meta descriptions is essential. Your goal should be to optimize for rich snippets so you can stand out from the crowd. Some scheme types to use to optimize your pages include:
- Local Business
- Aggregate Review
- Creative Work
Google offers guidelines to help you start with schema markup. Rich snippets are worth giving time to since they can be the difference in the quality of your meta description.
Write Clear, Engaging and Action-Oriented SEO Meta Descriptions
If you want to attract users and guide them to your website, you need to write easy-to-read, specific and customer-centric copy for your meta descriptions that includes a clear call to action. Many meta descriptions contain unimpressive and boring copy that’s so nondescript users just pass them by.
You can stand out by playing up to your audience’s expectations and:
- Creating readable copy (don’t keyword stuff and keep content natural)
- Write for a specific page (match your meta and page content subject matter)
- Use symbols, numbers and special characters (hashtags and emojis may be appropriate)
- Focus on the consumer (your meta description should answer the question, “What does this page offer?”)
- Include a clear CTA (lead the reader naturally and delicately to your page)
Carefully planned meta descriptions can make a difference in how your website functions for you, even if they don’t do much for search engine page ranking. To learn more about how SEO meta descriptions can work for your business, contact Galileo Tech Media.