A meta-description is what Google shows underneath the title of the page in their search results for your site. Meta-descriptions matter because whether or not they’re well-written determines how people perceive your site and, in turn, whether they click through or not. Keyword usage isn’t as important in meta-descriptions because they don’t ‘technically’ affect your SEO. Google and other search engines do bold the keyword in the meta-description so using them might help click through rate, thus affecting ranking that way.
Without further ado, here are 5 Steps to Create the Perfect Meta-Description:
Here are the 5 steps along with deeper explanations of the key elements.
- Use action-oriented language
- Clearly and concisely say what they’ll get
- Limit to 155 characters
- Use the keyword or a variation
- End with a call-to-action
Use Action-oriented language
Language is a powerful thing that you can use to your advantage to get people excited to enter your website from the search results. Start your meta description with words like “discover,” “become,” “explore, ” to get started on the right foot and make people think of movement. It’s an invitation to move along down the path of discovery to your site. It may seem like a subtle thing, but it has clear benefits when used in conjunction with the other steps.
Clearly and concisely say what they’ll get
Describe in glowing detail the kinds of information a person can get from your page or post. When you think from the perspective of a searcher and share the main things a person would want from that page, you can be persuasive and get them interested in your content versus the content of the other competition in that search.
Limit to 155 Characters
You don’t want that little … (ellipsis) at the end of your meta description if you can help it in search results because we want people to have a clear call to action at the end. Tools like Yoast SEO and others give clear indications of the cutoff point, but if you create your website from custom code or tools that don’t make it obvious when you’re above this number – you’ll need to use a tool that counts characters to stay under this ceiling.
Use the keyword or a variation
Yes, keywords in the meta-description are said to have no effect on ranking in organic search results, but it is nice to see that bolded keyword if you’re a searcher – and it gets a bit more attention. However, don’t use keywords gratuitously or you may see an ‘over optimization’ algorithmic penalty, and nonetheless, that kind of ‘keyword stuffing’ isn’t particularly attractive for people reading it.
End with a call-to-action
Lastly, you’ll want to use a clear call to action at the end of your meta-description. ‘Learn more’ or ‘Get started now” will do just fine, but be creative with it when you can and think about something compelling for the particular scenario when you write the meta-description.
Overall, being conscious of meta-descriptions and the formula for writing effective ones will allow you to test and tweak and get better over time. Don’t just ‘set it and forget it,’ particularly for important pages on your website – tweak and perfect, paying attention to how this affects your click through rate. You can do this with Google Search Console. Mazeltoff, and good luck with writing the perfect meta-description for SEO!