We all know that when it comes to SEO it’s the small details that can make the biggest difference. From keyword research to the structure of URLs, no stone should be left unturned. Yet writing effective meta descriptions often goes overlooked when optimising a website. But what exactly are meta descriptions and why should you care about them?

In this blog post, we’re going to look at what meta descriptions are and why they matter, before giving you the lowdown on how to write meta descriptions that will get more clicks and conversions. Let’s dive in!

Quick Summary of Key Points

A Meta Description is an HTML element that provides an accurate, concise and descriptive summary of a webpage’s content. It acts as a marketing tool that helps potential visitors to quickly identify whether your page contains the information they are looking for.

What is a Meta Description?

A meta description is an HTML tag that provides a short and concise summary of a webpage. It is designed to appear in search engine results, giving potential customers a brief overview of the page they could visit if they click on the link. The meta description will usually be no longer than 155 characters and should contain keywords related to the page’s content.

Some webmasters and content marketers argue that meta descriptions are necessary for providing context to search engine users before they decide whether or not to click on a link. They often compare meta descriptions to book jacket summaries, believing that users can often make an informed decision about whether or not the page contains the information they require before clicking through.

On the other hand, some SEO experts suggest that meta descriptions are more beneficial for improving the look of search engine pages rather than improving the click-through rate on links. Although it’s possible to include keywords in meta descriptions, they don’t affect a page’s ranking in search engine results, meaning that website owners should focus on creating engaging copy rather than developing long lists of relevant keywords.

Overall, meta descriptions remain an effective way of providing search engine users with valuable context regarding a specific webpage. However, understanding why you’re including a meta description – to inform potential customers or improve the look of SERPs – is important when writing them in order to create the most impactful result.

In this next section we’ll explore why having an effective meta description is so important and what steps can be taken to ensure your meta descriptions draw visitors in and improve conversions.

Main Summary Points

Meta descriptions are HTML tags that provide a brief summary of a webpage and appear in search engine results. Their use is disputed, with some arguing they help inform potential customers and others suggesting they are more useful to improve the look of search engine results. However, meta descriptions provide the potential user with valuable context and should contain keywords related to the page content. Additionally, website owners should focus on writing engaging copy over long lists of keywords when crafting meta descriptions in order to maximise their impact.

What is the Purpose of a Meta Description?

A meta description is a small snippet of text that appears underneath a webpage’s title in the search engine results. It is an essential part of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) as it helps define how relevant a given search result is to the user’s query, and can help drive more click-through traffic to your website. Despite the fact that Google says that meta descriptions are not used in its ranking algorithm, they contribute greatly to the entire online experience by capturing people’s attention and prompting them to click and learn more about what you have to offer.

However, some argue that meta descriptions are overrated, noting that because only 160 characters are displayed in search engines and any text beyond this will be truncated, there isn’t much room to make an impact within such short copy. In addition, some research suggests that if search engine bots cannot identify particular phrases or keywords from within your meta description, they may scrape other parts of your page’s content for indexing purposes instead.

At the end of the day, creating well-crafted meta descriptions for each page on your site can provide search engine users with a better understanding of what your website has to offer and assist them in making an informed decision as to whether they should click through or not. By optimising your meta data as part of your overall SEO strategy, you can help ensure higher visibility within SERPs (search engine results pages), driving more qualified clicks and ultimately conversions on key pages across your website.

In the upcoming section we will discuss how best to optimise meta descriptions to get more clicks and conversions.

SEO Optimisation

SEO Optimisation: the key to higher ranking and more clicks

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is one of the most important steps in writing compelling and effective meta descriptions. In order for search engines to find and rank your page, you need to make sure that your meta descriptions are optimised for targeted keywords and phrases. To get higher ranking and increased organic visits to your web page, consider adopting a few SEO best practises when crafting your meta description.

When optimising your meta description for SEO, several factors should be taken into consideration. Firstly, aim to incorporate relevant keywords and phrases within the first 160 characters. Search engines need to crawl through these words in order to determine what is on the website and how it should be indexed. This makes words and phrases located at the beginning of your meta description especially important, as they are more likely to be read by search engines. Secondly, ensure that the meta description accurately reflects the content of your web page, while also including a call-to-action that encourages users to click through. Finally, use long-tail keywords or phrases when possible – as these are more specific, they can increase the relevance of your page for certain searches.

The debate about SEO optimisation is ongoing – some argue that keywords should not necessarily come at the beginning of your meta description in order to sound natural and still rank high on SERPs. Others believe that keyword placement should remain consistent with SEO best practises in order to achieve better search engine performance. Either way, understanding various SEO techniques – from keyword placement to using long-tail terms – can help you create compelling meta descriptions that will improve your ranking on SERPs and increase organic visibility for your page.

After you have crafted an SEO-optimised meta description for your web page, it’s time to take another step towards increasing organic visibility by focusing on improving user engagement. The next section will offer tips on how to write an enticing meta description that drives more clicks and conversions.

  • Studies have found that users are more likely to click on links that lead to webpages with clear and engaging meta descriptions.
  • It is estimated that up to 80% of webpages include meta descriptions.
  • According to a 2016 report by Advanced Web Ranking, a meta description with between 150-160 characters will generally achieve organic visibility on the search engine results page (SERP).

Increasing Organic Visibility

Increasing organic visibility is an important part of the SEO process and requires attention to the meta description. Search engine optimisation (SEO) helps websites rank higher and gain greater visibility on relevant searches, bringing more users directly to your site and increasing conversions. Meta descriptions are a key factor in increasing organic visibility, so creating strong and accurate meta descriptions is essential for optimising your website’s search engine ranking.

When drafting a meta description for organic visibility, aim for a keyword density of around 2-3%, using relevant keywords that accurately reflect the page content. Keywords should be placed at the beginning of the sentence if possible, as this signals to search engines that those words are most important on the page. Additionally, focus on tailoring each meta description to what users will be looking for and providing useful information that will convince them to click through to your website. To ensure that your meta description is visible, it should be between 150-160 characters long, as longer descriptions may get cut off in SERP results.

It is important to keep in mind that any changes made to improve organic visibility should be done with user experience in mind. While effective use of keywords can increase relevant rankings, content should still remain clear and concise with a simple structure so users can quickly access important information without feeling overwhelmed or confused. With this balance of structure and relevance, you can boost your organic visibility without sacrificing quality or clarity.

Leading into the next section about How to Write a Good Meta Description:

Once you understand how organic visibility works with meta descriptions, you can begin writing good descriptions that help attract customers and improve conversions.

How to Write a Good Meta Description

A meta description is an HTML attribute that provides a brief summary of a web page’s content. It is displayed in search engine results pages (SERPs) and helps users decide if your content is relevant to their query. A good meta description should be concise, compelling, and provide enough information for the user to determine whether or not it is worth clicking through to the page.

The key to writing a good meta description lies in understanding the user’s needs. After all, your primary goal is to get the user to click through to your page. To achieve this, your description must accurately reflect the page’s content while also piquing the reader’s interest. Some argue that keeping descriptions short and punchy can help engage readers more quickly and encourage clicks. However, others claim that longer descriptions give you more space to add pertinent details and set expectations for the reader.

Ultimately, determining how much detail to include should depend on both what makes sense for the page as well as what offers the most value to the user. Additionally, including appropriate keywords can help increase visibility and draw attention from search engine algorithms — though stuffing too many keywords into a meta description may lead to lower click-through rates due to its unappealing appearance in SERPs.

Now that we’ve explored how to write a good meta description, let’s move on and discuss character length — another important factor when crafting successful descriptions.

Character Length

Character length is a key factor to consider when writing meta descriptions that get more clicks and conversions. Aim to keep the length of your meta description between 50-160 characters, but it may be useful to experiment with what works best for your website. Writing longer meta descriptions can give you the opportunity to communicate more information about your page content, which could help with click-through rates. However, it’s also important to note that Google will only display up to 155-160 characters, cutting off any characters after that point. This means if your meta description is too long, users won’t see all of the important information you’ve included.

That said, shorter isn’t always better when it comes to character length. The goal should be to promote enough of a call-to-action, provide value in the way of what is specifically being offered on the page in question, and leave potential viewers wanting more. Think carefully about how much detail you need and then aim for slightly above 60 characters so as not to go over the allotted character limit.

Now let’s move onto how you can use SEO to optimise your meta description for maximum performance — our next section will dive into this topic further.

How to Optimise Your Meta Description for SEO

Meta descriptions are an important part of your website’s optimisation for search engines. By properly optimising your meta description, you can help potential customers to find your website more easily and increase the chances of them clicking on it. This can lead to higher conversions and more visibility in the SERPs.

When optimising your meta description, here are some things to keep in mind:

1. Make sure the copy is informative and appealing. You want to entice potential customers with a well-crafted meta description that communicates the purpose and value of your product or service. Use action-oriented language, highlight benefits, and be as convincing as possible without being too salesy.

2. Keep the length within 155 characters. Many search engines such as Google limit the length of a meta description to around 155 characters so make sure not to go over this limit or the entire description may not show up properly on SERPs.

3. Include primary keywords in the copy but avoid keyword stuffing at all costs. Including primary keywords in the meta description helps users to quickly identify what is on the page and also provides valuable cue for search engine spiders to understand relevance of the page for a certain topic or query. But make sure not to get carried away by using too many keywords as this might prevent indexation by search engine bots.

4. Add Call-to-Action if applicable: If you have sufficient space left (in case of mobile devices), consider adding a call-to-action such as “check prices”, “Shop now” or “Learn more” at the end of your meta descriptions which have proven to be effective in increasing click through rates.

By using these tips for optimising your meta description, you can improve its effectiveness as an SEO tool and make sure that it accurately represents what is on the page and encourages user engagement.

Now that we’ve discussed how to optimise your meta description for SEO, let’s take a look at some best practises for writing effective meta descriptions that can boost clicks and conversions.

Best Practises for Writing Meta Descriptions

Writing a compelling meta description is essential for driving website traffic and conversions. Meta descriptions inform users of your website’s relevance to their search term, providing a short summary of the webpage in just a few sentences. It’s important to craft these succinctly and accurately—after all, they may be your first and only chance to snag visitors!

When writing a meta description, the focus should remain on providing potential visitors with a clear image of what the page is about. Keep your descriptions under 160 characters and avoid keyword stuffing or including any unrelated information (too many irrelevant words will likely lower your organic search ranking). Being concise yet descriptive is key here; having too much text may lead to truncation, resulting in prospective visitors not understanding the gist at all.

Another best practise for writing meta descriptions is to use action words that evoke curiosity in the reader. Using terms such as “discover”, “learn” and “explore” can make it easier for users to click on your link, as they provide an incentive to learn more and take action. Try to frame your descriptions so that they are neither too overly promotional nor too general—strike a balance between highlighting the right keywords while still creating interest among readers.

Additionally, don’t forget to include relevant call-to-action phrases within your meta description. Such phrases encourage users to click through instead of moving on to other websites with similar content. Each phrase should also be tailored towards setting expectations as well as highlighting any specific benefits that readers can expect from visiting your website.

Finally, always keep testing! Don’t assume you have created the ultimate meta description – keep track of analytics from different versions (A/B testing) using an optimisation tool such as Google Search Console, and use this data to make minor tweaks until you reach one that boosts your clicks and conversions rate.

By following these best practises for writing meta descriptions, you can ensure that visitors are enticed to click through and explore what your website has to offer. With the right combination of keywords, calls-to-action, and piquing curiosity, crafting effective meta descriptions shouldn’t be too difficult.

Now let’s move on to addressing some common FAQs about meta descriptions…

FAQ About Meta Descriptions

What is a meta description?

A meta description is an HTML attribute that provides a brief summary of a webpage’s content. It appears below the page title in search engine result pages (SERPs) and is used to give users an idea of what the page is about before they click through.

How long should my meta description be?

Meta descriptions should generally be between 140-160 characters and no more than 320 characters. Shorter descriptions are more likely to be read in full, and longer descriptions may get truncated, so it’s important to use language that conveys your main message quickly.

Do meta descriptions affect SEO?

No, meta descriptions do not directly affect SEO, but they can influence click-through rates (CTR), which in turn can influence rankings. In other words, improving your meta description and increasing CTR can indirectly improve your site’s ranking on SERPs.

Are there any rules or guidelines for writing effective meta descriptions?

Yes! You should strive to create meta descriptions that are relevant, precise, clear, actionable, and accurate. Avoid using too many keywords or phrases while still making sure to include key information, such as brand name, product names/descriptions, and call-to-actions (CTAs). Additionally, you should stay away from generic language; instead, opt for more creative language that will entice users to click. Lastly, remember to make sure each page has unique descriptions; duplicating text across multiple webpages can negatively impact SEO performance.

Do I need to write a unique description for every page on my site?

Yes! Each page should have a unique meta description that accurately reflects the content on that particular page. Duplicating text across multiple pages can cause confusion among users – and hurt your SEO performance – so it’s important to make sure each one is different.

Frequently Asked Questions Explained

How are meta descriptions written and optimised?

Meta descriptions are written to describe the content of a web page and should be optimised for both users and search engines. They should be succinct and informative, highlighting the key points or benefits of that web page. To optimise meta descriptions for users, it’s important to make them interesting, relevant, and engaging. They should also include targeted keywords for maximum visibility with search engines. Lastly, meta descriptions should also remain within the character limit set by search engines, as longer meta descriptions will get cut off in search results.

How do meta descriptions help to increase website traffic?

Meta descriptions are the short snippets of text that appear on a search engine result page (SERP) and provide a brief overview of what the link is about. They embolden users to click through to your website by giving them an idea of the content they will find. By writing clear, informative meta descriptions that include both relevant keywords and compelling copy, you can increase click-through rates (CTR) and draw in potential customers who are looking for what you have to offer. Higher CTRs mean more visits to your website, resulting in increased website traffic.

How can I check to ensure my website has effective meta descriptions?

To check if your website has effective meta descriptions, you should review all of the pages on your site and determine if the meta description accurately conveys what the page is about. Additionally, it’s important to ensure that the meta descriptions are keyword optimised and filled with clear, concise, conversational language that entices readers to click. Make sure that the meta description length doesn’t exceed its character limit—most search engines will truncate any descriptions beyond a certain number of characters. Finally, it’s helpful to view competitors’ meta descriptions to get a better understanding of how they are written and which type of language resonates with users.

Last Updated on April 15, 2024

E-commerce SEO expert, with over 10 years of full-time experience analyzing and fixing online shopping websites. Hands-on experience with Shopify, WordPress, Opencart, Magento, and other CMS.
Need SEO help? Email me for more info, at info@matt-jackson.com