A well-written, enticing Google meta description could be the difference between a user clicking on your content as opposed to your competitors.
Meta descriptions are pieces of text that accompany search engine results. These HTML attributes are there to provide summaries of your content when it is displayed on the likes of Google and Bing.
Increase traffic to your website, boost sales and enhance your page ranking by following our meta description guide!
Meta Description Length
The recommended meta descriptions character limit is 156 including spaces. This is because Google tends to truncate meta data at 160 characters. Keep it succinct yet eye-catching and engaging in order to grip the searcher’s attention and encourage them to click on your content.
Meta Description Example
Below is a screenshot from a Google SERP (Search Engine Results Page) from a search for “football boots”. We have highlighted each meta description in yellow. Which do you feel most inclined to click on?
As you can see, some have been cut short due to being too lengthy. This is likely because their web developers have not updated their meta descriptions since Google shortened the search results snippets earlier this year. You’ll also notice that Pro:Direct Soccer and Sports Direct’s search results have additional links based on brands and product categories. These are called ” Sitelink Extensions”. To learn more about these, check out Search Engine Watch’s Guide.
So, what makes Nike’s meta description the best? It includes:
- The keyword the user is searching for. Google highlights the searched term in bold, so it’s important to look for keywords users are searching in your industry to ensure your content stands out. If a user is searching for a particular thing – like football boots – it’s best to be specific to match their needs. Alternatively, if they were searching for something more general like “shoes”, it’s best to provide options.
- A clear call to action – The word “Discover” prompts the searcher to take action, encouraging them to explore Nike’s latest football boots.
- A sale/promotion – Promoting the fact that Nike is offering “free delivery” and “free returns” is an extra incentive for users to click on their content, thus separating them from the competition.
How To Write A Killer Meta Description
Wondering how to echo the above meta description example with your own content? Follow these 7 tips to write a killer meta description!
- Offer relevant, useful and unique content
Put yourself in the shoes (or football boots!) of your potential customers and make sure your meta description is something that would appeal to them. These 156 characters need to provide useful content that sets you apart from the other results on the SERP.
- Highlight your USPs
What’s the best way to demonstrate why your products, services or content is better than the rest? By highlighting what makes your company so unique!
- Sales and promotions
Think about what you tend to click on as a consumer. People love a bargain, and the best way to grab their attention is to raise awareness of your latest sale or offer.
- Find relevant keywords
Use meta description tools such as Moz to discover what people are searching for when seeking products, services or content similar to yours. Include these in your landing pages, as well as in the meta descriptions and tags.
- Call to action
The best way to encourage action is to ask for it. A direct, alluring CTA can be the difference between someone clicking on your ad or scrolling by it.
- Intriguing, descriptive text
Sell your content or products with content that grabs the attention of the user and sparks their curiosity. Use descriptive, attractive adjectives to describe what awaits for searchers on your landing pages.
- Link to relevant landing pages
Make sure your landing pages reflect what you have promised users in your meta description. For instance, if your meta description states: “Explore our huge range of Nike football boots. 10% off first order and free delivery”, yet it links to a landing page full of Adidas boots and your 10% discount is now expired, it is going to affect your ad rank, with users dropping off your site as soon as they land.
Meta Description Tags
Meta Description tags help search engines understand a page’s content. This is where you input your keywords. It’s important not to include any irrelevant terms here, as this can have a negative impact on how and where your page ranks on the SERP.
While not a huge influence on SEO, meta tags are worth putting time into as they help make your website pages more discoverable.
For more information on meta tags, check out WordStream’s guide.
Do meta descriptions affect SEO?
In theory, meta data does not have a direct influence on where your page ranks or Google’s algorithm. However, your Search Engine Ranking is determined by multiple factors, one of which is the Expected Clickthrough Rate. This is determined by your site’s keyword performance in the past, as well as the quality of your landing page, headline and meta description.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Google Ads help get your content on the SERP, but headlines and meta descriptions are what entice the user to click on your content as opposed to that around it.
Where do I write meta descriptions?
Sites such as WordPress and Wix make writing meta descriptions extremely easy. Click the below links for guides on how to upload your meta descriptions:
Looking for more guidance on SEO, content marketing and other digital avenues? Subscribe to our fortnightly digital marketing newsletter here.