Meta data descriptions are an often overlooked but extremely useful method for getting more clicks to a web site, but still many web owners don’t put them to good use. Usually it is just a lack of information that keeps a web owner from using meta descriptions to their advantage, so let’s fix that today.
Look at the picture below and notice the area in the red rectangular box containing text. This is the meta data description for this webpage. Most site owners don’t think this can be changed and settle for the default text from their CMS, but this data can and should be changed, to help web owners better define products or services to attract new visitors. If you use the internet at all, you see these descriptions every day, but you probably don’t realize how they influence where you click. Todays’ searchers are savvy. They want quick solutions to their needs or queries and if you don’t let a user know what you have, you will likely lose them. Meta descriptions offer the perfect opportunity to “advertise” your page. You need to think of a meta description as a 160 character bill board. What business out there would not take advantage of ad-free advertising space? As a web owner, you should not overlook this chance to talk to your potential visitors.
Technical Aspects of Meta Data Descriptions
There are important technical aspects to writing meta descriptions properly.
- When writing meta descriptions remember to stay between 150-160 characters. Most search engines will truncate any descriptions longer than 160 characters.
- Meta descriptions should always include keywords. Pick one or two keywords that are the focus of your page and include them in the first part of the description. When the keyword or words match what the user put in the search bar, they will show up in bold in your description. This immediately draws the searchers attention to your search listing.
- Make sure your description is informative and try to do this quickly. Write meta descriptions in a way that lets a searcher know you have exactly what they are looking for.
- End your meta description with a strong call to action. Invite the user to click through, read more, call today, etc.
Tips for Writing Successful Meta Page Descriptions
Writing meta data descriptions can be tricky at first, but just like Twitter, it’s amazing how precise and clever people can be when limited by text. Think of it as writing a great book teaser. Short, sweet, and to the point, but make the reader want to read more. It should be informative, but also compelling enough to get a searcher to click. What sets you apart from your competition? Is it selection, price, service? What will make the searcher choose you over the others? What makes you the better choice? If you know your product or service, and you know your competition well, then it should be easy to identify what to showcase. And no matter what, don’t forget the keyword(s).
Once you’ve identified what to showcase, then it is time to sharpen your pencil and write a compelling call to action. A call to action is simply an invitation to the searcher to opt in (click your page). It is always a good idea to search your keywords and see what your competition is saying to attract users to click. Setting yourself apart often leads to success. Some great examples of calls to action are listed below:
- Free trial, quote, or download (people still love FREE)
- Call today
- Learn more
- Get details
- Grab Yours Now
- Will You Be There?
- Hope To See You Soon!
- What Are Your Thoughts On This?
- Read This Post
- This Article Will Teach You How To ______
If you are still struggling, you can find some great information about improving call to action language at buffersocial.
Meta data descriptions are the easiest way to tell searchers you have what they are looking for. Meta data is very similar to the labeling that goes into any product. When you are in the grocery store what motivates you? Price, packaging, or do you check the ingredients? The same things that compel shoppers to buy a product, also encourage users to click on your webpage. Give users your facts. Share your ingredients. Showcase your product properly and users will want to shop your whole website. We are working towards getting more clicks because we want more visitors, but you also have to realize that if your click through rate improves, then Google will reward you with higher rankings. So when your page is properly optimized with compelling meta descriptions, your webpage will perform better in the search engines. Proper page optimization leads to more clicks, and more clicks leads to higher rankings.
The final advice we can give you about meta descriptions is to remember they are not written in stone. When you write new descriptions, you should monitor your site visits to see if your click through rates improve. Collect data for a reasonable period of time (usually 30-60 days) and if you don’t see improvement, then go back and modify your description. Maybe try a new call to action. Check your competition again to see if they have made any changes. See if they are offering something you are not. The truth is that most successful businesses evolve from year to year. Products change, services change, sometimes a whole business model can change. Just be mindful that your meta data descriptions should grow and change with your business. Keeping your message fresh and up to date will ensure you continue to attract the right searchers to your site.
Having a great, informative, keyword rich description, with a strong call to action, will always drive users to your page. Now just whittle it down to 160 characters or less and you’re golden.
As a final exercise in writing meta data descriptions, see what we wrote for this webpage:
Meta Page Description: We make writing meta data descriptions easy. Discover technical aspects and get insider tips to writing successful meta descriptions that get more clicks. (154 characters)