What’s a meta description? It may sound technical or maybe even confusing, but a meta description is nothing more than a small blurb displayed below links in search engine results.
If you’re still in the dark as to what a meta description is, go to Google right now and search for something. What do you see in the results? Page titles in large font. Beneath those titles, links or URLs. And beneath those links, descriptive blurbs or snippets describing what the page is all about, aka meta descriptions.
To help you become more familiar with meta descriptions, we’ll discuss why they’re important. Then we’ll follow that up with some basic tips for writing good meta descriptions that will help drive visitors to your site.
Why Meta Descriptions Are Important
When you search for something online and see a bunch of results pop up, you don’t want to blindly click on just any link. Why? Well unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that all sites are not created equal. And you also know that some sites are loaded with viruses that will make your life a living hell. Here’s where meta descriptions can save the day.
Think of the meta description as a page’s salesman – something sitting there in the search results telling you, “Don’t click on those other links. Click on me instead.” It’s supposed to not only describe what the link is about and what you’ll find if you click on it, but also give you a nudge in its favor by creating interest and even suspense.
What can happen if you don’t include meta descriptions for your site or links? Since potential visitors won’t see any details as to what they’ll find if they choose your link, you could very well lose views and traffic. Depending on what you use your site for, you could also lose leads and money, especially if you provide a service or sell any physical products.
Besides convincing online searchers to visit your site, meta descriptions also play a vital role when your site or content is shared across other sites and social media. For example, when someone shares an article you have posted on your site, its meta description will appear if they share it on Facebook. If someone sees that shared content on their Facebook feed, the meta description could be the difference between your site getting another visitor or someone bypassing your content completely.
How Meta Descriptions Relate To SEO
Will a solid meta description boost your site’s SEO all by itself? Not really. Still, it can play a role in boosting your search engine rankings.
Let’s say you have an enticing meta description that makes online searchers choose your site over others. That boosts your click-through rates and traffic, which in turn boosts your SEO. As mentioned, solid meta descriptions can also help to drive traffic to your site via social media sharing, improving your SEO as well.
How To Properly Write Meta Descriptions That Drive Traffic To Your Site
Now that you know what meta descriptions are and their importance, let’s look at the basics of creating one. For the purpose of this article, we’ll use Yoast, an SEO plugin for WordPress, to get the job done. With Yoast, all you have to do is click on the “meta description” section to write your snippet. Besides the simplicity of the process, Yoast also provides the advantage of letting you see a preview of what your meta description will look like in search engine results once it goes live.
You’ll need to be concise keeping your meta description at a length of 150-160 characters. This is to ensure your entire meta description is visible in the search engine results. If it’s too long and gets cut off, it will probably be less effective.
Remember that the meta description is like a little salesman trying to persuade searchers to click on your link. Keeping this in mind, you want almost all of your words to be as persuasive as possible, while also being enticing and building intrigue.
Be specific. Include your focus keyword as well. If someone searches for it, they’ll see the keyword bolded in the meta description. This alone could catch their eye and result in a click.
Speaking of clicks, that’s your main goal. For this reason, a call to action is essential. Tell the searcher what you want them to do, without explicitly telling them to “Click here.” Words that can trigger this action include “discover,” “read,” “experience,” or “learn.”
What do most people seek when searching for things online? Solutions to their problems or benefits of some kind. Make sure your meta description lists an actual benefit the searcher will receive by visiting your site, or let them know which problem will be solved.
While your first meta description may be rough around the edges, switching it out for a new and improved one is simple. The more experience you get writing meta descriptions, the better you’ll become at driving people to your site.