Meta descriptions are short, sweet, and great for SEO. These little page descriptions are often overlooked by people not familiar with SEO and as a result, may be missing out on vital discoverability. We’re going to look at what meta descriptions are and why they are so important to your site’s SEO and user experience.
What is a meta description?
Meta descriptions are the short descriptions of web pages you’ll find on your search results. These HTML attributes provide a short description of the page to give users more info about the link they are about to open and also function as an important SEO attribute for web crawlers.
What should a meta description say?
A meta description is a short line of text that seems easy to write but can be a bit tricky when you’re trying to fit in a lot of information in a limited number of characters. Google generally truncates meta descriptions around 160 characters with the minimum suggested being 50 characters. These parameters often mean you may need to try writing a meta a few times to make sure it is legible, contains your keyword or phrase, and fits into these strict character limits.
How should I write a meta description?
Think of your meta as a place to advertise your page with short, punchy text that answers a search query. Your content should be grammatically correct to convey professionalism and compel users to open your link. Make this short description as compelling as possible. Now, we’re not saying go overboard and create clickbait but you can create copy that answers a query.
For example if someone is googling ‘quick drying cement’ you could open your meta description with a rhetorical question or engaging introduction like ‘Looking for a quick fix?’ or ‘Carry out repairs in no time’.
Once you have the reader hooked you should briefly describe the page and make sure to include the focus keyword for maximum efficacy.
It’s important to remember that not every meta description needs to use all the characters. You should tailor the meta to specific page needs. For example, if you have a product listing then the meta should detail the product with key information such as dimensions, colour, price and other useful information.
Don’t copy your meta!
Duplicate meta descriptions are a no go. Wherever possible you should set aside time to run through and create unique meta descriptions for every page. These don’t need to be worlds apart just enough to focus on the topic of the page while still maintaining your format or tone of voice.
Sites also suffer from automated meta descriptions which can pull the same excerpt across multiple pages. Make sure to discuss how meta-information is sorted with your development team and discuss with your SEO team how best to address any duplicate meta description concerns.
If you’d like to find out more about meta descriptions and how we can help optimise your site for SEO, please contact us today. Our multi-disciplined team of expert digital, design and development experts are on hand to update your meta for better click-through rates and conversion.