What is a Meta Description?
A meta description appears on the search engine results page below the title tag and is used to inform the user with a summary of the page’s content. It’s often an opportunity to pitch the page to a potential user, so make your meta descriptions compelling and convincing!
In This Post
Meta Description Best Practices for SEO
When writing meta descriptions there are some generally accepted rules that you must follow, in order to contribute effectively to your SEO Strategy.
- Keeping the description within 70-155 characters
- Ensure that it’s actionable
- Include a call to action
- Include specifications
- Keep in mind the user’s search intent
Why Do We Use Meta Descriptions?
The job of meta description is to persuade the consumer to click on your site over others, this allows for a higher click-through rate.
As well as using creative copywriting in your meta descriptions to entice the consumer, it’s also important to keep in mind that the search engine crawlers are able to clearly understand the contents of your page. If the crawler can clearly understand the contents of the page, it can bolster your ability to rank higher on SERPs.
How to Write a Good Meta Description
The key to creating a good meta description is to write them from a user’s perspective. Ask yourself ‘what information is the user looking for?’ and how you can use that perspective to provide a compelling descriptor within your metadata.
1. Use Compelling Terminology
Using terminology such as ‘simple’, ‘quick’ and ‘easy‘ is important. In the era of instant gratification, the consumer is typically seeking the most efficient answer. Use the Meta Description as an opportunity to convince the user that your page is the best source for them to find a solution to their query, simply, quickly & easily.
2. Avoid Duplicate Meta Descriptions
Each meta description you write must be unique. Avoid duplicating your meta descriptions as this will only harm your performance in search engines in the long run.
3. Avoid Keyword Stuffing
Avoid keyword stuffing. Although meta descriptions seem like an appropriate opportunity to cram in your target keywords, it doesn’t help you rank any higher and eliminates the opportunity to draft a well-written, compelling description which contributes towards a higher CTR (Click Through Rate).
Lastly when creating meta descriptions explain the page to the user through the meta description, but avoid using content that’s written directly within the page as this means the consumer is highly unlikely to go ahead and click on your page. As they already have the answer they were searching for and will reduce the amount of traffic directly to your site.
4. Avoid Truncation With The Ideal Meta Description Length
Keep your meta descriptions between 70 – 160 characters. As a general rule of thumb, try not to exceed this character count or risk Google truncating your meta description within the search results page. You could, however, use this character limit to your advantage and tactically phrase your meta descriptions to end midway through a sentence, sparking a sense of curiosity. For example:
(This isn’t their real meta description… we made it up. We think it’s better)
Meta Description Template
If it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill, then we’re experts at metadata. If you’re looking to improve your meta descriptions but haven’t quite mastered the skill, we’ve created a template you can follow for perfect meta descriptions each and every time for your blog posts/articles or guides. (You’ll probably have to be a little more strategic with meta descriptions for Landing Pages or Product Related Pages) It’s simple:
Template: [problem or question?]. Learn how to [solution to problem] with this/our [adjective] [type of content].
Live Description: Are you looking to improve your performance in search engines? Learn how to write perfect meta descriptions with this detailed & comprehensive guide.
A free template from RedCore Digital showing how you can easily craft fantastic, compelling meta descriptions that drive clicks in SERPs.
More on The Ideal Meta Description Length
As we said above, the advised length for a meta description is between 70-160 characters. Full stops, commas and spaces are included in the character count, giving you significantly less space. Avoid exceeding this character limit as you want the whole meta description to be shown on the SERP, and not have any words cut off.
It’s equally important to make sure your meta description meets the minimum 70-character requirement. You want search engines to utilise your meta description and not automatically generate their own based on the content from the page it is indexing.
Fact: Google creates its own meta descriptions more than 70% of the time.
In conclusion, the key to creating a good meta description is to summarise the contents of your webpage, in order to convince the user to click through to your site over others on the SERPs. Use words such as ‘what’, ‘why’ and ‘how’ and keep their search intent in mind. This is just one very small building block in the foundations of your search marketing performance. For more information on how RedCore can assist with a bespoke, chat with our team of experts today.