The Ultimate Guide to Meta Descriptions

Meta description, meta tags, on-page SEO, Scottsdale SEO agency, Avintiv Media

A meta description is a snippet of up to 155 characters that summarize a page’s content for that exact page. Search engines show the description in the search results when a user is searching for a specific word or phrase. For that reason, optimizing your meta description is crucial for your on-page SEO success.

Search engines determine the page’s topic and the audience that will find value through your meta description. More importantly, the descriptions explain what users will find on the page.

When writing meta descriptions, keep in mind quality is still king (or queen). A very well written meta description can generate higher rankings in the search results, which will create a higher click-through rate for the user.

We recommend keeping your description between 165 and 175 characters long.

Meta Description, on-page SEO, Scottsdale SEO agency, Avintiv Media

Add in your brand’s name, a keyword or two and what users will find on the page. This could be the first interaction visitors will have with your brand. Make it a great experience.

How to create the right meta description

1. Include a call to action

Just like any type of marketing or advertising, action-oriented language is key. A meta description tells the reader exactly what they can do if they click the link. You can try out starting your meta descriptions with words like “Discovery,” “Learn,” or “Shop,” and list what they’ll get if they click.

2. Containing the focus keyword

Google will be way more inclined to use your meta description in the search results if the keyword being searched matches a part of the text in your meta description. 

3. Unique to page content

One thing you don’t want to do is copy someone else’s meta description. Odds are if you’re the one taking it, their website is ranking higher than yours which puts you at a loss, to begin with. You want to focus on the user experience instead of winning at the ranking game. You want to make sure that each of your pages has a unique meta description to give the user a phenomenal experience. After all, this could be the first time they’re interacting with your brand. 

4. Up to 155 characters

We recommend keeping your meta description under 155 characters. First, you should focus on the message that you want to convey. Keep it short and to the point while making sure you have your focus keyword listed in it. After you create your new meta description, show a couple of friends or team members to see if they get the point off the first glance. If not, then it’s time to go back to the drawing board.

5. Make it specific and relevant 

People searching online are pretty seasoned by now. They’ve seen meta titles and descriptions showing up in search results for quite some time now. If you use a generic meta description, you won’t stand out at all. Users are wanting a site that cares about their user’s experience. Using descriptive words to connect with your target audience is key to having a high click-through rate.

6. Provide a solution or benefit

When writing content or creating new pages, you should always aim to provide a solution or benefit. Your meta descriptions are no different. Make sure you tell the searcher what to expect if they decide to click on your link. The last thing you want is an increase in your website’s bounce rate.

You can list the clear benefit of clicking the link and what they could potentially get in return for doing so. Valuable content is a huge benefit in a marketplace of so much noise nowadays.

If you’d like assessing how your meta descriptions are, use our FREE SEO Audit.

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