A stellar meta description provides a brief overview of your content in search engine results, boosts website visibility, and attracts more clicks.
Your first impression is crucial. If you don’t get it right, prospects may not make it to your website—which is why it’s not enough to write and publish quality content. You must optimize it for search engines while giving people a reason to click on your links. One of the most underrated aspects of SEO is having a compelling meta description. You’ll boost your site’s visibility and attract more clicks with attention-grabbing meta descriptions.
What Is a Meta Description and Why Is It Important?
A meta description is an HTML attribute that provides a summary of a page. You’ll see it below the blue link in a search engine result. This snippet of text is a brief overview of what your content is about. It’s one of the first things people see when they type in a search query, so be sure to use vivid language to capture their attention!
Meta descriptions can:
- Create interest by explaining why people should click on your result over other similar results in the search results pages (SERPs).
- Provide people with relevant information at the right time.
- Increase click-through rates and organic search visits.
In these ways, meta descriptions are an essential SEO element that helps boost rankings.
Did you know that only 74.98% of top-ranking pages have meta descriptions? This is a huge missed opportunity for 25.02% to rank higher in search results!
How To Write a Compelling Meta Description
Now that you understand the importance of meta descriptions, let’s write an effective one! The key is to make it interesting without wasting words or characters. Balancing the two can be challenging. Here are some helpful pointers for writing the perfect meta description:
- Use compelling language. Make it clear why a prospect should click through and read your post. Add value to the reader’s life by being informative—not just selling them on whatever you’re writing about.
- Include a couple of keywords. Avoid keyword stuffing—but adding a couple can help with search engine optimization. The keyword(s) should fit naturally and give people an understanding of what they’ll find if they click through.
- Aim for a total length of 155-160 characters. If your meta description is too long, it may get cut off.
- Skip the non-alphanumeric characters. Search engines have trouble reading symbols like plus signs and em-dashes.
Excellent Meta Descriptions Match Related Search Queries
While meta descriptions are not an official ranking factor, good ones can help your site, pages, and articles stand out from your competitors.
So what does a good meta description look like? Let’s say I want to know about the must-see places of Palm Springs, California.
I’ll type in “iconic spots in Palm Springs” on Google. One of the top search results is from PalmSprings.com.
This is a winning meta description because:
- It describes what I’ll see when clicking their link in 154 characters. Google is not truncating any of it.
- It includes keywords like “Palm Springs” and “Palm Springs attractions”—commonly searched terms for tourists that would likely search this query.
- It is informative, relevant, and provides value by previewing an answer to a question.
- It is easy to read and understand and does not have non-alphanumeric characters.
As someone looking for things to see and do in Palm Springs, I like what I see so far. Naturally, the text snippet piqued my curiosity, and guess what happened next? You can bet I clicked on it!
Give People Fast Solutions to Their Problems
Search engines are like digital libraries—they’re repositories of information to which we turn for fast, straightforward solutions to everyday problems. Meta descriptions help us narrow our search and determine which search result(s) to click on. We tend to click on links if we see that the search result(s) can solve a problem at hand.
Want to boost your ranking and attract more clicks from Google search results? It’s time to start writing better meta descriptions.
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This article was originally published on LinkedIn.