Is there any point in adding a meta description to your web pages and blogs? After all, Google ignores and rewrites meta descriptions over 70% of the time for pages on the first page of the search results.
The simple answer is yes.
The meta description tag draws the reader in from the search results page. It’s there to tell them yours is the web page they need to look at. Therefore, it serves a vital role in advertising copy because written well, it can improve your click-through rate.
Why you should write your own meta descriptions
The meta description is the 160-character snippet that summarises a web page’s content. It’s the bit you see under the URL.
Although they’re not crucial for search engine rankings, they are vital for attracting click-throughs. In other words, rather than being a ranking factor, they are a conversion factor.
Think about your own search habits. When faced with a list of websites, you automatically read the tags to see which result is the most relevant. So, if you want your web page to get the click, make sure you write a stonkingly compelling tag.
How to write a good meta description
The following tips will help you create great descriptions:
- Write for your readers, not the search engines. Although it’s essential to include keywords, don’t stuff them.
- You’re limited to 160 characters, so think carefully about what you want to say.
- If you use WordPress, use one of their SEO plugins to help you.
Think of the META Description as your 160-character sales pitch. Use it to tell your reader what the page is about and how it will help them.
A well-written tag will dramatically increase your chances of getting that all-important click. So next time you write a blog post or create a new web page, think carefully about how it will help your reader and tell them in the tag. Also, make sure everyone is unique – yes, that means writing a different one for every web page and every blog post.
Include your keywords as they will appear bold, helping draw the eye to your listing. Make sure what you write makes sense. Don’t just fill it with keywords and hope the reader can make out what you’re trying to say.
Don’t forget, the meta description is essentially sales copy. Try and add a call to action, such as ”click here”, ”learn more”, ”find out more” etc. And use the active voice and make it motivating.
The other thing to remember is that what appears in your meta description must match the content of your page. Google is a very canny search engine. If it discovers you’re using your meta descriptions to trick visitors into clicking, you could be slapped with a penalty. You’ve been warned!
How can you stop Google rewriting your meta descriptions?
The simple answer is to follow the advice I’ve given you, and remember:
- Write unique meta descriptions for every page
- Keep them short enough to fit the search results snippet
- Make sure they match what users are looking for when they go to your page
Remember, the META Description won’t affect your ranking, but it will help drive search traffic your way.
Sally Ormond is a freelance copywriter who knows her onions when it comes to SEO and meta descriptions. Call her on +44(0)1449 779605 now.