Want to get more clicks to your website from a Google search results page?
You may simply need to optimize your meta description.
Today, we’re diving into all things meta descriptions — what they are, why they matter, and four tips to write better ones (so you can start boosting those clicks on Google!).
What Is a Meta Description?
Go to Google and search for something. See that text right beneath the title of each search result? That’s the meta description.
A meta description should contain explanatory text that provides the searcher with more context about the contents of the page above.
In other words, it should tell seachers why they should click on the link.
Why Do Meta Descriptions Matter?
Since your meta description is one of the few elements of your listing that someone can actually see on Google, it’s a pretty important factor in getting people to click.
People scan the headlines first, then read the meta descriptions for more information. If yours sounds compelling — and is relevant to what they initially searched for — they’ll click through to your website.
So if you’re trying to boost your web traffic and search engine optimization (SEO), writing great meta descriptions is an excellent place to start!
How Do I Write / Add a Meta Description?
If you can write good short-form copy, you can write good meta descriptions.
The specifics of how to add a meta description to your page will vary a bit depending on your website platform (WordPress, Showit, Squarespace, etc.). Look for a small box within the settings for each page of your site.
How Long Should My Meta Description Be?
As with most copy, the more concise you can be, the better!
Shoot for meta descriptions between 50 and 160 characters. Anything longer than that could get cut off by Google.
Are Meta Descriptions a Ranking Factor on Google?
So, how much do meta descriptions actually affect your SEO?
Your meta descriptions are part of the text that search engines crawl when indexing your site. So yes — including relevant information in your meta descriptions can play into your ranking for certain keywords.
However, don’t write meta descriptions for bots. Write them for users!
Remember, the purpose of a meta description is to describe the page to searchers to persuade them to click. If you stuff a meta description with a nonsensical string of keywords… well, who wants to click on that?
4 Tips to Write Better Meta Descriptions
Now that you’ve got the 411 on meta descriptions, let’s dive a little deeper.
Here are four effective strategies to take your meta descriptions to the next level (and, maybe, the next spot up on the Google search page!).
1. Think of Your Meta Description Like an Ad
Sure, we’ve always got ads on the brain over here in Till Agency land.
But thinking of a meta description like a tweet-length “ad” for that page is actually a helpful way to increase your click-through rate (CTR) on Google.
You’ve done the hard work of getting to page one in the search results. Now, tell people why they need to give you the click.
2. No Keyword Stuffing!
Your meta description, like your image alt text, should read like a natural, organic sentence.
Nobody wants to read this:
Virginia Wedding Photographer photographing weddings in Virginia. Central Virginia, Northern Virginia, Southwest Virginia, and Virginia Beach Weddings. Photographer for your Virginia Wedding Photography needs.
Instead, write something like this:
Looking for an exceptional Virginia wedding photographer? You’ve found her! Jane Smith provides affordable wedding photography in central Virginia, northern Virginia, and beyond. Inquire today!
3. A.B.P.V. (Always Be Providing Value)
Your meta description is your shot to tell a potential client how you can help them solve their problems before they even land on your page.
What are the reasons your client should book you instead of the other guy?
Speak to your unique value proposition in your meta description to increase your CTR on Google.
4. Know Your Searcher Intent
You need to know what someone is really looking for when they type your target keyword into the search bar.
If your search phrase is used by folks searching for at-home cake decorating kits, a meta description talking about your spendy, professionally decorated cakes isn’t going to get the click — no matter how pretty (and tasty) your work is.
Always make sure your meta description matches the intent of the person searching your target keyword.
Get More SEO Tips to Rank Higher on Google!
Now, we aren’t saying that optimizing your meta descriptions is the only way to increase your ranking and CTR on Google.
That would be pretty crazy if that’s all you had to do. 🤣
While writing interesting meta descriptions is important, SEO is a complicated game. But it’s one we’ve played before — many, many times.