A Beginner’s Guide On Meta Descriptions
Director of Content
When it comes to Search Engine Optimization, writing meta descriptions sounds a little like writing a secret code but they are not as complicated as you think! These descriptions are inbound marketing essentials and you have to realize how important they are.
For starters, meta descriptions are basically descriptions that sum up the content of a web page. When you Google something, a list of results come up. Each description is made up of a couple sentences that appear underneath the title; below the link of a search result.
Do you know why you need to get it right when it comes to meta descriptions? Well, they can help the traffic decide whether or not to click your link. Today, websites need short, concise and well-written descriptions to persuade readers to choose your site instead of the other results on the same search engine result page!
Advantages of Writing Effective Meta Descriptions
- Makes viewers want to read/view your content
Although these descriptions do not affect the ranking of a given web page, a well-written one have been proven to increase click through rates as well as average time spent on a web page. What’s more, they play a part in major search engine’s algorithmic rankings.
- Attract more visitors from social sharing sites
If you have set up business accounts on social sharing sites such as Facebook, you should note that most social sharing sites may just use the first text/sentence they ‘see’ on a site that has no meta description. It is pertinent that you create a good user experience for your visitors when they encounter your content via popular social sharing sites; write a good meta description!
- Provide your audience with the information they need at the perfect time
While your site’s meta description does not influence Google’s ranking algorithms during normal web search, Google does utilize these descriptions to return results when a searcher uses advanced search parameters. Searchers of today are savvier than ever and they are used to viewing preview snippets on search result pages.
- Improve visits through organic search and increase click through rates
Relevant results tend to appear at the top of search engine results. With that in mind, the percentage of clicks will consistently decrease as you go further down the page. So improve the quality of your meta descriptions by ensuring it is eye-catching, relevant and detailed. This is a surefire way to get good click through rates from organic search.
How to Start Writing Meta Descriptions
- Omit non-alphanumeric characters
Quotation marks, plus signs and hyphens are examples of alphanumeric characters that are often marked as HTML code by search engines. That’s why your description may not be used as expected by you. When you write your description tags, simply stick to plain text. Google cuts off the description when it encounters quotes! To be safe, just remove all non-alphanumeric characters from your descriptions.
- Avoid duplicated keywords
Avoid using the same words or phrases repeatedly in a single description. While it is definitely helpful to have a few descriptive terms in the title, keyword stuffing can cause your results to look like spam, to both Google and your users. Learn more about the optimal keyword density for your web pages too.
- Keep it within 155 characters
Google measures by pixels, so technically speaking, it is not measuring your description by characters. If you exceed the recommended pixel limit, your description will turn red and get cut off after a certain width. 155 characters is a benchmark used by many marketers.
- Add in one to two keywords
Your goal is to help search engines understand what your page is about and make it easier for them to index your web pages accordingly for relevant keyword phrases or words. For each web page, your description tags should target one unique keyword. Never resort to keyword stuffing!
- Make sure it’s compelling
Description tags are short sentences that serve as a preview to your main content. Use it to tell your searchers why they should read your post. When your descriptions are compelling, you have higher chances to make a sale. Today, everyone wants to gain access to informative, valuable content. Be the one who provides them!
Traversing the meta description plains need not be arduous. With the help of proper SEO consultation, this is a task you can easily conquer!