How to write your meta descriptions

You may know what a meta description is, but how can you make them work for you?

Meta Descriptions are an important ingredient in the search engine optimisation formula. These summary descriptions of a web page’s content that are displayed beneath a website link have long been an integral part of how sites are listed on search engine results pages, so it’s important to get them right.

How to write your meta descriptions

While Google says that meta descriptions do not have an algorithmic impact on SERPs, they do provide valuable information for the user that can impact how likely they are to click on a particular page. That, coupled with Google’s recent change from increasing the limit of meta descriptions from 160 characters to 320 characters, means that it’s a great time to get acquainted (or re-acquainted) with how to write your meta descriptions. Here’s some sound advice for best practices:

Use an active voice

Avoid words like can or could through the meta description copy. These “weasel words” reduce the confidence readers have in what you are saying, and therefore dilute the power of your brand or service. Instead, focus on an active voice that carries your message with confidence and clarity.

Ensure relevant keywords are used

A purposefully misleading or confusing meta description will not only confuse readers but carries search engine ranking penalties down the line. To ensure better search engine optimisation results in the future, keep your meta descriptions focused on the products or information that the page in question really contains. This gives the reader more incentive to click through and, in turn, send a signal to the search engine that your site contains relevant content.

Let readers know more about you

Know it or not, every brand has a unique voice, or a style, that is as unique as a fingerprint and subtly connects the reader to your website. Take the time to identify what your voice is or what you want it to be. Is it bright and bubbly? Serious and academic? Boastful or to the point? Use these questions to guide the style around the edges of the meta description, while still ensuring that it contains accurate, relevant copy.

Make meta descriptions unique and actionable

It’s always a good idea to include unique meta descriptions for as many pages on your site as possible. While an overall meta description for your site is the first step towards good search engine results, savvy businesses take the time to add unique descriptions to pages where warranted. This could mean a unique product description for each item on your store, or a snippet of your latest blog post to give an extra sense of the content that awaits.

It’s also advisable to make the description actionable. Encourage the reader to find out more, or to take advantage of an item that is currently on sale.

Provide a reason to click through for more

Finding your way onto the first page of search engine results is one thing, but what you really want is for the user to click the link to go to your website. To help do that, the meta description needs to offer the user an actionable solution to their problem. Whether your site sells dog toys, offers movie trivia or contains great cookie recipes, you want the meta description to clearly convey to the user that clicking through to the site will get them what they want.

iFactory are Brisbane SEO experts and have been working with businesses of all shapes and sizes since 2004 to improve their search engine results. Contact iFactory today to find out more about what we can do for you.

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