If you’re a part of the industry, you probably already know that meta descriptions no longer have the direct impact on search engine results page rankings they once had. However, while this is 100% true, the most popular search engines, including Google, Bing, and Yahoo, still advise website owners to create them for their web pages.
To put it differently, knowing how to write a meta description for SEO can still do wonders for your website’s search optimization by effectively encouraging users to visit your page from search result pages. The main goal of meta descriptions is to offer an accurate description or summary of the given webpage. Or as Google’s guidelines state: “a page’s meta description tag gives Google and all other search engines a brief summary of what the page is about.”
While they no longer directly affect search rankings, meta descriptions play a major role in aiding prospective website visitors to comprehend what the page is all about, which can undoubtedly positively impact search referrals.
So, if you’re still unsure how to write a compelling description for SEO purposes that makes a difference, you’ve come to the right place. In our latest blog post, you’ll learn firsthand what are meta descriptions and how to write meta descriptions that help Google, Yahoo, and all other search engines understand your page’s content and encourage searchers to click through and visit your website.
Why Is Meta Description Important For SEO?
In the world of search engine optimization, everything is about relevance. So, to rank on the first page of Google or any other search engine you can think of, you need to produce premium-quality content designed to cover a topic accurately and thoroughly or answer a particular question. Other than that, there’s a plethora of other SEO best practices, tricks, and tips that can help your site to rank better.
Some of these SEO practices Google has put into a broader category their algorithm utilizes to help them rank in search, and are commonly referred to as “ranking factors.” In fact, there are over 200 of those, including keyword usage, backlinks, media usage in content, engagement, and many more.
Meta descriptions themselves are not officially a “ranking factor” since they don’t directly affect your pages’ rankings. But having a well-written meta description for search engine optimization purposes can indirectly help your efforts by encouraging real human searchers to click on your page, indicating higher search user engagement and positively affecting your search position.
In other words, the meta description can impact a page’s CTR (click-through rate) in search engine results pages, influencing the page’s ability to rank better. The meta description is the webmaster’s best chance to advertise the page’s content to random human searchers. Simultaneously, it allows the searcher to decide if the content contains the information they’re seeking or if it’s relevant to their search intent queries.
As you can tell by now, knowing how to write a meta description that entices and draws people’s interest can have an indirect benefit on search rankings by impacting user behavior, so yes, it’s important to put some effort into writing them.
How To Write a Meta Description That’s Optimized For SEO
While there’s no guarantee that Google and other search engines will display the meta description you’ve written, there’s always a chance that they will, so it’s always worth the effort to add the meta description to your already SEO-optimized blog post or another page.
Based on our own expertise and experience, we came up with this short list of elements that you need to incorporate in order to write good, optimized meta descriptions for your pages.
Always Keep It Short (And Sweet)
The perfect length of meta descriptions doesn’t really exist, as it should primarily depend on the message you want to convey to readers. In that regard, you should take enough space to get your message across, but at the same time, you should keep it short and snappy. If you take the time to check the top search term results in Google, you’ll predominantly see meta titles of 120 to 160 characters, and this practice comes with a good explanation.
Search engines base meta description lengths on pixels, so always be aware of this specification for your meta descriptions’ appearance on the search engine result pages. The limit on mobile users’ devices is 680 pixels, which is roughly 120 characters, and 920 pixels on desktop, which is approximately 158 characters.
Make Your Meta Description For SEO Actionable By Using Active Voice
If you think of your meta description for SEO as an open invitation to your web page (which it is), you have to think about it from your users’ perspective and their motivation to click through and visit your site. Therefore, you must ensure that your meta descriptions aren’t challenging to read, dull, or too cryptic.
You roughly have a 160-character limit to let people know what they can anticipate finding on your page, so don’t be afraid to use active voice in your descriptions and make them as actionable as possible! In that context, if you’re still considering how to write a meta description that brings organic traffic to your site, you should always go with active, motivating descriptions that directly address their readers. Make them know what they’ll get if they click on the link and avoid using passive voice.
Don’t Forget About Your Target Keyword(s)
The next thing you should keep in mind when learning how to write a meta description for your page is that if the primary search keyword matches a section of the text in your meta description, Google and all other popular search engines will be more inclined to use and highlight it in the SERPs.
As Google sometimes even highlights synonyms, all this will make the link to your web page even more welcoming and inviting. After all, getting your descriptions emphasized and highlighted makes them stand out even more, so make sure to include your target keywords in them.
Make Sure That Your Meta Description Matches The Content Of The Page
Even though this list of things you need to keep in mind in order to write a good meta description for SEO is by no means in any order, this one is very important.
Search engines will find out if you use your descriptions to trick searchers into clicking on your result, something that you want to avoid doing right from the start because it might get your website penalized and cancel the good efforts you are pouring into your off-site and on-site SEO endeavors. In addition, misleading meta descriptions will also increase your bounce rate and lower people’s trust in your company, two things that are definitely not in favor of doing good business.
To avoid all this, you need to ensure that the meta descriptions you’ll write will match the content on your pages and are by no means deceiving to your target audience.
Search Engines Reward Unique Descriptions
Finally, if a given meta description is the same or very similar to the meta descriptions for other pages, it’s safe to say that the user experience in search engines will be hampered. So, as opposed to writing duplicate content, you’d be far better off leaving your meta description blank instead. This way, the search engine will select a snippet from the page that includes the focus keyword used in the query, and use it as your meta description.
Writing a brand-new, unique, amazing meta description for every website page you want to rank for is always the best way to go. You can even consider using emojis, which, even though they won’t directly influence your search engine rankings, can indirectly help with SEO by making your meta description stand out in the crowded result pages.
Examples Of Good Meta Descriptions For SEO Purposes
To give you a better, more graspable idea of how to write a meta description for any website page, we’ve compiled some fantastic meta description examples that you might want to use as a reference:
What stands out from LinkedIn’s meta description right from the start is that it begins by bragging about its immense number of members—a powerful way to establish instant credibility.
Furthermore, LinkedIn’s meta description successfully incorporates the vital keywords that actually represent the core values and elements of their brand, such as “professional,” “identity,” “network,” and “opportunities.”
Starting with the powerful CTA word “enjoy,” the video sharing and social media platform’s meta description then continues to explore and briefly explain all the things users can do while using their platform.
Through their meta description, everyone can tell at a glance what the platform has to offer, which is what all meta descriptions should actually strive for.
As opposed to the previous two meta descriptions, which are lengthier, Pinterest’s meta wastes absolutely no time showcasing the piece of content you can find on the website. Instead, it’s short, descriptive, concise, and possesses all the necessary elements to make a fantastic meta description: well-incorporated relevant keywords and CTA words.
Pinterest’s meta description is a good example that shows that a good meta description doesn’t need to be lengthy and full of words. Conversely, it’s a valuable reminder that with SEO—less is often more.
The Bottom Line
Each meta description is practically a summary of a website page. It serves both as an informative snippet and invitation for the page because it’s intended to inform potential visitors what content they can expect on the page and help them decide whether or not they should click through it.
Creating a unique meta description is frequently challenging, but knowing the “dos and don’ts” when creating a meta description should make the task easier and more manageable for webmasters. Now that you know what are meta descriptions and how to write one, it’s time to create some mind-picking, intriguing, unique meta descriptions for your pages. Good luck!