Meta descriptions are an important factor in search engine optimisation that are often neglected by digital marketers. They play a vital role in summarising and explaining your webpage’s content and acquiring click-throughs. Keep reading to learn why meta descriptions matter to your brand’s SEO strategy.
What are they?
A meta description is the snippet of text displayed below each link in a search engine’s results page. It’s a HTML component or feature that provides information about a particular website or page for searchers. Essentially, the role of a meta description is to concisely summarise the contents of a webpage while also convincing a searcher to click the link. Meta descriptions exist to generate click-throughs from search engines.
Why are they important?
Contrary to popular belief, there’s no direct link between search engine rankings and meta data content. That is, a search engine’s ranking algorithm does not consider the subject or keywords of meta descriptions when generating search results.
The indirect benefit provided by meta descriptions is their effect on human behaviour, not search engine behaviour. Search engine algorithms are influenced by click-through rates. An effective meta description has the potential to boost your webpage’s click-through rate. Thus, it’s important to make your meta description as compelling as possible to encourage clicks, thereby prioritising your webpage in a search engine’s result page.
A weak meta description could result in missed views, low click-through rates and reduced traffic.
How long should they be?
Google increased the length of displayed meta descriptions in December 2017. The length of the snippet changed from 160 to 320 characters. It’s important to remember that the phrase ‘quality not quantity’ rings true when it comes to writing an effective meta description. Utilising the entire character allocation is only useful if you are writing 320 compelling words. You are at no disadvantage if your meta description communicates a webpage’s content in fewer characters.
How do you write them?
Since the primary role of a meta description is to persuade the searcher to click the link, it’s imperative to write one as captivating and convincing as possible. Treating meta descriptions as you would your brand’s advertisements or website copy is a smart approach. After all, you are trying to sell whatever product, information or service lies beyond the link.
Keeping your meta description specific and relevant to the content of your page is extremely important. The snippet is a miniature precursor to your page, so include only the most crucial and intriguing information.
While the content of the meta description does not directly affect its ranking, using keywords is always a useful approach. Search engines often bold the words that correspond with a searcher’s question, making it easy to see how your page relate with their search.
Be sure not to be illusive in the pursuit of boosting your brand’s SEO. Searchers won’t be impressed if your meta description is inaccurate or misleading. It’s your job to stimulate interest, rather than implement deception.
Since you only have 320 characters or less to work with, keeping your meta description concise is imperative.
Including meta descriptions for your brand’s pages is easy, writing them to boost SEO and click through rates is a lot harder. But like with any skill, practice is the key to improvement.