What is a meta description?
The world of search engine optimisation (SEO) is ever-changing, so it can become exceedingly difficult to exercise best practices for your website or blog. This rings especially true with meta descriptions.
In short, a meta description is a small snippet that convinces people on a search engine result page (SERP) that your result is the best.
A meta description is an HTML element, also known as a meta tag, that appears under your page’s URL. These brief snippets summarise what content your page includes for the user.
Meta descriptions are not ranking factors for SEO, but they can help your post stand out to readers, enticing them to visit your site.
With gigantic percentage increases in click-through-rate (CTR) at stake, how do you write a good meta description in 2023?
You can add your meta description in the section of your page’s HTML, and it should look something like this:
<meta name=”description” content=”This is everything you need to know about my web page.”>
Why is a meta description important?
Although meta descriptions are not a ranking signal for Google, their importance cannot be underestimated. They are a vital part of getting someone who has searched a specific search term on Google to click your link.
A great meta description can dramatically improve the click-through-rate (CTR) of your website by up to 45%. And the more people click on your result, the better your website performs.
Unfortunately, it’s all too common for Google to rewrite a page’s metadata, simply because they think their snippet is better. In fact, Google rewrites nearly 63% of meta descriptions – on mobile, this increases to 71%!
If anything, this sizable percentage demonstrates how important a great meta description can be – especially if you want to stand out from the crowd.
How to write a good meta description
So, how do you write a good meta description? Below are our eight most vital meta description best practices to consider when writing your meta tag:
1) Keep it around 155 characters
Truth be told, the right length doesn’t exactly exist. It can depend greatly on the message you want to convey and how you want to entice readers to your page.
That being said, you should aim to keep it short, sweet and snappy – generally the ideal meta description length is 155 characters. There’s a limit to how much you can see of the meta description in the SERPs, so anything too long will most likely be rewritten by Google.
The first 120 characters are the most important, so make sure you don’t leave the most important content until the end!
2) Use an active voice and think of intent
When writing a meta description, you must consider the intent of the user and why they might be searching the term initially.
Are they searching to find out new information? Or are they looking to buy a product?
Consider these factors and write your meta description with an engaging and active voice that will allow readers to know what to expect when they visit your page.
3) Focus on your primary keyword
After a user searches a query, anything from the search term will be bolded in the meta description, making the post stand out from the rest of the pages on the SERP. These bolded terms will make your page more inviting to a reader.
Additionally, using the target primary keyword, and any synonyms related to it, will make Google more inclined to use your meta description.
While it’s smart to include target keywords in your meta description, be cautious not to overdo it. Overstuffing keywords can often be a tightrope and can make your post seem spammy, resulting in a lower CTR.
4) Include a call to action
We’ve established that meta descriptions are used to entice readers to visit your pages and what better way to do that than with a call to action?
Telling a reader to “find out more” or “learn more here” will encourage them to click, giving you the best chance of increasing your CTR.
This method takes the active voice from a few steps back and optimises it to its fullest potential.
5) Be concise and on-brand
Often, your meta tags are the first impression a user will have of your brand, so make it a good one.
Ensure that you convey your brand’s messages and values, without detracting away from the content on the page. Being clear, concise and on-brand will help the user to understand how visiting the page could benefit them, increasing their likelihood to click your link.
6) Makes sure it matches your content
This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many posts fail to meet this best practice.
In many ways, this follows from the last point, but it’s integral that your meta description matches the actual content on the page it’s attached to.
If you create a misleading meta description, users will swiftly leave your site, rapidly increasing your bounce rate. It will also negatively affect your brand’s image and the trust users have in your company.
7) Be specific, when possible
If you’re selling a product, it would be good practice to include the technical specs of the product in your meta description.
More often than not, the user knows what it is they’re looking for, so including the product name, manufacturer, price or SKU could help entice the user to visit your site and purchase your product.
This is particularly good for those with their own Shopify or WooCommerce stores.
8) Make it unique
Although you won’t be penalised by Google, you should avoid duplicating the same meta description across several pages.
User experience and engagement should always be at the forefront of your mind when creating content, and a meta description is no different.
Crafting your own unique meta description can help your post stand out from others in the SERP, potentially leading to higher ranking and more click-throughs.
Have SEO done the right way with Inc Studio
That’s it! Those are our 8 best practices for how to write a good meta description. But there’s so much more to SEO than a good meta description, such as knowing how to set SEO goals.
Inc Studio is an ROI Design and SEO studio, offering a comprehensive service to a range of global clients.
With years of experience in the field, we can help create successful SEO campaigns that will drive organic traffic to your page and increase conversions. Alternatively, we could rebrand and redesign your website to take your company to the next level.
If you’re looking to elevate your company, contact us today.