Meta Descriptions are one of the best ways to increase traffic from SEO rankings without building another link or writing another article. An effective Meta Description makes your ranking stand out from the competition, clearly differentiates your products/services and encourages potential clients to act.
So what are Meta Descriptions and how can effective Meta Descriptions help increase the traffic to your website?
In short, Meta Descriptions are the lines of copy displayed underneath the search results in search engines. Meta Descriptions are the first message your potential clients see about what you do, your products and who you are. Therefore, Meta Descriptions perform a key function for all your search engine optimisation (SEO) efforts.
Here is an example of our Meta Description (it is the wording directly beneath the website address):
While Meta Descriptions do not play much of a role in achieving SEO rankings, effective copy has a strong impact on whether a potential client clicks on your website from your rankings or not. Achieving top keyword rankings in Google is a priority (or should be) for all businesses online. But if your business is ranking and your Meta Description is not effective, then you are reducing the click-through-rate. It is therefore essential that you consider your Meta Description strategy.
A great Meta Description will result in heightened clicks from search results and more traffic leading to your website. The final outcome is an increase in online conversions for your business.
With this knowledge, let’s look at 5 best practice guidelines to help you improve the effectiveness of your Meta Descriptions…
1. Meta Descriptions must describe the main benefit of the particular webpage
This might be common sense but most Meta Descriptions do not follow this rule. What is your web page about? Is it about a specific category of products? Is it about the company profile? Each Meta Description must deliver on its message. For example, we do not recommend trying to sell your product when the web page is about your terms and conditions. This would only frustrate your potential client.
2. Ensure your Meta Descriptions are as concise as possible
Being concise means your Meta Description is clear and makes sense to your potential clients. Unnecessary words only confuse and complicate understanding. Avoid long sentences and make plenty of use of short and punchy content. Remember that there is only a very limited amount of time to get your message across to potential clients when they read your Meta Description.
3. Each Meta Description must be no longer than 165 characters (including spaces)
Google displays 165 characters for Meta Descriptions, which is quite generous when you think about the Twitter character limit of 140. So definitely make use of this space. But do it wisely. If your Meta Description doesn’t fit into the character limit, potential clients will not get the full extent of your message as the vital elements may be cut off. Meta Descriptions that are cut off half way through a sentence or word results in a possible lost click opportunity.
4. Your Meta Descriptions should have at least one call-to-action
This is an extremely important point. Remember that Meta Descriptions are your first communication with a potential client. For that reason, the Meta Description copy must motivate and stimulate them to want to click on your link. Taking into account that your link will always be competing with 9 other SEO results and up to 14 pay-per-click ads, effective call-to-action phrases are the key to attract more attention from potential clients searching on Google. Think about the main benefits your service/product has over your competitors. Do you offer same day delivery? Do you have a free offer? Drill it down to your core offering and what sets you apart. This will undoubtedly result in increased clicks from search engines to your website. If your website is performing, you will also experience an increase in online leads.
5. Meta Descriptions must be unique
Google provides warnings when duplicate website titles and descriptions have been used or if descriptions are too short via Google Webmaster Tools. This is an indication that using duplicate Meta Descriptions is not a favoured practice by Google. Utilising the same Meta Descriptions across more than one web page can also cause duplicate content issues in terms of your SEO. Therefore, when creating your Meta Descriptions it is important to be specific so that potential clients know what each page is about when it appears in the search results.
Meta Descriptions effectively make the most of the SEO rankings you have worked so hard to achieve. They clearly state your business product/service and act as the first communication with your potential client. Great Meta Description copy differentiates your business and attracts more attention from prospects looking at the search results. The use of call-to-action phrases outlines the main benefits of your business and motivates prospects to visit your website. Most importantly, the predictable indirect outcome for a successful Meta Description strategy is an increase in online organic conversions.
I ask you,how effective are your Meta Descriptions?