You: Are you saying that Meta Descriptions are important?
Do you mean those little bits of text that you don’t see on your site but somehow show up in the Google SERPs?
You say they’re not a ranking factor, but in the next sentence, you tell me they’re super important for ranking!?
Plus, I use all this time to write them, and Google chooses to ditch them and show something completely random in the SERPs???
Me: Yeah, pretty much. Let’s dig in and figure this out.
The meta description is an HTML tag tucked under the hood of your web pages.
Most people add this text using the Yoast plugin in WordPress. Yoast adds the code to the ‘backend’ of your website.
A meta description code looks like this:
<meta name=”description” content=”Our Chicago car accident attorneys have won more than a billion dollars for accident victims. Call today for a free case evaluation.”>
The meta description text tells the searcher what the page is about, so they can decide whether or not to click on your link.
The 160-character block of text is visible right underneath the blue website page title link in the SERPs.
Here’s an example:
Nope. Many people use the terms snippets and meta descriptions interchangeably since they refer to the information under your link in search results.
They’re not the same thing.
A snippet, or what is officially called a “Featured Snippet,” is the text that the search engine will pull from your page to help people more quickly find what they’re seeking.
Search engines will fill in the meta description space if no meta description code is provided or if they feel your meta description is too vague.
In most cases, maybe as much as two-thirds, the search engine will use text from the first paragraph of your page to create this description.
Sometimes, Google will overlook the meta description you provided and choose content from your page instead.
Maybe you’re sick of hearing me say this, but Google is all about search experience.
The search engine is trying to provide results based on the intent of the search. So, if they (the bots) think their description from your site will provide more insight into the content, they will discard your meta description and use their own.
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Your meta description will not have a direct impact on how Google ranks your site.
Google stopped using meta descriptions as part of its ranking algorithm in 2009.
This does not mean, however, that it does not significantly impact your rankings indirectly.
What you say in that blurb can mean the difference between someone visiting your site or not.
This means you can generate a lot of organic visits to your site just by having a great meta description.
When generating more organic visits to your site, Google pays attention and ranks your site higher.
As you can see, these descriptions hold a lot of power in how you rank in search engine results.
Great meta descriptions can also give the search engine a better understanding of your content, which will also help the search bots rank your site more effectively.
There have been many different studies conducted on the effectiveness of meta-descriptions. Each time the results come back the same.
A well-crafted meta description will convert more viewers into clicks, it will help boost your ranking by generating more traffic, and it improves your site authority because the search engines can more easily determine the value of your content.
These eight tips can help you generate perfectly optimized meta descriptions that will help improve your overall SEO and boost your site rankings.
There’s a maximum character length. Keep your meta descriptions between 150 and 160 characters.
Your description will get cut off if you go over it. It’ll look thin if you don’t add enough text.
Yoast will tell you if you add too much text by adding the orange line at the bottom.
Do your research. Find out what your competitors post as part of their meta descriptions and see how this applies to your content.
What phrases are they using? Are they asking questions? Giving answers? Just giving a sneak peek at the content. If this type of meta description is helping them rank higher in search, this is the type of description you want to create.
Of course, you must be original and ensure it applies to your content. But create the description in a similar way to your competitors.
This can help you get in the groove of what people expect when they search for information within your industry.
Every industry has a marketing funnel. A funnel is a step-by-step process that starts with a search on the Internet and ends with a sale.
How you get your potential customers to the end of the funnel will depend on your particular industry.
Look at the steps you know that your potential customers take:
While this is a very basic step-by-step method, you get the point.
There is much to be said about using standard keywords and keywords that people use to search for information.
For example, you may think that using the keyword Miami personal injury attorney is the best choice for your page. However, your potential clients may be searching for something a little less direct like Miami accident lawyer.
Google has stated that they do not use keywords in meta descriptions to help rank a site. But seriously, if your meta description has the right keywords, more people will click on the link than not.
Google will bold the search terms in the meta description, which helps draw the searcher’s eye toward your listing.
It is also important to remember that your keywords should be very close to the “voice of your brand.” Your brand’s personality will have a lot to do with the keywords your potential clients use to find information.
You are already using different social media sites to help market your business. Why not take advantage of the information you get from these sites and incorporate some of the trendy things in your meta description regarding your industry?
Look at the different social media sites and see what is currently trending in your industry. If you find something relevant, put that info in your meta description.
For example, if you are a lawyer and the current trending topic is changes to workers’ compensation benefits, you may want to create a meta description that states: “Miami attorney discusses the new changes to Florida workers’ compensation benefits.”
You can take advantage of the trend if your content has this information.
As it has been said many times, Google is all about meeting the searcher’s intent.
If you can create a meta description that meets the intent of the potential client, you will have created a compelling meta description.
Make sure that you address some of the lesser-known areas of intent as well. Using the example above, not everyone is interested in the changes to the workers’ compensation benefits. However, they may be more interested in specific compensation.
“Miami attorney discusses how new workers comp laws affect lost wage payments.”
A person who has been injured on the job will want to know how this insurance will cover their lost wages while recovering from their injury.
Try creating new meta descriptions for the page if you’re ranked in to the top 3 and not getting traffic.
Provide more insightful information and see how this helps you generate new traffic to that content.
You should always refresh your meta descriptions every few months so that the content remains relevant to the latest trends and topics.
The only thing to remember when you refresh any meta description is that you must ensure that the new description is still relevant to the content on the page.
Not every meta description needs a CTA, but it doesn’t hurt to add one. Even an informational blog post meta description could end with “…click here to learn these 10 tips.”
Examples Of Great Meta Descriptions
So what does a great meta description look like?
You probably cringed. Most kids don’t want to sit for an hour to practice the piano.
But the truth is, your teachers were right. If you want to do something great, you have to practice.
This also applies to meta-description writing.
Every industry will be different in what types of descriptions work. Every bit of content will need a little tweak to get the right description.
After you have been doing this for a while and see what works, it will become a natural part of your SEO.
However, until then, you need to keep practicing.
Research, review, and redo if necessary. You have created amazing content for your site, so a fantastic meta description is sure to follow.
It took time to discover what types of content worked the best for your site. The same applies here.
Is it worth it? Definitely.
The benefits of having amazing meta descriptions far outweigh any time you spend creating the perfect description.
In the end, having a great meta description will help optimize your site. And a well-optimized site gets results.