How to Build a Nice Meta Description to Get More Click-Throughs
The meta description is one of the important elements of content. Let’s figure out how to correctly create the SEO meta description in order to stand out in the SERP, interest users, and lead them to the content.
What Is a Meta Description?
The meta description is the HTML attribute that describes the essence and content of a webpage. It is visible on the SERP. After reading it, a user can decide to click on the site or not. The meta description example for a site of a car rental service is as follows:
Html meta description is located in the block <head>, and its code looks as follows:
<head> <meta name=”description” content=”The description of your page should encourage users to visit your site.”></head>
If you do not write the meta description, the search system will randomly choose the page description on its own from any paragraph on the page according to the keywords with the requests. This description will most often unfavorably represent the page and site. An example follows:
Phrases end abruptly with ellipses. Because of this, full opinions are not completely stated, and fragments of the text are taken from a random page that may not be relevant to the site content.
The meta description is a very brief description of a page or site and can be named a so-called business card for the SERP. How long should a meta description be?
No special restrictions for the google meta description are foreseen so theoretically, it can have any length. However, only the part that fits the volume Google has defined gets into the snippet. Some experts assume that it is limited by the number of pixels, just like space for the title tag. For example, in December 2017, the search engine expanded the volume for the snippet, stating that text volume could contain 300 symbols. But in May 2018, the snippet size was again shortened, which was announced by the Google representative Danny Sullivan:
In presence, SEO specialists recommend following the optimum meta description length of 155-160 symbols. This volume fits in the snippet and makes it possible to describe the essence of the content in full.
What Does Meta Description Influence?
The meta description tag is not a ranking factor that was announced by Google in 2009. It can be called a page advertisement that has the ability to influence users’ behavior and increase CTR. More information on the topic in the article What Is a CTR.
Many pages such as Wikipedia, have no meta description. In this case, Google creates a snippet on its own. Meanwhile, it’s important to take into account that the search engine can understand Wikipedia content very well. due to Wikidata. In the case of other pages, it is not possible to always be sure that the search engine will favorably display the essence and content of the page.
Using the meta description makes it possible to address the potential visitors of your site. Besides, keywords are bolded in the snippet while displaying on the SERP, and a user looking for information will likely pay attention to them. Meta descriptions also appear in social media under the link to the web page. That is why if you are working on attracting traffic through this means of communication, it is worth remembering the importance of attractive snippets. Read more about this in the article Open Graph Meta Tags.
How to Write Meta Descriptions?
As it was already mentioned, the meta description is the advertisement for your page, site, and products. That is why it can be assigned to one of the marketing campaign elements. Let’s look at the meta description best practices for quality content presentation:
- Use precise and clear phrases.The description should be attractive and understandable. It also needs to stand out beneficially on the background of similar pages. Use precise phrases to describe your service or product:
- Choose the optimum length. The restriction of 160 symbols provides the possibility to write the meta description in 2-3 sentences. Sometimes, it is better to write a concise and comprehensive statement that will attract attention and raise interest. Before publication, do not forget to check the meta description character count.
- Use call-to-action phrases. Reach out to users with a call-to-action while explaining how your page or product could be useful to them. In this example, there is a question with an appeal to the audience and an exclamatory sentence with reasoning for experienced specialists:
- Use keywords. When talking about how to write a meta description for SEO, it is worth mentioning the use of keywords. They do not influence the way the page will be perceived by the search systems. As we already mentioned, Google bolds keywords making them more noticeable for users. If you use relevant keywords, the snippet will correspond to users’ requests. It is crucial that keywords are naturally and logically written in the sentence, without overloading the short text.
- Make sure that the meta description completely corresponds to the content. When meta descriptions have nothing to do with the content and have been written only to trick users, they won’t lead to the desired outcome. First of all, this is a prime way to get the Google penalty after the deceit is revealed. On the other hand, these tactics will lead to an increase in the users’ bounce rate that will also negatively influence the site.
- Avoid using quotation marks. Because the meta description is placed on the HTML code, it is necessary to exclude the use of symbols that can be perceived as code elements. If the meta description contains double quotation marks, this will lead to problems with its functionality. If it is necessary to use quotation marks in the context of description, do not use double quotations, instead use single quotes (‘word’).
- Use specification. For products with technical characteristics, it will be useful to mention the most important information in the meta description. For users who are looking for a specific product, this can become the reason for leading to the page (e.g., Apple Watch):
- Write unique SEO descriptions for every page. It is important that every page and publication on your website or blog has a separate meta description. If your site has a lot of pages, it is worth beginning with a well-thought-out and relevant homepage meta description. It is also worth thinking about a 1-page meta for all the main pages.
How to Add Meta Description in WordPress
For sites that work on the WordPress platform, it will be a good solution to use plugins while creating the meta description. Working with All In One or Yoast, you can easily add the meta description in the structure of the site, blog, or post page. You can read more information about these tools in the article Yoast vs All in One SEO Pack.
Also, plugins can be used as a meta description generator. For example, the Rank Math plugin can automatically create the WordPress meta description based on keywords or using the first paragraph of the content. It is possible to read in detail on how to work with this plugin in the article Rank Math Plugin.
The function of the meta description generator will be especially useful to the sites that have hundreds of pages and publications. In this case, the manual work of meta descriptions introduction will take too much time. On the other hand, for the homepage meta description and main pages of the site, it is worth to create separate descriptions on one’s own. Taking into account all the peculiarities and applying the marketing approach, you will be able to make them as attractive as possible to users.
Audit and Analysis of the Meta Description
If your site exists for some time already, before you begin optimizing meta descriptions, it is necessary to carry out the audit to check the state of pages and publications. For this purpose, it is necessary to use SEO services. For instance, Screaming Frog has many pages that lack the meta description where it is duplicated. Read more about the best SEO tools.
After carrying out the audit of the site that has been provided as an example of a disadvantageous snippet, it is possible to see that 93% of meta descriptions are duplicated:
This leads to the absence of the meta description on the SERP page. The meta description was supposed to duplicate the phrase written on the homepage of the site:
To make things better, it is necessary to leave this meta description only for the home page, and it is necessary to create relevant meta descriptions manually or by means of a plugin for the remaining pages. In this case, this is about 15 pages. This is why the work won’t take too much time and will enable owners to improve the external appearance of the site on the SERP page.
Even without influencing the ranking, the use of the meta description will help to effectively highlight the page and site on the SERP page. After creating a successful text for the meta description, it is possible to develop the quality of your snipped by implementing a micro-markup of the site. You can do this by using the Open Graph protocol for posts on social media. This can influence users’ behavior, favor the positioning of your resource, and, possibly lead to an increase in traffic due to an increased number of clicks after some time.