You are ready, willing and able to drive traffic to your site. However, you have not been getting the results that you would have liked. One problem could be that your meta descriptions are not compelling visitors to check out your website. Meta descriptions are often an overlooked aspect of webpage design and neglecting them can have a big effect on your traffic.
I have looked into the Google guidelines on meta descriptions and here are 6 tips on how to write an effective meta description for your website.
1. Keep Them Short and Sweet
You may not have the room to cover all aspects of your website that you wish to highlight. The trick is to make sure that everything that you have to say fits in the tiny window that the search engine gives you. When it comes to desired length, 150 to 160 characters is optimal. This not only ensures that search engines can display your entire description without cutting it off, but that social networks such as Facebook and Google+ can as well.
2. Give Each Description a Hook
Each meta description needs to give your reader two things. The first is a quick overview of the content of your site and the second is a compelling reason to continue reading. Here is an example of an effective meta description from Skechers’ website:
- Shop SKECHERS online for the biggest selection of athletic, dress, casual and work shoes for Women, Men and Kids. Free shipping both ways!
This is only 138 characters, yet look at how much you know about them from that single sentence. In addition, it ends with a hook that they provide free shipping on their products even if you are returning them.
3. Go Easy on the Keywords
It’s important to point out that for normal web search, meta descriptions have no influence on your search engine ranking. So don’t even think about keyword stuffing. It’s best to create a compelling description and deliver essential information with keywords intelligently placed throughout the description.
4. Give Them an Offer
You have given your call-to-action a lot of thought, so why not incorporate it into your meta description? Integrating your call-to-action into the meta description can help influence click-throughs. But remember, your call-to-action needs to be clear on exactly how they will benefit from visiting your webpage if you want them to click.
5. Monitor and Test
Remember that you are writing for people first and search engines second. One of the reasons SEO professionals fell out of love with meta descriptions is that they didn’t carry much weight on page ranking. This overlooks the entire reason for creating them in the first place: to attract people.
Your meta description should be crafted with trends in mind. Test them against both search keywords and AdWords to see how well they match what people are looking for. Use your analytics tool to measure your source of traffic and bounce rate. Make sure that your meta descriptions are not drawing traffic from all the wrong places.
6. Edit Like Your English Teacher
One of the downfalls of meta descriptions is often the simplest thing: proofreading. Remember that this little cut of copy is not visible on your webpage, but may be the very first thing that a viewer sees in search results. In essence, it is your first impression. Any misspellings, poor grammar or keyword stuffing will give a terrible impression that may be hard to overcome. You need to edit your meta descriptions as meticulously as you do your copy.
Do you have any other great ideas for writing the perfect meta description? Share them in the comments section below!