Want to earn more clicks on Google?
It could be as simple as mastering how to maximize the 156 characters allowed in its meta descriptions.
Get it right, and searchers will be compelled to click on your link. Miss the mark, and your piece may as well not even exist in the Googleverse.
This article includes our top tips for making the most of your meta descriptions, so people won’t be able to say no to checking out your content.
Meta Descriptions: The Basics
Meta descriptions are short blurbs that explain what the content is about. They appear below the titles in Google search results. Some end with an ellipsis to indicate that the meta description has been cut off because there’s more text. The visible parts of the descriptions are approximately 156 characters. If you want to write a meta description that will fit in the allocated space and that Google won’t change, go for fewer than 156 characters and make sure you put the most crucial text early in the description.
According to the Search Engine Journal: The meta description is an HTML tag that provides search engines and searchers a description of what the page is about.
How to Write Compelling Meta Descriptions
1. Consider the Searcher and Search Query
Think about why the people you’re targeting with your content would search for the topic. It’s likely related to the reason the piece was created and a keyword or series of them you want your business and website to be known for.
It’s critical to understand your searcher’s intent so you can write a meta description that will compel them to check out your article.
2. Include Keywords in Your Meta Descriptions
Most writers avoid repeating a word used in one sentence in the next one. It’s a good practice that helps keep content from getting repetitive.
While it’s a good thing to do in prose, it’s not ideal for meta descriptions. Even if your content title includes your primary keyword or words, your meta description should, as well. Creating a compelling meta description isn’t about perfect content flow. It’s about getting people to click on the link and read your content. That often takes a more promotional approach to writing that could involve repeating keywords to make it obvious what a piece is about.
3. Intrigue Prospective Readers
There are two primary ways to write meta descriptions:
The obvious: Provide a clear answer to a search query
The interesting: Give searchers just enough information to make them curious to learn more, so they click the link to read the full story on your website.
The first option is acceptable. The second one is a proven way to get more clicks. If you want to become a meta description master, find a way to combine the two by answering (even partially) the query while also piquing curiosity, all in 156 characters. The best search experts have mastered this, and most top articles served up by Google use this approach.
4. Include Your Brand Name in Your Meta Description if It’s a Known and Respected One
If your company brand is positively known in your industry or area, use its name in the meta description or title of the content. It brings a recognizability and credibility factor that other results may not have. Think about it. Would you prefer to click on a piece from a company or publisher you know or an anonymous or unknown site?
If your company name is a long one, consider using a shortened version in your titles or descriptions consistently. It will build searcher familiarity and trust over time.
5. Don’t Avoid Punctuation
Sure, Google meta descriptions limit you to 156 characters. It can be tempting to eliminate punctuation to save space for more words.
Meta descriptions with no punctuation can be impossible to read. It’s all just a jumble of words. Punctuation helps guide the eye and makes meta descriptions simple to scan. This is particularly important when people are searching on their smartphones.
The Final Word About Meta Description Writing
Compelling meta descriptions benefit from good, thoughtful writing more than most content types. You have very few characters that must accomplish a lot.
To make the most of that limited number of characters, follow the tips in this article and always avoid:
In the end, becoming a meta description writing superstar takes:
Practice, practice, practice
Figuring out what’s working and doing more of it
Monitoring what’s not getting results and avoiding doing it again.