7 SEO Best Practices for Writing Meta Descriptions
Meta descriptions are an important part of SEO optimisation. Although they don’t boost SEO rankings directly, they help businesses achieve other goals. For instance, they boost click-through rates (CTR) by compelling people to click on their links instead of dull meta descriptions from competitors.
Even though meta descriptions are indirect signals, site owners and businesses should still include them in their SEO strategies.
What is a Meta Description?
Meta descriptions are HTML tags that show a page’s description to users and search engines. They are shown in the search engine results pages (SERPs) underneath the page’s title.
Many SEOs usually confuse meta descriptions with search snippets, but they are two different things. Meta descriptions are HTML tags that one can control; SEOs can write and optimise their meta descriptions.
On the other hand, search snippets are the descriptions that Google displays for web pages. The search engine could use the original meta description that SEOs created or use something completely different. Site owners and publishers cannot control this because Google decides what to show the users.
Google may opt not to use the original meta descriptions because search queries can vary among users. The search engine will need to show searchers something relevant to their query. But this is nothing new because the search engine automated this process a long time ago. It rewrites many search snippets on its own to accurately match the user’s query, sometimes using the first paragraph to create search snippets for some websites.
It’s crucial to know the difference between meta descriptions and search snippets, especially when Google announces new updates about them.
The Ideal Meta Description Length
The SEO community generally suggests keeping meta descriptions at 160 characters maximum, but the exact number varies from one SEO to another. By optimising meta descriptions in this way, the search results will not display a shortened version, which helps limit bounce rates.
Below are some of the best tips and practices for writing meta descriptions.
1. Research competitors
SEOs need to research what works for their competitors – the biggest threats in their niche. They can monitor relevant search results for days or months and assess which meta descriptions appear on Google’s Page 1.
Firstly, it’s best to check the search results for the top targeted keywords. It can be time consuming, but this is an important step because competitors usually implement techniques that work. Next, one must determine what competitors are doing for their brands. Lastly, exporting Google SERPs to a spreadsheet can make it easier to analyse data, run a tally of the competition, and monitor them monthly.
2. Map the customer’s journey
This task includes identifying the target audience’s optimal buying journey and determining what happens at every stage of the marketing funnel. This will depend on the target market, so it is useless to share an exact funnel with other businesses. One should target and tailor their meta descriptions according to their findings.
3. Use the brand’s unique style and tone
Each brand has its unique tone and style that complements its identity. With that in mind, SEOs should uniquely craft each meta description, tailoring them to the brand’s image. The benefit of this method is that it reaches various personas targeting specific keywords. One can reach the target audience that truly connects with them by targeting personas with user intent and combining keywords with this research.
4. Include keywords that searchers use
When users perform a search query, they will usually see highlighted keywords in the meta descriptions. Although Google denies it as a ranking factor, keywords in meta descriptions can catch readers’ attention and convince them to click on the link. It’s because users will want to visit a website that’s most relevant to their search query as it satisfies their intent.
5. Take advantage of trending social headlines
Following industry firms and influencer accounts should be included in ones’ strategy. It would also help determine which topics are currently trending on social media and study out the highest-ranking meta descriptions. Some of the best places to start are BuzzSumo, Google Trends, Twitter’s Trending Topics, and so on.
6. Target a specific search intent
As much as possible, SEOs should avoid generalised meta descriptions, hollow phrases, and other sales-speak as these chase prospective clients away. Instead, one should confidently persuade the users that the content answers their questions instead of forcing them into the sales funnel.
7. Refresh meta descriptions on older content
Refreshing stale content can greatly benefit a website as it can make older pages gain popularity from social media. As a result, SEOs can re-share and get visibility from older posts if they refresh all their meta descriptions.
Aside from the seven tips above, one should invest their time and energy in testing, assessing results, and making changes in their meta description strategies. There isn’t a single formula that works for all industries. When experimenting on meta descriptions, one must observe proper branding and tone of voice, character limits, and targeted optimisations for specific pages. One must maintain a delicate balance between all these common SEO elements in order to succeed.
Write Compelling Meta Descriptions with Position1SEO
Writing good meta descriptions can provide searchers with useful information and improve user experience. Doing so will help you gain more clicks from the search results because users will see the value that your website has to offer.
Position1SEO is an expert in SEO optimisation and content creation. We can write unique content and optimise your web pages to make them SEO-friendly. We can also provide your website with informative blogs and news articles relevant to your niche. With our help, you can rest assured that your title tags and meta descriptions will be well-optimised so Google’s search engine and users can easily find your content in a sea of competitors.
We take a no-stone-unturned approach when working on your SEO; this means that we are focused on direct ranking factors and work on everything that indirectly affects your search rankings, site traffic, and CTR.
Before we work on your website, we will first conduct a free in-depth SEO audit to highlight your website’s areas of improvement, which would help us create the perfect SEO strategy tailored to your business’s specific needs.
If you want to know more about how we work, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today!