HOW TO WRITE THE RIGHT META DESCRIPTION
In the ever-developing and arcane art of SEO, optimal meta descriptions matter. If a meta description isn’t up to scratch, Google will not print it—instead replacing it with a cringey, generic description generated by a bot, or selecting a phrase from the body of the page text. This can jeopardise ranking among the top ten blue recommendations on the first page for any search query. Yuqo’s team of content creators ensures that your meta descriptions get your page listed where you want it to be.
Breaking down the SEO “dos and don’ts” of writing 155-character (or even less) meta descriptions ironically requires 100 times the characters to achieve. The meta description is the brief, yet driving sentence or two that Google lists as the page description when a search query is entered. The black text under the blue search result is the meta description.
When the goal is to be at the top of that first page, a killer meta description becomes paramount to “instruct” the search algorithms to list your website well.
Of course, there are at least 200 criteria used by Google to rank a site, with the meta description containing a dozen of those criteria in itself. A strong meta description is an act of word compression of the slickest kind; a call to action written in an active voice, mentioning the product or company at least twice, while using descriptive keywords, but not too many, to get that click.
When writing an effective meta description, there are several key features that need to be considered.
There is no perfect length for a meta description. Ideally, they are between 75 characters minimum and 155 characters max. This can change, as Google may cut the description short by adding a date at the start. The preferred description length may also change on Google’s whim from time to time, without providing reason for doing so. Which devices are being used can also affect meta description length. Phones are treated differently to tablets, which are again treated differently to laptops.
2: BE UNIQUE
The meta description should be unique. Google hates plagiarism and repetition, which they consider to strongly decrease user experience. If a meta description is the same as that of another page, Google may just drop it and add a sentence from the body of the text that contains the relevant search keyword. It is wise to not repeat meta descriptions for different pages with similar subject matter. Creating a unique meta for each page increases the chances of a dominant listing. Referring to Google Webmaster Tools for improving HTML effectiveness is highly recommended.
The meta description should contain the focus keyword for the appropriate page. If the focus keyword of a search matches one in the meta description, then Google is more likely to rank the page higher. Higher ranked pages are always more inviting.
4: ACTIVE & ACTIONABLE
The meta description is an invitation to visit the page. It should be written in an active voice, using actionable words. A general description that hints at the content, or one that is dull will not generate the desired click-throughs.
5: MATCH THE CONTENT
The meta description needs to match the content of the page. Misleading descriptions will increase bounce rate, which makes this a bad practice on its own. Add to this that Google will penalise pages that try and trick visitors into clicking—it’s best to always be forthright with descriptions.
6: CALL TO ACTION
The meta description should include a call to action, as it’s basically a brief sales pitch; not for the product itself, but for the page that lists the product. Phrases such as “Find out how”, “Learn more”, “Get it now”, and “Try for free” are good examples of actionable phrases.
7: STRUCTURED CONTENT
Focussing on the specifics of a product can be a good idea. Technical aspects, SKU, manufacturer, and price are what the visitor is looking for. Including nothing more than a competitive price can trigger a click, without needing a big pitch to accompany it. Rich snippets can help in this regard.
Getting the meta description right is key to getting your page ranked well. Google is coy about what it recommends as the ideal amount of characters for a meta description. In any case, well-crafted meta descriptions can increase click-through rate. Yuqo has a team of experienced authors, editors, and translators who know how to write a compelling meta description that will help your website stand out above the rest.