How to Write Meta Descriptions that Convert to Traffic
Meta descriptions, once widely abused in SEO to commonly overlooked — find out how meta descriptions convert to traffic and how to use them.
Meta descriptions are one factor that is often overlooked in SEO since it does not directly help with your ranking. Many people don’t even bother with it anymore. Funny enough, it used to be an element that got abused so much to the point that Google now has to stop using meta tags for their ranking algorithm.
However, in my opinion, meta descriptions are not dead.
The still play a role in SEO and can bring many benefits to the site owners if they know how to utilize them. That’s why there are still people like you who are reading articles like this one to learn how to optimize meta descriptions. So, without further ado, let’s get into it.
What Is A Meta Description?
For those who don’t know, the meta description is a meta tag where the main function is to describe what the page is about. It’s a brief explanation that you see under every hyperlink in the search result page.
The main purpose – to improve user experience.
The same meta description will also be displayed on social media platforms if that page is shared, but how it is displayed on different platforms can vary. For that reason, in this article, I’m going to focus solely on the short snippet of text on Google’s result page.
Why Should You Care About Meta Descriptions?
While this still might be an ongoing debate, there are a few reasons to spend your time optimizing meta description tags that I think everyone can agree upon.
First, even though Google doesn’t use your meta description 100% of the time anymore, it’s still a really good chance to advertise yourself to users on the web. This case study shows that if your meta description is written well enough, there’s a good chance Google will present it to your users.
If a page has a compelling meta description, more people are going to click on it, therefore increase click-through rate, traffic to the website and potentially conversion rate.
All of these factors when increased will, in turn, boost your rank. So even though it’s true that meta descriptions are no longer a ranking factor, it can still help your SEO.
Besides, it’s really easy to do and only takes a few minutes, so why not?
5 Tips to Write Compelling Meta Descriptions That Convert Traffic
1. Only Write In Places That Matter
Ideally, every single page of your website should have a customized meta description. However, writing for every single page will consume a huge amount of time that you can spend more productive elsewhere. But haven’t I just basically convinced you that you should spend time on writing good meta descriptions?
Yes, it is true that with some pages, having well-written meta descriptions is a must, because you simply will miss out on a lot of opportunities to attract your customers if you don’t. However, with many other pages, letting Google do the job for you may be the better option. Especially with pages that target longtail keywords, the description that Google pulls out from your content will be customized based on the search query that users put in. Sometimes, it might be even more relevant to users than your own description.
So what are the pages that should have their own original meta descriptions?
- Homepage: this is your opportunity to give the first impression of your brand, so it’s a no brainer.
- Pages with High Traffic: when one of your pages attracts a lot of eyeballs, having an on-point meta description can only do good to your website.
- Category Pages: having a compelling meta description at these pages is a must, especially if you run an eCommerce site because it will lead to conversion.
2. Include Keywords, But Don’t Stuff It
Since Google doesn’t count meta descriptions as a ranking factor, things like keyword density mean nothing here. So if you’re trying to keyword stuffing your meta description, you should probably stop. However, including keywords into meta descriptions can help users understand better what the page is all about and will compel them to click on it. A naturally written paragraph is the best.
3. Keep Character Count In Mind, But Don’t Focus On It
The ideal length of a meta description is around 150 characters, but that number can change across multiple devices. However, it’s nothing to paranoid about. The end goal that you should have in mind is a quick, brief explanation about the page that will compel users to click on. Remember, it’s all about the user here. If you need to keep a word count in mind, let 150 be it, and then focus on writing well.
4. Use A Call To Action
When reading a meta description, all users want to know what’s in it for them. Therefore, a meta description is not much different from an ad (that you have for free on the web). So take advantage of it and add a powerful call to action of your own.
5. Optimize For Featured Snippets
The final thing that you need to keep in mind while writing is to optimize for featured snippets ie: Position Zero. This is easily one of the best ways to make your meta description stand out. In case you’re wondering, the featured snippet is the information extracted from one of the pages on the SERP that Google thinks will answer searchers’ questions. A featured snippet could be a table, a list or a short paragraph.
So how do you hack into the featured snippets?
This question deserves another article to answer, but the main thing that you need to focus on is structuring your content. This is obviously outside of the meta description tag but since it serves the same purpose, you definitely need to keep it in mind when optimizing meta descriptions.
So there you have it!
Now you know everything you need to do in order to have compelling meta descriptions. No matter what everyone says, meta descriptions are still useful. Learn to use them properly and they will help you get more traffic, boost your ranking, get more conversions. Ignore them and you’ll more than likely send leads to your competitors.
So if you haven’t optimized your meta descriptions yet, what are you waiting for? Start now!
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