7 Tips for Writing Meta Descriptions
Oh, meta descriptions. You know, those 155 character lines under your page title in search engines that provide zero boost to your search rankings but can make all the difference in getting a click to your page versus your competitors.
Some marketers dismiss the importance of spending the time to optimize these descriptions, claiming the user should be inspired to click-through a properly optimized page title. But that’s not the case. Many users need convincing that their click will get them the answers they desire. This is where a properly optimized meta description comes in.
Crafting a well-written meta description is a bit like crafting copy to be placed on a billboard, except you don’t have the luxury of a dramatic visual to catch eyes and tell your story. It takes valuable time and expert wordsmithing to drive traffic and increase clicks to your pages with meta descriptions.
Luckily, we have a few tips on how to effectively optimize your meta descriptions:
1. Summarize the Content on Your Page
This may come as no shock but your meta description should match the expectations of what users will find on your page. Develop a short summary of your content in one to two sentences and then cut down characters from there.
2. Understand Your Page Value Proposition
What is the true purpose of your page? What do you want your user to take away from the content of your page? Make sure you make this implicit in your meta description without giving away all the goods.
3. Tease Your Content
Okay, I might have just said that you should be implicit about what your user should expect to gain from your page, but hear me out. As long as your tease lines up to the expectation of your end-user, a carefully worded tease could be just what inspires the user to click. Careful not to get too kitschy though, you still want to come off as an expert.
4. Incorporate Your Focus Keywords
You’ve strategically optimized your page for certain singular and semantic keywords or key phrases on your page. Remember, you need to do this again in your meta description. Your user is looking for the answer to their questions and Google tries to help the user to solve their problem by bolding the keywords in your meta description that match their query. Use this help from Google to your full advantage by making sure your keywords are also in your meta description.
5. Use Theatre of the Mind
Paint a picture. Sometimes that’s easier said than done but it’s just one more element that will help inspire your user to your page. Use your language carefully so that the user can visualize the content that lives on the other side of that click.
6. Make Your Authority Known
You’ve dedicated blood, sweat and time to create valuable content that users can use to help benefit their lives. And there’s a reason why you’ve created what you’ve created – because you know what you’re talking about! Let it be known in your meta description that you are the expert and that your users should come to you as a resource. You can get this across in your meta description, it just may take a little finessing.
7. Continual Optimization
Meta descriptions aren’t a one trick pony. Look at your web analytics platforms to understand which pages are getting clicks and which aren’t. It can take many iterations to perfectly match your meta description with the intent of your users.
Things to Avoid When Writing Meta Descriptions
- Duplicate meta descriptions for different pages
- Adding quotations to meta descriptions
- Exceeding 155 characters
Remember, in the end, you want to have as much control of how your pages appear across the internet and by taking the time to carefully craft the message contained in these characters, you will be rewarded with more clicks to your pages.
Founder & CEO
Kiley Peters is the Founder and CEO of Brainchild Studios, a boutique audience research, content strategy, and website creation agency primarily serving brands targeting Millennial Moms or business owners. She is also the Founder of the Work From Home Playbook, a series of online courses guiding aspiring entrepreneurial moms through the steps of starting a virtual business. She also launched the Brainchild Fund, a nonprofit initiative to support women and girls in business and entrepreneurship Follow her on Instagram.more posts by Kiley →