Marketing 7 min read

How to Write the Best Meta Descriptions for your Website

Mamanamsai | Shutterstock

Mamanamsai | Shutterstock

Utilizing the best meta descriptions in your website could have a substantial impact in your SEO efforts. The question is: how would you do it?

Before we teach you how to write the best meta descriptions for your website, let’s begin with understanding what a meta description is.

A meta description is an HTML attribute that gives a short and on point summary of a webpage. It is typically found below the blue clickable links in the search engine results page (SERP) and is usually between one to four sentences long.

best meta descriptions example
Example of a meta description as shown in a SERP

The primary purpose of the meta description is to let people know what your webpage is all about or if it is relevant to their queries. If used properly, it could increase your click-through-rate (CTR) and drive traffic to your site.

While search engines like Google say that meta descriptions are not being used in ranking web pages, there is one indirect benefit that you can get from it. Google uses click-through-rates to determine whether or not a webpage is relevant to a user query and whether it should be shown in SERP.

Meaning, the more you get people to click on your webpage link, the higher your chances of getting a better ranking position. That is why optimizing meta descriptions is as important as optimizing the other elements of your webpage.

Now that you know what a meta description is and why it is essential, here are six tips that you can use to write the best meta descriptions for your web pages.

1. Meta Description Length

Previously, the best meta descriptions were between 135 and 160 characters. However, that changed in 2017 when Google announced that meta descriptions could be as long as 320 characters.

It is highly advisable that you keep your meta descriptions long enough to describe your website precisely. Always remember that the optimal description length varies depending on the content of your webpages.

Read More: The Ultimate Guide to Affordable SEO

2. Unique Meta Descriptions

It is always important that you keep your content unique. The same goes with your meta descriptions. While having duplicate meta descriptions won’t get you penalized, writing clear descriptions is vital because they act as a type of sales pitch on SERPs.

If the meta descriptions for your web pages are all the same, it could affect the experience of Google users. Of course, the page title is crucial. However, it might appear that all the web pages have the same content if the descriptions are the same.

If you are having trouble writing the best meta descriptions for your website, just leave it blank and let Google pick the snippets from your web pages containing the keyword used in a search.

Read More: What do Google’s Longer Snippets Mean for Snippet Optimization?

3. Use Keywords in Your Meta Description

Always include keywords in your meta descriptions. Make sure that they are relevant to the content of your website and are what potential clients are searching for. Note that when Google finds that a meta description is irrelevant to the content of a site, it will pull out the first sentence in the page content which has the relevant keyword and show it in SERP anyway. In short, it’s best to do the work for Google as you can’t trust what it will show to your users.

Read More: How to use Keywords and Backlinks to Create a Solid Link-Building Strategy

4. HTML Tables in Meta Descriptions

Google’s primary goal is to make online information universally accessible and useful to everyone. That said, it’s not surprising that Google favors websites that provide direct answers to user queries. If you want to excel in this part, it is highly advisable that you use HTML tables in your meta descriptions.

HTML Table in Meta Description Example
HTML Table in Meta Description Example

Using an HTML table could make your snippet more descriptive and easier to understand. In our example, you can actually see more helpful information about the “FIFA World Cup 2018 teams” with an HTML table. It gives direct answers to queries, making it convenient for users. It should not come as a surprise that Google places this kind of results on top of a SERP.

If you want to utilize an HTML table in writing your meta descriptions, you just need to have basic knowledge of HTML table coding and identify question-based search queries that you can answer in full detail.

Read More: How to Build a Strong SEO Foundation for a New Website

5. Optimize for Rich Snippets

Rich snippets are structured data markups that you can add to your HTML which will allow search engines to understand the content of your web pages better. In essence, rich snippets are considered richer results that go beyond the basics. It is essential that you optimize your meta descriptions for rich snippets.

Rich snippets include additional information like contact details of a business, operation hours, prices, location, star-rating, and product availability. Google usually shows them under the URL of a webpage in SERP.

Sample Meta Description without Rich Snippets
Sample Meta Description without Rich Snippets
Sample Meta Description with Rich Snippets
Sample Meta Description with Rich Snippets

However, there is no easy way to turn on rich snippets. You need to work on it, and even then, there is no guarantee that Google or other search engines will display it for you in SERP. If you don’t know how to start optimizing for rich snippets, you may refer to Google guidelines here.

Read More: Everything You Need to Know About Featured Snippets in Google Search

6. Compelling Ad Copies

The best meta descriptions are also considered the best and most persuasive Ad copies that you can have for your website. That is the case because meta descriptions serve and function as Ad copies that should draw people to your site.

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, effective meta descriptions increase the click-through-rate of your web pages. And again, the higher your CTR, the higher your chances of improving your website’s ranking position in SERPs. Here are some simple rules that you should follow if you want to turn your meta descriptions into impressive ad copies.

  • Make it readable. No matter what happens, never resort to keyword stuffing. Remember that meta descriptions are not considered ranking factors. Plus, you don’t want to give searchers the impression that your website is spammy.
  • Make it direct to the point. You only have limited characters when writing meta descriptions. Make the most out of it and ensure that you write a clear and concise ad copy. Try to make it as direct to the point as you can, including all pertinent details about your page.
  • Utilize special characters, symbols, and numbers. Headlines that contain numbers produce over 70 percent more social media shares and user engagement. The same goes for both special characters and symbols. Make sure to include them in your meta description when necessary.
  • Include a Call-to-Action. While adding a call-to-action or CTA to meta descriptions is optional, using the right CTAs could be beneficial in driving traffic to your website.
  • Make it customer-centric. It is important that you make your meta descriptions with potential customers in mind. Make it appealing to searchers by answering their questions directly. The best meta descriptions should be written for your customers and not for your business.

Key Takeaways

Keep in mind that writing the best meta descriptions could make a huge difference for your site. Even though they don’t have a direct impact on your website’s ranking, they could make your business noticeable in search results. Just follow all the tips that we provided in this article so you could make the most out of your meta descriptions.

Read More: 10 Tools to Improve Your Content Creation Process

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Chelle Fuertes

Chelle is the Product Management Lead at INK. She's an experienced SEO professional as well as UX researcher and designer. She enjoys traveling and spending time anywhere near the sea with her family and friends.

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