Get ahead of the competition with compelling meta description tags
With the competition for clicks becoming increasingly fierce, more online traders are becoming aware of the sales value of the simple meta description tag. This tiny snippet of information about a page on your site is usually the first contact that you’ll have with a potential buyer. Get ahead of the competition by tailoring your meta description HTML code to include an appealing page summary and a compelling call to action!
SERPs – your first contact with a potential buyer
Whenever you run a search in Google or any of the other popular search engines, you’ll see a list of links, each with a short snippet of information about the individual page. SERP is the acronym for Search Engine Results Page, and it’s often the first point of contact between an online buyer and seller.
In May 2018, Google baffled the SEO world when they returned the length of their SERPs meta descriptions to just over 160 characters. So far, Google have said very little about the reasons for tampering with the the displayed length of search results snippets. Our advice is to make add custome meta description tags for your most prominent pages. This approach is strongly recommended for site owners wishing to improve Click Through Rates (CTR) on AdWords sponsored pages.
Until recently, most site owners would leave it to Google to fill the snippet with a ‘best guess’ summary of the page content. Unfortunately, this can often be a few random phrases that don’t make much sense.
Due to increasing competition, more site owners are taking control of their own page snippets. It’s incredibly easy to do. By adding a simple ‘meta description’ tag to the HTML code for each page, search engines can be encouraged to display a customised page summary snippet. Rather than serving-up garbled phrases, Google etc. may use the page’s custom meta description HTML if it’s relevant to the search.
How to write a great meta description
The first thing to remember is that there’s a practical limit on the length of your custom meta description. In 2018, most experts recommend a maximum of 160 characters, including spaces. This is our latest recommendation, published on 6th Aug 2018.
Google etc. may highlight any of the user-entered search terms in bold, if it finds those same search terms in your meta description. Critically, the user-entered search terms will also need to feature prominently in your site content. Your site won’t even make it onto page 1, 2 or 3 of Google SERPs if you don’t have keyword-rich content!
Many site owners miss this vital point. Meta descriptions don’t improve keyword ranking SEO. They simply attract attention to the SERPs snippet by making the user-entered search terms appear in bold characters. It’s basically just simple psychology!
By placing the main (on-page) keywords prominently in the meta description you can amplify this effect. Visually, the bold keywords shout out “hey – this is what you were searching for!”.
If your business is localised, don’t forget to feature your location prominently in the meta description, e.g. “… best prices in the MyTown area!”.
A Call to Action (CTA) is one of the basics of online content copywriting. Most casual Google searchers will respond to an assertive invitation. Due to the recent changes in 2018, we now recommend that you place the CTA close to the start of your custom meta description. “Click for more details of our …”, “Check out today’s offers on …”, “Read our top-tips for …”, get the idea?
What are the benefits of meta description tags?
At this point I’m going to mention again that meta descriptions won’t do much to improve your page rank in Google, or any other search engine. They are only cost-effective if your pages are already ranking well. Meta descriptions are about improving Click Through Rates (CTR). In turn, improved CTR will boost sales and improve your competitive edge in any product niche or locality.
If you’re an AdWords sponsor, it’s even more important that you maximise your return from advertising investment. Cleverly written, custom meta description tags are still one of the best ways to increase Click Through Rates from SERPs.
If you’re pretty comfortable with words, drafting your own meta descriptions is a quick, cost-effective way of boosting individual page click-through. If you have a WordPress or WooCommerce site, Yoast include a very effective meta description editor in their SEO package. A lot of ecommerce store packages also have meta description editing facilities or add-ons.
If you’re short of time, or you’re not that comfortable about writing your own content, there are a lot of pro meta description copywriters out there. Most online content copywriters charge very reasonable fees for this kind of work.
Click here to contact our meta description copywriting team for a low-cost quote.