Article details

Write Compelling Meta Descriptions

September 2018

For most businesses and website operators, the meta description is a necessary evil. On the one hand, you need to have a meta description to rank on Google and to get clicks. Your meta description is going to be the first thing that people searching for your brand—or for a topic related to your brand—are going to see. If your description is boring or doesn’t communicate what your page or article is about, your prospective visitors are going to scroll right past it. On the other hand, conveying the core idea of your page in 160 characters or less is no small feat. Especially for pages that discuss complex concepts, how can you write a fitting meta description without going well over that character limit? Below, we’ve provided some tips.

Related: Content Marketing Trends to Note

  • Use keywords, but only if they fit naturally: By the time you’re writing a meta description, you should already have the content that you’re describing. By extension, you should know exactly which keywords you are targeting with your article. If possible, try to fit these keywords into your description. Google does not give you a ranking bump for your description alone, but it will highlight the keywords that appear in your description. If you want to catch the eyes of searchers, a well-placed keyword should help. With that said, only use keywords or keyword phrases in your description if 1) they fit and 2) they feel natural.
  • Identify the value proposition of your page: Google won’t give your page a boost in rankings just for a keyword-packed description, but it will provide you with a boost for a high clickthrough rate. You get a higher click-through rate by attracting people to your website, and the best way to do that is through a description that piques the interest of your readers. Identifying the value proposition of your content should help you accomplish this feat. What will readers get out of visiting your page? If it’s a blog or article, highlight the topics, concepts, or questions you explored or answered. If it’s a service page, highlight the problems or pain points the service helps to solve. If it’s an E-commerce page, namedrop some of the brands you carry. Think of your meta description as the one or two-sentence mission statement for your page.
  • Speak directly to your target audience: One of the reasons to lay off the keywords in your meta descriptions is that you should be writing them for your target audience, not for a search engine crawler. You want your descriptions to be enticing and welcoming to your visitors. Use words such as “you” and “your” to make readers feel like you are talking to them, and include details about what that person will get from visiting your site. If it’s natural, add a call to action as part of the description.

Writing meta descriptions is not an exact science. Beyond the character count, there is lots of flexibility in what you can do with these descriptions. There’s a good chance you won’t nail the formula the first time, so be willing to monitor your pages and tweak your descriptions if you see less-than-satisfactory results. Alternatively, give us a call at Inherent and let our team help you craft the perfect meta descriptions from the get-go.