How to Write a Meta Description

How to Write a Meta Description That Will Hook Your Reader

Are you a business in Tampa, Florida, wondering how to craft a meta description that inspires action?

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Perhaps you’re already writing great website content with SEO best practices in mind. You might know that a meta description doesn’t directly affect your search ranking. While this is true, if your description is poor and doesn’t action a click, your results will suffer over time. 

A great description will have an indirect positive benefit on your search ranking through increased traffic. We’re going to give you some solid pointers to get you writing effective meta descriptions that give your content a competitive edge. Read on!

Get More Readers

The search engine results page (SERP) is fiercely competitive. This is especially true if you are shooting for the coveted spots at the top. Whether your meta description is functioning in an organic ranking scenario or a paid campaign, marketing principles are still required to stand out from the crowd.

No matter how amazing your content is, if you want to attract visitors, you need a great storefront. You could think of the meta title as the store sign and the meta description as the store window. To capture traffic the description has to engage the viewer with accurate information that entices a click.

Is your company running a blog that is well-focused on a target audience? The goal of your meta description is to maximize the readership of your article or site page. While your title might be writing the check, the description needs to cash it.

Although we pointed out that the meta description will mostly help your SEO indirectly, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t add primary and secondary keywords for relevance.

Latent semantic indexing keywords (LSI) are words and phrases that have a semantic relationship to your topic. Including these in your meta description is also a great idea, as Google will often bold these meta keywords.

Compelling Meta Description

So how long should a good meta description be? It could be any length, but since Google will truncate longer descriptions, it’s best to work within the ideal snippet criteria.

A good guide is 155-160 characters, but why isn’t there a specific target number? The reason is that Google limits pixels for the snippet, not characters. Since characters vary in length, a SERP snippet tool will be useful to preview and optimize the appearance of your meta description. 

An important point is that search engines don’t always display the title tag and meta description for certain site pages. For this reason, you can consider using data highlighter on these pages to teach Google about your site data and make the rich snippet on the SERP more attractive.

Remember that this is a preview of what is about to be read, so it should look human and not robotic or spam-like. Emotion is a great tool to stand out on a crowded results page, so use it to your advantage, but don’t give away the meat in advance. The goal is to describe what you are going to show, without actually showing it, in a way that captures attention.

Hook Your Reader

Your meta description is a summary and description of your webpage, so it should be relevant and meaningfully expand on the title.

Power words have great potential to hook a reader. Copywriters use words like “discount,” “gift,” and “value” to trigger a psychological response because they are persuasive and irresistible. Adjective modifiers can add relevance, particularly words like “best” and “top.”

Use active voice to move the important points to the front of a sentence. Passive voice does the opposite of this and uses more words. Text that is longer and more complex to understand is not as easy to scan and digest.

While it may be tempting to get carried away with your use of language, simple and conversational work better for the same reason. Don’t forget to make the description actionable too. Your call-to-action (CTA) is geared towards getting the reader off the search results page and into your content.

Optimize Your Blogs

If you’re considering looking back over all your meta descriptions, you should. You don’t want to repeat the same description for multiple pages, because this will not help signal relevance and will hurt your ranking. It would be better to leave the meta description blank than to duplicate it across multiple pages, but you shouldn’t aim for this.

If time is a factor, then prioritize your highest ranking pages in Google Search Console. You’ll want your best-performing pages to have a better chance of enticing a click since they already have an increased audience over other site pages.

Since SEO is always a moving target of trial and error, A/B testing is just as relevant for optimizing a meta description. Compare click-through rates (CTR) to see what worked best, rather than adopting a set-and-forget mindset.

What to Avoid

First and foremost, always remember that the meta description needs to be relevant to the page it is attached to. If it is ambiguous or deceptive, you will suffer a high bounce rate, which will hurt your ranking.

Be careful of an overly-promotional tone that has the opposite effect and puts off your audience. You want to highlight the benefits of your page contents but pay attention to how you say it.

Exaggerated claims are likely to be harmful. Desperate wording in your call-to-action (CTA) may have a negative effect also.

Flip the script and seek inspiration from winning meta descriptions. A competitor search can reveal a wealth of pointers in the organic results and also the advertisements above. A large number of marketing resources will likely have been poured into testing and perfecting these.

If you already have a page that is ranking well, these insights will be invaluable to help motivate clicks.

Create SEO Optimized Content

We’ve shown that crafting a compelling meta description is essential to boost your search engine ranking indirectly. Don’t stumble at the first hurdle and lose most of your audience with a stale meta description.

If you’re a company in Tampa, FL, we can help your SEO. We’re a Tampa SEO company, and we’ll cover your first month of strategy or consulting.

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