The Power of Meta Descriptions: How to Write One That Converts
In this blog post, we discussed some of the best practices for writing meta descriptions. We also provided some examples of well-written meta descriptions. Following these tips, you can write meta descriptions to help your website stand out in the SERPs and attract more visitors.
So what is a meta description?
The meta description (sometimes called a meta description attribute or tag) is a snippet of text describing the web page’s content, for users and search engines, up to 320 characters and contained within an HTML tag or element.
Why is your content’s meta description essential?
Search engines, like Google, can choose to display the meta description in search results, bypass your meta description, and show whatever they want or deem more critical for the specific search query.
Yoast says this:
“Search engines show the meta description in search results mostly when the searched-for phrase is within the description, so optimizing the meta description is crucial for on-page SEO.”
But without a doubt, optimizing your meta descriptions is an essential factor of on-page SEO.
Every detail is essential when it comes to the beautiful world of search engine optimization (SEO). It could hurt your rankings and traffic if you overlook one piece – no matter how inconsequential it appears.
The importance of meta descriptions should never be overlooked.
Examples of meta descriptions in search results
Depending on the search engine, SERPs have a different look and feel. So keep that in mind when you go to optimize your meta descriptions. Sites like Google tend to include more clickable real estate than sites like Yahoo and DuckDuckGo.
As you can see, sites like Bing pull in more user-rich data from outside sites like Yelp. So keep that in mind when you are making changes. And if any of the displayed information is outdated, update it.
Meta description examples to inspire you
Why it works:
Tesla does a great job of covering the basics and optimizing for branded search results, which is more important to them than ranking for someone generally trying to learn about electric cars or solar power. Their dominance in the field makes branded more critical.
2. Domino’s Pizza
Why it works:
This is an excellent example of Domino’s tailoring its content and meta descriptions for people with the same goal of finding pizza to buy in their city or town. While some potential customers might search generically, ie pizza near me, others will search for pizza in their specific town. Domino’s provides specific pages and meta descriptions to target those searches independently.
Truncated meta descriptions
Sometimes your meta description will get truncated by search engines. This can happen because your description is too long or search engines build a different meta description and grab other elements from the page.
Simple tips for writing a great meta description.
Below are a few examples of things to consider when crafting the perfect meta description. While there is no bulletproof formula, often, good copywriting skills and attention to detail have the most significant impact on success.
- Keep the meta description length to approximately 135-160 characters
- Include a call to action
- Matching the page topic is critical
- Check out Semrush’s On-Page SEO Checker.
Google might display alternative text.
If Google thinks it can give the user a better page description, then Google might pull together separate meta descriptions and titles than what you had intended. They are like a pitch that convinces the user that the page is precisely what they’re looking for.
If we’ve detected that a particular result has one of the above issues with its title, we may try to generate an improved title from anchors, on-page text, or other sources. However, sometimes even pages with well-formulated, concise, descriptive titles will end up with different titles in our search results to better indicate their relevance to the query. There’s a simple reason for this: the title tag as specified by a webmaster is limited to being static, fixed regardless of the query.
Automate meta descriptions with templates
Do you have a website with too many pages to adjust manually? If so, you can create templates with plugins like Yoast, if you have WordPress, and clean up your site in just a few clicks.
The Yoast plugin lets you set templates for titles and meta descriptions. This means you can create a template and won’t have to think about it anymore! You can do so in the Search Appearance section of Yoast SEO. You can also set these templates for the homepage, posts, pages, categories, tags, and archives.
You can use various variables to fill out this template—for instance, the name of the post, page, or product and the name of your site.
Template caveat emptor: When creating templates and applying them sitewide, make sure to thoroughly think out your process, motives, and search intent of your visitors. Because if you have a large site with over 100 or even 1,000 or 10,000 pages, you will see a significant fluctuation in your search engine ranking positions.
Test your meta descriptions.
If you have specific landing pages that generate a good amount of organic traffic, consider testing different meta descriptions to see if you create a lift in click-throughs from search engines. Mix up different description lengths, calls-to-action, and keyword positioning.
A meta description is a short snippet of text that appears in search engine results pages (SERPs) below the page title. It is used to give searchers a brief overview of what the page is about.
A well-written meta description can help to improve your website’s click-through rate (CTR), which is the percentage of people who see your page in the SERPs and actually click on it.