Wasting time is the worst! One of the more frustrating things about SEO is things that were once a ranking factor no longer play a role in how search engines rank your webpage. Meta descriptions are one of these factors. Google has stated that their algorithm does not take into account meta descriptions. In other words, they do not affect rankings. Then why spend your valuable time writing meta descriptions for every page on your website? Because they provide value to the consumer and can actually help achieve more clicks. Keep reading to find out why you should implement great meta descriptions across your website and to discover a few marketing agency secrets along the way.
What are Meta Descriptions?
Meta descriptions are the sentence or two below a search result on the search engine result page (SERP). When breaking down a search result, there are three parts: the title of the webpage, the URL of the webpage, and the meta description. Google will automatically create a snippet in place of the meta description if you do not create one yourself. The purpose of the meta description is to provide the reader with enough information about the content on your webpage that they are convinced to click on your result and go to your website. Here’s a search result from Google:
How do you write a great Meta Description?
Writing a great meta description is fairly straightforward. Doing so is easiest if you know both your business and your customers extremely well. Let’s break down five agency secrets of a great meta description:
- It should be no more than 160 characters. Google currently displays around 160 characters when serving meta descriptions, so you should keep yours under that limit. Beware that this number has fluctuated in the past and is something that you need to keep an eye on.
- It should tell the reader what your webpage is about. The closer your meta description is at explaining what the reader is searching for, the more likely they are to click your search result.
- It should contain a compelling call to action (CTA). After you tell the reader what your webpage is about, you should invite them to choose your result. It’s amazing how much more likely a reader is to perform the task the writer wants them to when the writer clearly states what they want from the reader.
- It should contain the keyword of your webpage. Every webpage should contain a keyword that you want the webpage to rank for and you should include that keyword in your meta description.
- It should be unique. Do not use the same meta description for multiple pages, no matter how alike you think the pages may be. Switch things up, write new content and entice the reader in new ways.
Do Meta Descriptions Affect SEO?
Contrary to what Google says, we say yes! While they do not technically factor into Google’s algorithm, they can alter one metric that definitely is considered by Google. That metric is click-through rate (CTR). When a reader is presented with a well-written meta description, that can be the final trigger that causes them to choose your result over the others. Your CTR will be higher the more times your ads are clicked in relation to how many times they are shown. A higher CTR tells Google that people find your information compelling enough to at least navigate to your page. Obviously, Google considers other metrics in its algorithms but CTR is one that meta descriptions can directly affect.
Why are Meta Descriptions Important?
In conclusion, meta descriptions are an important part of every webpage. While they aren’t factored into Google’s algorithm, they can help your SEO. They can provide the reader with more information about the webpage and entice them to choose your search result over the others. The higher the rate that people click your search result when it is shown, the better your CTR and that is something that Google’s algorithm factors in. We strongly suggest that you write a creative and unique meta description for every page on your website. However, there’s no harm in starting with your most important pages, such as your homepage.
Want to brush up on your SEO knowledge, or take a crash course of the fundamentals? Go read our 2019 SEO Guide, the #1 search result on Google 😉