Writing Meta Descriptions: A How-To Guide

Now that you know what metadata is (if you missed it, here’s what you need to know about Metadata); it’s time to learn how to write Meta descriptions like a pro! The Meta descriptions for each page of your site will draw up a little paragraph describing that page when your site shows up in search results. Here’s a quick image to show you how your meta-description is displayed to internet users.

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As you can see, the description is what tells everyone what that particular page of your site is about. You don’t have to be a word-smith to write good meta descriptions, but you do need to have a good understanding of the technical importance of these descriptions, what your audience is looking for and what is most likely to encourage a click-through.

Here is a quick and easy guide to writing effective, enticing Meta descriptions:

  1. Use call-to-actions: In essence, your Meta description is a mini sales pitch to encourage users to visit your website. Thus, when writing your Meta descriptions, be sure to tell the person what to expect from the page when they click on the link. Try starting your Meta description with words such as 'learn', 'find out', 'discover' and so on.
  1. Be clear and concise: The last thing that you want is for users to be bouncing off your site once they have clicked on your link. Be straightforward in your Meta description as to what the user can expect on the page. Include a simple preview of the page’s content and entice them to read on and find out more by clicking.

     3. Remember your character limit: The general rule is not to go over 155 characters. If you are not sure about how well your description will fit within the 155 characters and stringent pixel limit, you can use this nifty Meta description tool to see what it will look like. Adhering to the character / pixel limit is important – because you don’t want to have a sentence not make sense because it has been cut off mid-word.

     4. Avoid quotation marks: Google will automatically truncate double quotation marks. If using quotation marks is absolutely necessary, then use single quotes rather than doubles to avoid truncation. If possible, avoid using any non-alphanumeric characters.

      5. Be clever with keywords: It is a good idea to include relevant keywords, your location and area of expertise in your Meta description, but be wary of keyword stuffing or else your page will appear spammy to Google and people may not think that you will be able to provide valuable content that is worth a click-through. Write as if you are talking to real people, not to Google bots.

      6. Create unique descriptions: And do so for each one of your website’s pages. Duplicated Meta descriptions for each page will hurt your rankings as Google will see it as the same piece of content overall. Rather write descriptions unique to each one of your website’s pages.

Writing good Meta descriptions is important for your website traffic more so than it is important for SEO. But remember – what is the use of getting good search engine rankings if no one is going to click through to your website anyway?

If you struggle with writing Meta descriptions, and are still figuring out exactly what SEO is, you’ve come to the right place! We can help you with all of your onsite and offsite search engine optimisation, search engine rankings, and, yes – your Meta descriptions too. Contact us today.