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  • Marc Primo Warren

The importance of nailing your meta-descriptions for better SEO

This is an article ‘The importance of nailing your meta-descriptions for better SEO’ by Marc Primo Warren

Every marketer has their formula for meta descriptions, the same way every salesperson has their scripted pitch when selling the proverbial pen. But everyone can surely agree that meta descriptions are an essential component of search engine optimization (SEO) and, in many ways, a critical aspect of your website's search engine ranking. Those often-ignored brief summaries under your page titles in search results are musts in every serious marketing campaign. How you nail them is an entirely different story.

First, let's find out the purpose of meta descriptions. These blocks of coded text primarily give users who visit your landing pages a quick idea of what they are about to consume in terms of content or other important details you want to share. Though roughly only 155 characters to play with, meta descriptions allow brands to persuade potential customers to take action and click for results.

Below, we'll discuss the characteristics of a good meta description and why it's crucial for SEO. Mastering these tips can help you develop the right formula to engage your target audiences and optimize your supplementary strategies for better website visibility on Google.

Defining meta descriptions

In more technical terms, a meta description is an HTML tag set for a post or page on your website to share more details with your page's visitors. Often, they are short summaries of your landing pages' contents and designed to help search engine users understand what they can expect if they read through the entire pages. In other words, meta descriptions are used by content specialists and digital marketers to generate more click-throughs from search engines simply by convincing users that their landing pages offer the best solutions and answers to what users are searching for.

While Google had previously stated that there is no direct SEO benefit from meta descriptions, as they don't use it in their ranking algorithm, they can still help you achieve better online traction. One indirect benefit you gain from using meta descriptions is how Google's algorithms are programmed to track click-through rates (CTR) and determine whether your landing pages are promising results for specific users' search intent. If more people click on your result, the search engine's algorithms will consider you a reliable website and consequently move you higher in its rankings.

With that, the most critical part in using meta descriptions is how you can optimize it as much as you would your post or blog titles. There's no guarantee that Google will display the descriptions, but its algorithms can identify high-quality descriptions that can show in search results for better search traffic. Either way, your best bet is to keep your meta descriptions short. That way, they won't be truncated once search engines decide to show them.

Nailing your meta description

We've discussed how you only have around 155 characters to engage your target users via your meta descriptions. However, there will be times when the proper length will depend on the message your brand wants to convey. Regardless of how short or long you draft your descriptions, make them concise and easy to understand while not taking up too much space as much as possible.

Grammar-wise, you'd want to make your descriptions actionable and inviting so that users would like to click your links to your landing pages. Write it in an active voice to address users directly and aim for snappy call-to-action (CTA) statements. Remember, users will read through these descriptions to know what they can expect to find on your page. So, make them simple and engaging as much as possible.

Speaking of CTAs, draft them so they can function as your sales text. Remember when we discussed how every salesperson has a pitch? CTAs should be yours when it comes to meta descriptions. Try including common snippets such as "Learn more," "Get it now," or "Try for free." These invitations will encourage users to click on your result, according to 69.2% of surveyed users.

Diving deeper into meta descriptions

As in any SEO endeavor, focus keywords are critical in hitting the gold mine. If a user's search keyword matches a part of the text in your meta description, Google will likely be inclined to use it and highlight it in the search results. Having your website at the top of the ranks makes the link to your site even more inviting to users looking for specific solutions or answers to their queries and interests. Google might even highlight synonyms and exact keyword matches to make your result stand out among the rest.

One way to approach how you identify performing keywords is by showing specifications wherever possible on your content. For example, you're selling a product in your Shopify online store and aiming at tech-savvy users. Then you'd want to focus on the technical specs of a product or typical terminology and slang that most of your audiences frequently use.

Other ways to strike the right keywords are by including brand manufacturers, SKU, price, etc., in your descriptions. The bottom line is that if a user is specifically looking for a particular product, then you've got most of the keywords covered already or at least appear in ‘people also ask what’ suggestions.

Double-check your strategies

Many might overlook the importance of meta descriptions, but they play a crucial role in every SEO campaign. Always be unique with every draft, even if you have to include synonymous keywords or brand details for each page on a website. Avoiding potential duplicated content can often negatively impact your search engine rankings.

Try using a keyword research tool to determine which relevant keywords have high volume but low competition, and start attracting the right audience using those both in your content and meta descriptions. Don't refrain from using LSI keywords, as Google's AI is smart enough to recognize them.

Lastly, add some keyword-optimized slugs to your links to increase your website's CTR, search engine ranking, and visibility.

Giving your meta descriptions the attention they deserve can help ensure your landing pages' success in alluring potential customers. Follow these simple tips and see how you can improve your online traction and shoot up to the top of the search results rankings.

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