Effective meta descriptions can help to boost your search engine rankings and increase your click-through rates. Optimising meta descriptions is part of on-site SEO (search engine optimisation).
Writing meta descriptions is part and parcel of SEO copywriting. If you’re not putting in enough effort to write effective meta descriptions that drive traffic to your website, you could be losing out on potential leads and customers.
What is a meta description?
A meta description is a short snippet of up to 160 characters which summarizes the content on your webpage.
It appears below the page title and URL in search results. When users type in a keyword or phrase in a search engine, words that match that search term in your meta description will usually appear in bold in the search results.
The meta description is embedded as a meta tag in the HTML code of a webpage so that it can tell your search engine what your webpage is all about.
The HTML meta tag usually looks like this:
<meta name=”description” content=”Description about the content on your webpage of up to 160 characters.” />
Why do meta descriptions matter?
A meta description indirectly acts as a sales pitch for your website. Copywriting a meta description effectively can help your website in the following ways.
Rank well on search engine results pages. A relevant and detailed meta description which contains the keywords or phrases matching what users are searching for is more likely to end up at the top of search engine results pages.
Get more click-throughs. A convincing meta description will encourage clicks and drive traffic to your website. Indirectly, higher click-through-rates can also increase your SEO.
Increase conversions. An eye-catching meta description not only gets you more clicks, but also increases your chances of converting your visitors into leads or revenue-generating customers.
Helps in brand positioning. An effective meta description can help to differentiate your business or service from your competitors. If your competitor does not have a meta description but you do, this helps your website stand out in search results and builds credibility.
For more insights, watch this Google Webmasters video titled “How much time should I spend on Meta Tags and which ones matter.”
Do you really need to write unique meta descriptions for each webpage?
It’s essential to have a meta description for your home page and other “money-making” or “revenue-generating” pages. These are the pages that will help you to get leads, drive conversions or increase sales.
But it’s probably not necessary to write a unique meta description for every single webpage. More importantly, you should not have duplicate meta descriptions.
In short, do write meta descriptions for the pages that really matter.
This Google Webmaster video sums it up quite nicely.
Stay tuned for our next blog post on how to write effective meta descriptions.