WHY

  • Describes the page content
  • Contains a call to action
  • Explains the benefit of visiting

The Meta Description should be faithful to the content and theme of the page it links to.
Where possible, it tells the viewer of your Google search result what you want them to do, and ideally, also how they could benefit from clicking through to your website.

HOW

The ideal Meta Description contains keywords, a call to action & benefit statement.

This is basically like a piece of advertising copy. If possible, it should contain a benefit statement, a call to action, and also be worded like a summary of what the searcher might find on your webpage should they click on the search result. Sometimes you can’t achieve all three. All Meta Descriptions in your site should be unique, and don’t need to contain your domain name. There are very specific constraints to the number of characters that are worth putting in the Meta Descriptions.

The Meta Description How-To

Meta descriptions are Search Engine’s free advertising for your business. They are the Black texts that come through to Google’s SERPs.

To add a Meta Description to your page, most CMS managed website will have some way of adding text into a box that assigns into the Meta Description section of your page code. The description itself is not visible to your website visitors, but it’s the key bit of text that could tempt them to visit you in the first place. This noted, it should contain a reason for them to visit, by perhaps stating a benefit for them, perhpas add an enticement too, and preferrably also contain keywords to add to your exposure in SERPs.

The best meta descriptions I have seen hit on all three aspects from above.

Keep in mind, a great meta description is one that gets the visitor to click on the link to your website, but it MUST be on topic and demonstrate what it is you offer! Meta descriptions that are inaccurate or promise something that you can’t or don’t offer is a sure-fire way to get a bounce. A bounce is when someone visits your site but leaves again within seconds of arriving. This sometimes happens when the info shown in the SERPs was not backed up with content on your page when they got there, or your page had something about it that put them off, or maybe your page loaded way too slowly.

If your website is there just as a point of contact for your potential client, then keep this in mind: if your meta description is really great, and contains a contact phone number, then you may actually get conversions before visitors even get to your site! They may find your offer stated in the meta, along with your phone number and call you without ever even seeing your website. How’s that for a great meta?!

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Things to Note

Meta descriptions can be any length in theory, but only 156 characters will render into Google’s SERPs. Any words that cross the line after character 156 will be appended as “…” at the end of the black text (you have probably seen this without realising why).

Great metas contain at least 2 out of the following four points:

1. Keywords
2. Value proposition(s)
3. Benefit statement(s)
4. Call to action

Great metas must be on-topic, and clearly demonstrate what the page it refers to has on offer.

You don’t need to state your domain name in the meta description unless your domain name is also a keyword.

The perfect meta is one that converts the visitors into a customer without even getting the customer to visit the website. This will not show up in your website stats and cannot be measured unless you survey your customer.

Not all pages in your website have to have meta descriptions. Search engines will automatically draw out content from your page to show in the meta description space if you leave it blank in your site code. Writing metas can be time consuming, but generally worthwhile for key pages. Don’t let the Google robots write your ads for you!

Meta descriptions are your visitor’s first view of your website. Muck up here and there’s less chance they will visit.

The Meta Description shows as the black text in Google search results pages:

search-result