How To Use the Right Meta Descriptions To Increase SEO Ranking
Every SEO agency can tell you that your website’s appearance on search engine results pages (SERPs) influences your click-through rate. Having the right meta description can make a big difference in how well your content ranks on search engines.
Here are nine tips on correctly using meta descriptions for the best search engine optimization (SEO):
- Keep it short and to the point
- Make it engaging for readers
- Avoid duplicate descriptions
- Write compelling copy
- Create accurate descriptions
- Reach your local community
- Add details with rich snippets
- Think about your customers
- Write using the active voice
There’s a lot to discuss, so get ready to take notes.
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1. Keep It Short and to the Point
You might think that a lengthy snippet gives you the best chance of attracting website visitors. After all, people who know more about your content are probably more convinced to check it out, right? In truth, you should limit your meta description to optimize it for SEO.
SERPs can display only a certain number of characters to ensure that all page entries have space. Ideally, limit your title length to 155 characters at most. Take it as a challenge to write as concisely as possible.
Stick to what potential readers need to know and get right to the point.
2. Make It Engaging for Readers
When writing meta descriptions, you want to immediately catch attention. Let searchers know that your content matches their search intent.
You can achieve this in the following ways:
- Include your target keyword in your meta description in a natural manner.
- Use benefit-rich language and tell them how your content can help them.
- Do not force or stuff keywords. It makes your snippet sound mechanical.
- Be conversational. Personalize how you write your meta descriptions.
- Add a call-to-action so readers know what they can expect from your content.
3. Avoid Duplicate Descriptions
It takes time and effort to write meta descriptions that improve your SEO rank. It can become taxing when you take into account that each page you write a meta description for must have a unique and customized one.
On the bright side, you are not required to write a meta description for every single page on your website. Still, you should aim to have one for your most important content, at the very least. The key takeaway is to not recycle your meta descriptions between pages; that’s just bad SEO.
4. Write Compelling Ad Copy
As mentioned above, whatever you write should be engaging for your target audience. Approaching this in a similar way to creating ad copy helps you with that.
For example, an optimized snippet for a travel site article on Oregon ski resorts might look something like this: “5 Best Oregon Ski Resorts You Should Visit in 2022.”
Meanwhile, an effective meta description would be, “No winter plans? Why not tour around Oregon’s ski resorts? Plan your trip now with our detailed map of all the best places to visit.“
5. Create Accurate Descriptions
A meta description is supposed to help searchers find the right websites. So, the best practice is to write about your content accurately. What is your content about, and how can it help your audience?
This is a good opportunity to mention that meta descriptions are not the same as snippets. While your snippet can display whatever you wrote, this is not a guarantee.
If search engines determine that your meta description is inaccurate or irrelevant to your page’s contents, it instead automatically generates one based on available information.
6. Reach Your Local Community
An SEO tip for small businesses is to use local keywords when creating content. It helps the right people find your business and adds context to your website posts. Local keywords also help your web pages stand out on SERPs because users can tell right away if they apply to them.
Of course, this only works if your content is made for local SEO. Otherwise, adding local keywords might cause your meta description to become confusing and irrelevant. Consistency and cohesion are vital for getting your SEO rank up.
7. Add Details With Rich Snippets
Comments help your site's SEO by turning leads into customers. Their power and utility cannot be understated. For example, a good review from a customer can persuade someone else to become a customer as well.
Think what value it adds to your snippets. You can supplement your meta description by adding user comments as social proof. To do this, you need to create rich snippets through metadata.
If you’re not familiar with this, consider hiring an experienced SEO agency to help you create customized snippets for your website.
8. Think About Your Customers
How users respond to content depends on the customer journey map, which means that perceptions of your brand will vary from person to person. For instance, someone unaware of your website might prefer more personalized and compelling snippets.
Mapping your customer’s search journey offers insight into what and how you should approach content creation, which influences the best way to write a meta description. Familiarize yourself with the stages of your customers’ journeys and modify your process accordingly.
9. Write Using the Active Voice
One of your goals with meta descriptions is to convince users that you can help them solve their problems. Using the active voice, rather than the passive voice, allows you to be more persuasive because you put your audience in the position of the doer.
For example, “Learn how to flip houses with our step-by-step guide,” is more compelling than, “Houses are renovated in several phases that require different skills.” While potential visitors might overlook the latter, the former invites readers to take tangible steps to accomplish a task.
Meta descriptions are an essential part of SEO because they influence first impressions of your content on SERPs. By writing a convincing snippet entry, you can convert searchers into users. Use the nine suggestions above to guide your unique take on writing meta descriptions.
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