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How to Improve Meta Descriptions

How to Improve Meta Descriptions

Are you correctly summarizing your page's content to draw in traffic? How you write the meta description for a web page will impact its rank on search engine result pages (SERPs). 

Follow Ross' top tips for writing the best meta descriptions to increase your page traffic and overall performance.

Meta Descriptions and Snippets

To start, let's cover the basics of meta descriptions and snippets. Meta description tags live in the backend of each web page. This description needs to include detailed information about the page and its contents. A meta description tag is a short, relevant summary of the page that informs and interests the user. It's like a pitch to convince the user that the page's contents answer their question. Meta description length has no limit; however, it may be truncated on the SERP as required, typically to fit the device width. By crafting a detailed summary for the meta description, you improve search engine optimization (SEO) and SERP ranking.

A snippet is a description or summary connected to the web page. These appear under the clickable page links on the SERP. This text provides the user with information so they can decide if they should click to visit the web page for more details. According to Google, "snippets are designed to emphasize and preview the page content that best relates to a user's specific search."

Snippet text pulls from the meta description or the page's body content. To improve the quality of the snippet displayed for your web pages, we recommend following Google's best practices for creating quality meta descriptions.

Bad Vs. Better Meta Descriptions

Last October, Google shared a guide on how to “control your snippets in search results.” They have now provided additional guidance regarding writing bad vs. better meta descriptions.

Your descriptions must be descriptive. Since meta descriptions don't appear on the page content, it's easy to forget to maintain the same quality as used on user-facing content. Another thing to avoid is stringing long lists of keywords together. The purpose of the meta description is to provide an informative summary of the page. Throwing a bunch of keywords together is unclear to the user and will not be chosen for the page's snippet. High-quality descriptions go a long way to improve the quality and quantity of your search traffic.

Some things you should avoid are:

  • Using a long string of keywords. Keywords will not paint an accurate picture of what the page is about.
  • Same description for every page. Identical or similar descriptions aren't helpful when individual pages appear in SERP.
  • Doesn't summarize the page. Make sure you are summarizing the page and not simply pulling a random sentence of text from the page content.
  • Too short. Avoid descriptions that are only a few words, as they won't mean much to the user.

Google's examples of how to build better meta descriptions include:

  • Be descriptive. Explain what the page is about. Include things like what your product is, product details, business hours, and your business location.
  • Use a specific snippet from the content. Instead of pulling a random sentence that does not make sense, choose copy that provides more detail and leads the user to click to learn more.
  • Summarize the page. Write a description that summarizes the whole page instead of one section.
  • Add specifics and details. Tell the user more about the service or product you sell. Giving key details can be the determining factor in choosing you over a competitor.

Build Better Meta Descriptions with Ross

Ross' expert digital team is here to help if you're unsure where to start. We'll recommend changes you can make to improve your meta descriptions and overall web page SEO. Notify us that you want to get the conversation started: Contact Us!