Optimizing your website for the search engines is an important step in boosting traffic, page views and search rank. In Part I of this on-page optimization series, I explained how to write effective title tags. This post will outline how to write meta descriptions.
What is a Meta Description?
A meta description is the text that is displayed in search results which entices users to click through to the page. This description is not visible on the website itself, only in the code and in the search results. Meta descriptions tell searchers what the web page offers to the reader. This information is displayed by search engines as a snippet alongside your content link in search results.
Tips for Creating Effective Meta Descriptions that “Win the Click”:
- Compelling – Your meta description should be concise and compelling enough to entice users to click on your result. Put your copy writing skills to work!
- 150 Characters – Meta descriptions should ideally be around 150 characters. Search engines generally will truncate the rest and it cannot be viewed by readers. Spaces, commas and semi colons count as a character.
- Keyword-Rich – It’s generally best to use the keyword phrase once in the meta description (twice if it makes sense and reads naturally). Do not over stuff your meta description with keyword phrases.
- Accurate – Make sure that the description accurately describes the page. Inaccurate descriptions (e.g. overly general, of tangential relevance) of your content may invite clicks from readers who will be disappointed when they learn that the content covers. Inaccurate meta descriptions can turn away users and damage your credibility.
- Unique – each meta description on your site should be unique(no duplicate descriptions).
Example Meta Description for Law Firm Home Page:
Below is an ideal meta description:
For a free consultation with the Ventura County attorneys at the Brown Valley Law Group, call us today at 805-555-0555.
If you follow the steps above, your meta descriptions will “win the click” and draw more users to your web pages.