How to Write a Good Meta Description That Gets You Traffic
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What is a meta description?

A meta description is a short summary of the content of a web page. Search engines include a meta description when it involves the keywords that are being searched. While meta descriptions are technically not a ranking factor, they do help users to know whether or not they should click on your page. Therefore, they are an effective part of SEO. It’s important to write a good meta description in order to get traffic to your pages.

Below is an example of a search for “digital keyboard”. The blue words, or “title tag”, are the title of the webpage. The sentence below is the meta description. As you can see, Google has shown the searched words (digital keyboard) in bold font.

Best Buy meta description

Why is a meta description important?

As we mentioned above, search engines don’t use meta descriptions in their ranking algorithm. The SEO benefit of a meta description is an indirect benefit and has to do with click-through-rate (CTR). Google uses click-through-rate (CTR) as one way of deciding whether your page is a good result. The more people click on your page, the more Google considers it a good result and moves it up the rankings. This means that optimizing your meta description is, indeed, important for SEO.

If you don’t write your own meta description, Google will automatically pull a description from the content of your page. Interestingly, even if you do write your own, it’s not guaranteed that your meta description will show up on Google. Google actually has the ability to change out your description for one that it thinks is more helpful. Still, writing a great meta description is worth the chance that it will show up! Check out this post to read about some of the reasons why Google may not show your description.

If you have a site full of hundreds of pages that currently do not have meta descriptions, don’t sweat. You don’t have to go back and write a description for every single page. Instead, choose the pages that get the most organic traffic from search engines, and focus on those.

Qualities of a good meta description

So, how exactly do you write a good meta description that drives traffic to your page?

First of all, aim to write a description that is around 155-160 characters. You want it long enough to be descriptive, but short enough to show up without getting cut off.

The goal of your meta description is to get readers to want to click on your title tag and visit your page. Your meta description should give them a compelling reason to do so. In order to do this, you’ll want to be clear about what you’re offering and why the reader should check it out. Your meta description should concisely explain what you are offering and how it will solve the searcher’s problem.

Homepage meta descriptions

Homepage meta descriptions are a bit trickier than product pages. This is because they are generally more broad. For home pages, you’ll want to repeatedly emphasize your brand. Think about what you do, your unique proposition, and why you’re the best. What makes you able to help customers, and how? How can you make their life better or solve their problem? When writing any meta description, focus on making it clear and avoiding complicated or confusing wording.

Here is an example of a homepage meta description from Tesla. Notice how in just one sentence, they describe what they do (transition the world to sustainable energy with electric cars), how they do it (solar and integrated solutions), and who they can help (both homes and businesses).

Tesla meta description

Include a call-to-action

Your meta description should let your reader know what to do next. A call-to-action (CTA) could be, “find out more”, “read our post”, “get it now”, or “try it free”. Use your meta description to sell your web page.

Notice this example from Wendy’s. The second sentence includes a clear CTA. They’re clearly directing the reader to look at the menu and latest deals. Besides a CTA, this meta description also portrays in just a few words what Wendy’s is about (fresh-made food) and how they can help you (by offering drive-thru or delivery).

Wendy's meta description

Write a good meta description and get more traffic!

While meta descriptions may look simple, the simplicity is often what makes them difficult to write. Describing what your page is about and how it can solve the reader’s problem in just a few words takes practice and thought. Focus on clear copy, and avoid cryptic or difficult sentences that may confuse your reader. Whenever possible, try to naturally include your focus keyword or keyphrase in your meta description.

How to write a good meta description:

  • Aim for around 155-160 characters
  • Concisely explain what you’re offering and how it solves a problem
  • Include a call-to-action
  • Keep it simple
  • Avoid cryptic copy
  • Include your focus keyword or keyphrase

Need help?

Writing a quality meta description is just one way to increase traffic to your site and indirectly benefit your SEO. At Lifedge, we’ve helped dozens of clients optimize their websites to attract more customers with high-quality digital marketing. We do this by providing high-quality web development, branding, graphics, and more. We want to help you clarify your message so that you can achieve success online. To book a free meeting, click here. For a free SEO assessment, fill out this form.

About the Author

Oscar Quesada

Oscar Quesada


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