What is a meta description?
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.
Why is a meta description important?
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
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
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).
Include a call-to-action
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).
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