When a user searches for something and the results appear on the search engine results page (SERP), there is a little snippet of information below the link that gives them an idea about what will be on the page that follows. This is called the meta description. Usually only a few characters long, and not bolded like the link itself, it is often overlooked. How to do them properly might seem to be a lost art, but the thing is, when they are done properly they can result in a dramatic rise in clickthroughs.
Follow these tips on how to write your meta descriptions to get clicks:
Before we get into the nitty gritty, it is important to know a few basic things about the meta description. First, you want to keep yours to around 140 characters. Not only will Google use ellipses where it cuts off, having one that is neat and tidy is going to look a lot nicer to prospective customers. Google bolds matching keywords in the description as well so keep that in mind.
Your sales pitch
The definition of a meta description is basically “a summary about the content of your page.” If you think of it this way, then your links are not going to see a lot of clicks. How you really should view them is as a sales pitch – something that spurs the reader to click the button. You need to persuade them to come to your page. Let’s look at some of the most effective elements of a great sales pitch:
- Describe basic details – This goes without saying. If you are in the business of breeding dogs, then let people know which breeds you specialize in. If it is local, then be sure to tell people where you are. Let people know what awaits them on the other side.
- Describe the benefits – People too often get caught up on describing the product. This is a big mistake. Instead, describe the benefits. A successful SEO company should never write “we work with keywords, content, and other on-page factors to rank you on search engines.” Instead, sell the benefits. “We use in-depth analysis to take your company to the top of Google, drive traffic, and help you beat out all of your competition” is much better.
- The call to action – Do you know why every awesome action movie has a great speech? Because people don’t do things unless people push them to. Your call to action needs verbs that get people moving. Use words like click, try, buy, browse, see, or learn. It depends on what your preference is.
Remember that you are writing for people
SEO is now more about writing for people than it is for search engines. Pretend Google isn’t even looking. Incorporate humor, plays on words, or exciting language that might get people to click. Ever wonder why screenwriters incorporate so much humor into scripts? It keeps people engaged. The more excited they get about your snippet, the more likely they are to click.
Your goal is to get people to see your name in the results, and to click through to your page. Once there, you can turn them in to a customer. Getting them there is the hard part, though. With a good snippet of info underneath your link, you will see your traffic increase. Remember how to write a meta description that gets clicks, and reap the benefits.