Seven things you need to know about meta descriptions in 2021

meta description best practices
Date
8 Oct 2021

Contents:

  1. What is a meta description?
  2. The importance of a good meta description and how this impacts CTR%
  3. How to write a compelling and enticing meta description
  4. What’s the perfect meta description length?
  5. What a perfect meta description looks like and how to emulate this
  6. How to enhance SEO snippets using schema markup
  7. What NOT to do when writing meta descriptions

What is a meta description?

A meta description is an HTML tag, summarising the contents of your page for the benefit of users who arrive via search engine. With the right SEO technical ‘know how’, and a bit of luck from Google, you’ll hopefully begin reaping the rewards in the welcomed form of highly targeted organic traffic. This is what our meta description looks like when you do a Google search for Cariad Marketing.

Meta Descriptions

Each web page has its own unique meta tag and its HTML code will look something like this:

<meta name=”description” content=”We lay out in plain and simple English how to grow your website traffic. Read about how to increase digital web design traffic here.” />

The importance of a well written meta tag

This metadata provides a snippet of text (hopefully rich in SEO!), to be indexed by Google and other search engines, such as Bing.com. The end goal, of course, is to rank 1st in the SERP listings.

A carefully crafted, concise and impactful meta description has the potential to hugely influence the success of your website. Why? Simple…

Improve CTR%

Meta descriptions serve as an “organic ad” with the sole purpose of influencing a person’s decision to click onto your website and not the competition’s.

While Google has often suggested there is no direct correlation between meta descriptions and improved SERP results – they do harness the ability to drastically improve ‘Click Through Rate’ (CTR%).

Think about it! Short, snappy snippets are a means of enticing the user in and encouraging them to take a chance on YOU. All your website’s visitors are potential consumers before anything else – so think about the type of questions that they want to be answered before they click on your website?

How to write a compelling meta description

First things first, include a Call To Action (CTA) in your meta tag. By using words like “Learn More” or “Shop Now”, you’ll entice users and compel them to click on your website (ultimately this will lead to a higher CTR%).

Ruminating on the “value” of a particular keyword or phrase will be a useful indicator of how to begin writing each meta description – placing the focus keyword at the start will accentuate the significance of it.

By achieving this you’ll have placed yourself in a better stead for overcoming the infamous Google Algorithm.

What’s the perfect meta description length?

Google typically truncates SEO snippets to 155-160 characters. So keep that in mind when writing your meta description. As a general rule of thumb, it should be anywhere between 155-160 characters long. But don’t just take my word for it.

Meta Descriptions Length

Now just because Google has a character limit, this doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice on quality. In fact, so-called “keyword stuffing” is generally counterproductive.

To save time and avoid the mistakes we’ve all made… Here’s what NOT to do when writing your meta descriptions.

What does a ‘good’ meta description look like?

When it comes to creating the ideal meta tag, you first need to place yourself in your potential customers’ shoes. What do they want? What do they need? What sort of jargon would they use? DON’T be overzealous in your approach, try to be as natural as possible!

First and foremost your writing needs to resonate closely with the people you wish to attract. Going back to the idea of metadata serving as a “shop-window” for potential readers – what solution are you trying to provide? For example:

Meta Description Example

Cariad Marketing provides a solution to business owners wishing to take the next steps in establishing an online presence. The solution? SEO expertise and website design packages.

Use schema markup to enhance your snippet

What is schema markup? Schema markup, also known as structured data, is the language of search engines alike – using a unique semantic vocabulary. This code makes it easier for Google Search Engine to better understand your content and it’s intent.

Google’s search engine results often display stars next to certain listings and it’s a nifty trick for those of you who wish to enrich your featured snippet further. Here’s what the basic aggregate rating schema code will look like:

Schema Code

To find out how you can actually apply this aggregate rating schema markup, click here.

Don’t duplicate your meta description tags

When writing a meta description tag, be creative and avoid using the same keywords across multiple site pages. Keep it fresh and continue to innovate.

“Keyword-cannibalisation” occurs when you have too many identical or similar keywords spread throughout the content on your website. Trust me when I say this is NOT something you want to be dealing with – especially when time is of the essence!

If you have any further questions regarding the importance of meta descriptions for SEO, get in touch or call us on 01992 582 824 for a chat.

AUTHOR:

Rory Welch

Rory is our award-winning apprentice, though he’s now fully trained and our SEO Assistant. Out of work, he’s usually in the gym to counteract the effects of the number of crumpets he eats every week...

More about me

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