You’ve probably heard it a hundred times: When it comes to creating content for search engine optimization (SEO), it’s crucial that you always write for the user FIRST and the search engines second. This couldn’t be more true than when it comes to writing compelling and action-oriented meta descriptions for your individual web pages.
A well-written meta description can give your site an advantage in search engine results pages (SERPs), resulting in more click-throughs to your site where you have more chances to convert that visitor into a lead or new customer.
Here’s a look at 6 ways you can begin to craft better meta descriptions for your website that will rock the SERPs – resulting in more click-throughs to your site.
1. Keep It To 155 Characters or Less
According to our friends at SEOmoz, the guideline for meta description character length is 150-160 characters. I personally aim for 155 characters or less. This can prove to be a real challenge when trying to write the perfect description for certain web pages but going over this character limit results in having your description cut off in the SERP. Avoid these awkward mid-sentence breaks (as shown here) in your description by forcing yourself to stay within this character limit. That way you can present a complete statement that inspires the user to click.
2. Concisely Articulate Your Value Proposition
For every meta description you write you need to be mindful of what the user will be thinking: “Yeah, but, what’s in it for me?” This is where your specific value proposition comes into play and should be utilized to clearly articulate what specifically you have to offer in relation to the particular service or product you’re writing a page description for.
To ensure your value proposition is unique and stands out from your competition, take the time to do some side-by-side comparisons to evaluate what they’re saying in their page descriptions. And then, write a better one! SEOmoz is getting a lot of love from me in this post, but I have to highlight their home page meta description since it encapsulates perfectly what I’ve outlined here.
3. Make It Welcoming
Per my point to always write for the user first and not the search engines, the reason is to make your web copy and meta descriptions inviting rather than awkward. Stringing together numerous keyword phrases with little or no personality won’t get you very far in the SERPs, even if you do rank in the top 3 results for the phrase(s) you’re targeting.
As John Clark from Rival IQ put it in his latest post, (Is Your Meta Description Working As Hard As Your Tagline?), evaluate whether your meta description is a friendly doorman or an angry bouncer. Your goal should be to write with a warm tone that welcomes the user to enter your virtual front door.
4. Incorporate A Call-to-Action or Offer
Your website’s meta description is essentially an ad in the SERPs, especially if you’re ranking in the top positions just below the paid ads. So, make it work for you! Incorporating a short call-to-action (CTA) or offer at the end of your meta description is a great way to boost your click-through rate and be your answer to standing out from your competition. Here’s a look at what Salesforce uses in their description.
5. Bust Out Some Name Dropping
For certain industries, dropping some names of clients, vendors, brands or certifications that your company is associated with can make a compelling case for your qualifications and credibility. Don’t go crazy and don’t forget the other tips outlined in this post, but if you’re crafty enough to make it work within your allotted character limit go for it!
6. Test, Monitor & Adapt
With anything that you do online associated with your website and marketing efforts, it’s key that you test, monitor and adapt your activities based on our ability as marketers to track what’s working and what’s not. This goes for your SEO activities and your meta descriptions too. Don’t be afraid to experiment a little to see what works best for your website and industry. If one of the aforementioed tips does wonders for you, try doing more of it for other pages on your site.
The search world is continously changing but one thing is constant: Websites with quality content that meet the needs of those searching for that content, and that provide a user-friendly experience, will win in the SERPs. This all starts with your meta descriptions which is essentially the welcome mat to your site’s virtual doorway. Be sure to incorporate these tips to ensure you’re presenting the best first impression you can.
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