A decade ago, your page’s meta description was an incredibly important ranking factor that Google used to rank pages. Unfortunately, this led to people stuffing their meta descriptions with keywords making them unreadable and of no use. Now they aren’t a ranking factor, but they are still an important part of Google. That’s because Google still displays your page’s meta description on results pages. The new role of the meta description is to persuade people to click on your page.
The more persuasive your meta description is the more people that will visit your page. Even if you are 4th on Google, a good meta description can mean more people click on your link than the first result. There’s a second, compounding factor, too. Because Google uses SERP click-through rates as a ranking factor, the more people clicking on your link, the better the chances of getting a higher ranking in the future. As you can see, it’s very important to know how to write great descriptions.
5 tips for the best meta descriptions
Get to the point
Your meta description shouldn’t really be longer than 155 characters. That’s the most Google will typically show on a results page. On some devices, like mobile, that number can be even smaller. That means you have little room to ramble on. Instead, get straight to the point and make sure you get all your key points in those 155 characters.
Give a command
If you’ve ever written a call to action for your website, your meta description should be very similar. It’s not enough to tell the user what’s on your page, you need to give them a little nudge to click. Phrases like “find out more” and “try for free” are great endings to your meta description.
Get the keyword in there
Your meta description must contain your page’s focus keyword. Not only will Google make it bold (and therefore make it more noticeable), the search engine will also be more inclined to use your own meta description rather than create their own.
Make sure you tease the content
You want to give users a taste of what they can find on the page but you don’t want to mislead them. So make sure that whatever you write in your meta description is a fair reflection of what is on the page itself. Otherwise, you could end up with high bounce rates — another factor that Google uses to rank websites.
Make it unique
All of your meta descriptions should be unique. Even if you have very similar pages and very similar page titles, the meta descriptions should all be unique. Otherwise, you are providing a poor user experience for users and for Google. If you think you may be tempted to re-use meta descriptions it is better to leave them blank, Doing so will mean that Google uses the content on your page to create its own.