How to Write Killer Meta Descriptions for SEO Success

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Meta descriptions are one of the most important pieces of SEO content on your website. They are the short snippets of text that appear under your website’s title in search engine results pages. They play a huge role in determining whether or not people will click through to your website from the search engine results page. Despite this, 25% of top-ranking pages don’t have a meta description!

That’s why in this blog post, I will explain what meta descriptions are and why they are so important for SEO. I will also provide some tips for writing killer meta descriptions that will increase traffic to your website!

What are meta descriptions?

Meta descriptions are brief snippets of text that provide a summary of a web page’s content. They usually appear under the website title in search engine results pages (SERPs). Meta descriptions should accurately and succinctly describe what a webpage is about and what potential visitors can expect to find on it.

Example of meta description
Example of a meta description.

Why are meta descriptions important for SEO?

Meta descriptions help search engines understand what your website is about and how relevant it is to the user’s query. When properly optimized, they improve your chances of appearing higher in the SERPs, thus increasing visibility and driving more traffic to your website. Additionally, well-crafted meta descriptions will entice users to click through from the SERP, leading to greater engagement and potentially more conversions.

Where and how do I add a meta description?

Meta descriptions are typically added to webpages as HTML meta tags in the <head> section of a website. Depending on your content management system (CMS) or website platform, you may be able to add meta descriptions from within the platform’s administrative dashboard. I personally use Yoast on WordPress to make editing metadata easy.

Meta description Yoast
Writing a meta description with Yoast.

What should the meta description include?

Next, let’s talk about how to write a meta description and best practices.

Include your main keyword to increase click-through rate

When writing a meta description, make sure to include your main keyword or phrase. This will help increase the likelihood of your website appearing higher in SERPs. Additionally, including keywords can also help users find what they’re looking for more effectively and entice them to click-through from the SERP.

Something to understand is that placing keywords in the meta description doesn’t directly impact organic rankings. Instead, it becomes bolded and potentially increases the click-through rate. The more clicks you get, the higher your page will rank.

Add a call to action

Including a call to action in your meta description can help increase the click-through rate, as it encourages and motivates potential visitors to take action. Examples of calls to action include: “Learn more,” “Discover,” and “Learn how.” Adjust it based on the exact page and its content.

Keep meta descriptions within 160 characters

When writing meta descriptions, make sure to keep them under 160 characters. Search engines may truncate meta descriptions that are longer, making it difficult for users to get a full understanding of what they can expect from your website. In fact, 40.61% of meta descriptions get shortened. That’s another reason I love Yoast. When I’m writing a meta description, it shows a progress bar to let me know if I’m in the right range.

Explain the benefit of visiting your page

In addition to including keywords and a call to action, make sure to include something that explains the benefit of visiting your website. For example, if you’re writing a meta description for a blog post about SEO tips, you might say something like “Discover 10 SEO tips that will help you improve your search engine rankings.” This gives users a reason to click your search results versus a competitor.

Add schema markup to create rich snippets

Another way to make your meta descriptions stand out is to add schema markup. This will create a rich snippet in the SERPs, which can help draw attention and increase click-through rate. Rich snippets show additional information such as ratings, customer reviews, prices, etc., along with the page title and description. You can use a plugin like Schema to apply schema markup to pages. Ensure that you learn about which schema we should apply to what types of pages, as you can be penalized for doing it incorrectly.

Examples of meta descriptions

Let’s check out meta description examples so you can learn from them.

The first is from HubSpot for their marketing strategy guide. It explains what a marketing strategy is and falls within the correct range to not be truncated.

Marketing strategy meta description

Next is a meta description from a college for finance courses it offers for students. It explains what the page is about, how long their programs are, and it also uses the main keyword, “finance courses.” which becomes bolded upon search.

Ontario college meta description

Lastly, we have a meta description from the SEO suite Ubersuggest. This is their Google Chrome extension page. It focuses on the benefits of use cases of their software, including that its free and helps you finding lucrative keyword data.

Meta description Ubersuggest

Final thoughts on how to write meta descriptions for SEO

Meta descriptions are essential for SEO, as they help search engines understand what your page is about and influence the click-through rate. When writing meta descriptions, make sure to include keywords, a call to action, a benefit of visiting your page, and schema markup.

Additionally, keep the description under 160 characters, so it’s not truncated in SERPs. With all of these tips, you’ll have killer meta descriptions that will help your website gain more visitors and better search engine rankings.

You can learn more about this topic and others in my SEO copywriting course.

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