What is a Meta Description?
A Meta description is essentially a mini description of a website or page of a website that are shown on a search engine results page (SERPs). They can be used as preview snippets of a page allowing the searcher to read what a specific page is about before clicking through to the actual website. They aren’t meant to be long, elaborate descriptions, preferably around 150-160 characters, but more as an elevator pitch to draw in a user by reassuring them that the page they are about to click on is what they are looking for.
Why is a Meta Description Important?
While meta descriptions don’t play a huge role in search engine rankings they are still extremely important to include for your website. The more important role when dealing with meta descriptions is the traffic you get to your site by showing people exactly what they are looking for. By having a good meta description, your click-through-rates (CTR’s) can vastly improve. This is because this is your opportunity to essentially advertise content to searchers without them even needing to click-through to your site (although this is the main goal of the meta descriptions).
Use them to Leverage Your Site
Meta descriptions should also employ keywords strategically while not completely saturating the description with them. You don’t want to deter the customer, so being able to write compelling descriptions that also contain your target audience is optimal. If you don’t have a meta description, a search engine will try to pull a portion of the page automatically and this doesn’t always result in a description that makes sense. Think of meta descriptions as writing an ad for every single page of your site by using great messaging to capture the searcher and urge them to take action on your site.
For example, here is the meta description for webFEAT Complete. Remember, this is shown below the search result for our website. Meta Description: “webFEAT Complete is the experienced choice in Cincinnati for Website Design, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Social Media Management, and Hosting”
As you can see it describes what our company does as well as where we are located. This way a searcher can decide if this description fits what they are searching for and can then click-through or move on to another result.
Are your meta descriptions optimized for search? Do a test for yourself. Google your business and see if what the description says makes any sense for your business. You may be losing customers if it’s not up to par with what a searcher is trying to find. And you can’t afford to lose customers over something like a bad meta description.
Also published on Medium.