More than 75% of adult consumers shop online in 2022. A big aspect of drawing that business is the language you use in your search listings.
A good meta description can set your page apart, and a bad one can set you back a good deal. Understanding how to write a good meta description is an essential SEO skill, especially if you’re doing your digital marketing alone.
We’re going to look at the ins and outs of the SEO meta description today, giving you some insight on how to write one. We hope the ideas below give you some confidence the next time you sit down to tune up your SEO.
Let’s get started.
First Things First: What’s A Meta Description?
The meta description is a section of text that appears below your primary link in a search engine listing. The user sees the primary link, then looks below and reads the fine print to see if the article will meet their needs.
So, the purpose of the meta description is to provide information that’s more specific than the information in your title. It’s where users look when they’re considering your site, but they’re not sure how relevant it will be to their search.
This makes meta description very important simply from a user-experience perspective. If you don’t do a good job with it, people might opt for one of your competitors instead. Further, the meta description holds a really important role in SEO.
The nature of your meta description is an indication of relevance to the search engine algorithm. It gives the algorithm some key information about the nature of the content and where it should get ranked.
There are about 200 other factors that might be a little more important, however, so the SEO value of a good meta description comes as a little bonus. The primary goal is to make the description enticing and readable for users.
Let’s see how you can do that.
How to Write a Good Meta Description
The first thing to think about when writing the meta description is the character count. You’re seriously limited when it comes to the number of characters you can use in this description.
You’ll often see meta descriptions written as though there’s unlimited room to roam. These are the ones that start and quickly cut off mid-sentence.
You have 160 characters to work with. After that number, the writing just falls off the page. Here’s an example of a 160-character meta description:
“If your feet hurt, you might need shoe inserts. Inserts are a great way to address support issues and pain. Learn more about how to treat your foot pain here.”
Generally speaking, 160 characters come out to around 3 short sentences. It’s very frustrating and difficult to try and count the characters yourself, especially as you’re writing. That’s why it’s important to have a tool like the one on this website that can help you count characters.
Within the “3 sentences, 160-character” framework, you have to try and make the writing enticing. Let’s dive into each of the three sentences and see how to use them effectively.
Sentence One: Indication of Relevance
The first sentence tells the reader whether or not they’re interested. It just sets the context for the entire article and lets readers know whether this is the type of subject matter they’re looking for.
If your content is about the troubles of pet ownership, you might make the first sentence of the meta description “Pet ownership can be bittersweet.” You. might also say something like, “You love your pet, but ownership can be challenging.”
Or, say that your content is about interior design tips. The first sentence of the description could be “We all need a little help with interior design.” You can use this sentence to incorporate a little personality as well.
Nobody wants to click on something that says “this article is about interior design” or “this is an article with tips.” Use a little flair and make it personal!
Sentence Two: The Solution
Every time someone makes a search, they have a question. This isn’t always a question in the sense that it ends with a question mark, but there’s always a need that needs to be met.
If they already had the answer or met their need, the user wouldn’t need to make a keyword search. The first sentence of the meta description lets them know that they’re in the right place.
The second sentence lets them know that there’s an answer to their question. For example, if our first sentence was “Pet ownership can be bittersweet sometimes,” our second sentence could be “That said, it gets easier with the help of a good trainer.”
We’re indicating that there’s a solution, and the fact that we’re talking about it implies that more information is included in the article. You don’t necessarily want to give the full solution within the description, though. Otherwise, the reader wouldn’t have a reason to click.
For example, the following meta description might not be the best:
“Wondering how many birds there are? There are 2,506 known birds. That’s the exact number of known birds.” You have to draw the user to click on your article and read your content; otherwise, you don’t see any of the SEO benefits.
Sentence Three: The Call to Action
The final sentence is the easiest one to create. You just need to say that you’ve got the information they’re looking for.
Look at this completed meta description:
“Pet ownership can be bittersweet sometimes. That said, it gets easier with the help of a good trainer. Find great trainers here.”
“Find great trainers here” implores the reader to visit the site and solve their problem. If you can fit all three of those elements into a 160-character meta description, you’ll have an excellent link!
If you’re not interested in managing the process yourself, you could always have an expert with an SEO agency handle the optimization process.
Want to Learn More About SEO?
We hope our look at how to write a good meta description was useful to you. There’s a lot more to learn, though. We’re here to help.
Explore our site for more ideas on how to optimize your site, write compelling web copy, and a whole lot more.