digital marketing
By Carrie-ann | Jun 14, 2017 | Search Engine Optimisation

How to write meta descriptions for SEO

Meta descriptions are an important part of SEO marketing, but many businesses don’t understand how to use them to their advantage. This means that the businesses are losing out on a wider outreach and more customers.

If you want to learn more about meta descriptions you’re in the right place. Here is a full guide to writing meta descriptions for SEO, including more information about what meta tags are and an example of a good meta tag.

Did you know: What are meta tags?
Meta tags provide search engines with information that they use to index and rank your page. A good meta description will provide both search engines and human users with useful information about the web page.

On a more technical note, meta tags are HTML elements. There are other HTML elements that search engines use to rank websites, such as the title tag, subheadings, alt image tags and keywords.

Writing an SEO-friendly meta description
There are lots of things to consider when it comes to writing an SEO friendly meta description, and each aspect is equally as important as the next. Here is a useful meta description checklist that you can use to make sure that all of your meta descriptions are SEO friendly.

Use relevant keywords
Make sure that any relevant keywords are included in the meta description. This gives search engines more information about your website so it is easier to rank.

Use the description as an advertising opportunity
Treat the meta description as an advertising opportunity for that web page. It is the only snippet of the website that is seen by users before they click through, so it should be useful, intriguing and interesting. This will improve your SEO ranking as search engines track how many users click through to your website. This means that the more people click on the web page, the higher your website will rank on Google.

Write a compelling description
Write interesting, compelling content. Users won’t click on your website if the meta description is filled with keywords to the point that the content no longer makes sense.

Keep the meta description between 135 and 160 characters
This is because Google won’t display any extra characters so there is no point in including them. Instead, try to write something compelling that fits within 160 characters. It can also be useful to make sure that the keywords are near the beginning of the meta description.

Do not copy another website’s meta description
Search engines will push duplicate content down the search engine results page as the search engines determine that the page isn’t original or useful. It is much better to create an original description that makes the web page seem more unique.

An example of a good meta description
For instance, here is a good example of a meta description for an article about cheap children’s clothes; “It can be tough to find cheap children’s clothes online. Sometimes the clothes look great on the website, but when they arrive they look cheap and poorly made.” This is a good description as it includes the relevant keyword, it is shorter than 160 characters and it gives users an insight into the article.