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How do I write a meta description for SEO?

For those approaching the task of writing a meta description for SEO, it might feel overwhelming at first.

However, mastering a meta description doesn’t need to be a complicated process, especially if you break it down into smaller steps.

Below, we will guide you through how to write a successful meta description so that you have the best chance at excelling in your chosen field.


What is a meta description?

First, it is important to define what a meta description is.

In technical terms, a meta description is an HTML tag found in the code of a website. This enables the user to edit a chunk of text that provides a summary of the website page.

A meta description is not visible on the page itself, but search engines can recognise one with a specific HTML code. The purpose of a meta description tag is to transfer knowledge to the user and to contextually rank the page for appropriate search terms and queries, so it is seen by searchers online.

Simply put, when there is a huge array of webpages out there, a meta description describes what content the page contains and what users can expect to see. It can be located on any web page by right-clicking on the page and choosing ‘view source’ or ‘view page source’.

Once a search engine identifies your meta description, it is used as a snippet in search results where it can be easily accessed by potential visitors. It has a functional quality for companies because it draws people in, influences user behaviour, and is an important aspect of search marketing.

Furthermore, the description tag allows you to add in more information in the form of a short sentence or a paragraph as opposed to a page title which may only contain a few words.

Moreover, most of the responsibility comes down to whoever is writing the meta description because the more clearly and correctly you describe your pages, the more likely people are to click on them.

There is also a difference between a meta description and a good meta description as a good one will be engaging while also providing sufficient details to give users a clear idea what to expect if they visit a particular page.


Do meta descriptions still matter?

Nowadays, the impact that meta descriptions have cannot be underestimated.

For example, they are crucial to help an page rank highly for a keyword  because search engines like Google will display the meta description as the summary of your page.

In many ways, a meta description is the first thing that people see when searching for your services. It can either create a great impression or a negative one depending on what you include in it.

In this sense, meta descriptions are as vital as title text because when optimised they can help increase the click-through rate of your organic search results.

This will in turn skyrocket the volume of people clicking and visiting your site, thus increasing traffic.

Ultimately, it can either encourage or, worse, dissuade users from making a first step to buying a product or service from your company.


What should my meta description be?

When writing a meta description, the best way to think about it is as a mini pitch.

Meta descriptions should be enticing and descriptive to persuade someone who is searching online to visit the page.

Holding back on details because you are afraid of writing the wrong thing can actually be counterproductive and result in users not clicking a link to your site.

Remember, they are on a mission to find information and it is your job to provide it.


Features to include

You should always write a meta description with your user in mind by thinking about what might make them click on the page.

Consider using a tone of voice that is consistent with your brand as it will also get them to trust in what you are offering.

In addition, try to integrate calls to action to inspire and motivate the user like ‘Buy’, ‘Download’, or ‘Contact Us’.


Recommended length

In terms of length, your meta description should be around 160 characters including spaces.

Although there is no official limit on how long a meta description should be, on search engines such as Google, the search result snippets are shortened as needed, typically to accommodate the device width.

It is never advisable to keep your meta descriptions too short as you could miss out on the opportunity to entice more users to click through to your site. On the other hand, if your meta descriptions are too long, they will be cut off, or not used at all by some search engines. This could mean important keywords or information will not be displayed in the search results, which is an outcome that you should strive to avoid.

You also need to consider what you are writing in the space you do have. For example, could you be more descriptive? Or are you overloading your meta description with too many details? Remember that your description should be succinct and informative, so you should aim to strike a balance between the two.


Don’t saturate with keywords

If you are in the early stages of constructing a website, it is important to conduct research prior to writing your meta description. Not only does this give you a good scope of the competition, but it should also help you when advertising your services.

By taking a look at other brands’ websites, you will be able to gauge what they are including in their page’s meta description, which should help you to construct your own.

Try to refine your search to those businesses that have similarities to yours so that you can gain a better understanding of what others in your field are doing.

For example, if you are writing a meta description for an e-commerce site, take a look at the websites of those offering similar products and services as yours.

In addition, your meta description should include a host of carefully-selected keywords, identified by appropriate research, directly related to what you want to rank for.

You should pinpoint exact phrases that you think users may relate to. However, your meta description should not be saturated with keywords as it can put off the searcher.


Present your meta description correctly

A lot of people tasked with writing a meta description falsely assume that the only factor that matters is its content.

However, the placement of keywords in your meta description is just as important. In fact, putting them close to the beginning should help them to show in the search results.

In every case, you should deter from listing a host of words separated by commas as this both fails to engage the user and neglects to reveal any useful information.

Remember, this is an introduction to your site for most users, so it is advised to take extra time to spend on this activity rather than rushing.


Avoid repetition

It is important to bear in mind that there are also a lot of meta descriptions out there.

Therefore, your description needs to stand out in this saturated landscape. One way you can do this is to avoid duplicating descriptions and to use a different meta description across pages to clearly outline what you want your user to know.

Although duplicated meta descriptions may not actively destroy the ranking of your website, repetitive meta descriptions are less likely to be used by search engines in their snippets.

Search engines like Google also encourage people to fill out meta descriptions on every page.

Making your meta description unique can also help the user to differentiate between two similar products or services at a glance, motivating them to go to the most relevant and useful page based on their search query.

Taking a look at some meta description examples can be extremely beneficial when learning how to write a meta description for SEO.


How do I write a meta description?

In this competitive landscape, there are a lot of people wondering how to write a meta description.

The basics of writing a good meta description is akin to writing advertisement copy. You will need to integrate researched and relevant, targeted keywords into your meta descriptions.

Furthermore, make sure when you are constructing your meta description you use the active voice to draw the reader in from a search result page.

Additionally, try to address the user directly when you are offering a solution or benefits.

You also should demonstrate value and demand attention from the user by ushering urgency through imperative language.

A meta description tag should generally inform and interest users with a short, relevant summary of what a particular page is about.

If you are struggling to construct a meta description, use your title tag as a starting point because your meta description should be an opportunity to expand on it.

If you are struggling with how to write a meta description, it is advisable to take a look at good meta description examples so that you can have a better understanding of what to expect.

Remember that the purpose of a meta description is to offer the user a summary of the content of the page.

Reaching out for extra support can also be vital as they can correctly guide you on how to how to write meta descriptions for SEO.


Does Google look at meta description?

One of the most common queries in relation metadata is whether Google uses meta keywords as a ranking factor.

Google uses the summary of the page to comprehend the content of the page, puts it into a category, and directs traffic to your site.

In the search results from search engines like Google, meta descriptions are displayed below the title of the page. Many people write an optimised meta description in order to rank higher by placing keywords in the meta description.

However, meta descriptions are no longer considered as a ranking factor on search engines. Even though Google sometimes uses the description meta tag for the snippets it shows, it doesn’t consider the description meta tag when determining its search rankings.

The presence of this tag does signal though that the page is optimised to be used on mobile phones, which is important because Google has ranked mobile-friendly web pages higher in mobile search results since 2015.

While meta keywords and descriptions can offer other types of SEO benefits, meta tags are the most informative and useful form of metadata for Google and other major search engines.


Do meta descriptions affect SEO?

Meta description SEO is important because it is a vital component of on-page SEO and ensures that it is optimised – essential in categorising the relevance of the webpage.

Although the role and significance of meta descriptions is not as emphasised as in the past, they are still as important for your overall SEO efforts for the part they play in boosting your search result click-through rates.

For example, if you mistakenly input the incorrect attributes into a meta tag, it can have a detrimental effect on how your site appears in search results. This is why it is important to fully understand SEO before committing to writing meta descriptions and using them correctly.

The good thing is that there are plenty of services available in the form of professional specialists who are on hand to help you.

An SEO meta description is important to attract, engage, and retain your target demographic.


Looking further guidance?

Eager to learn more about meta descriptions?

At Aqueous Digital, we work with all sorts of clients to help them fulfil their goals, whether that is through reputation management, content strategy or SEO.

So, why not reach out to our SEO team today to take your business to the next level?


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