It doesn’t matter how much time you’re putting into driving your website’s traffic. If you’re not considering every single aspect of SEO and ranking –it’s not going to matter.
Like many business and website owners; it’s ideal to make money online fast and practically overnight from conversions and traffic through your website. After all, what point is there starting an online business if you’re not converting audiences to profit?
Be that as it may, there’s no one foolproof way to rank with Google; especially considering how they’re infamous for changing their ranking algorithms almost 600 times/year.
Hold your horses, people. That’s still not an excuse! There are still some elements to search engine ranking that’s unlikely to change over time.
Cue meta descriptions.
From the very beginning of the SEO bible, meta descriptions have played an imperative part of providing strong rankings. This isn’t likely change in the couple of years –so don’t worry about devoting your efforts for Google’s engineers to screw it up in the future.
What you should do, however, is brush up on the complete essentials of meta descriptions and what it can do for your website.
Without further ado, let’s dive straight into how to help you improve your SEO efforts with this little feature.
What are meta descriptions?
So let’s start with the basics. The meta description is essentially an HTML component that provides your readers/audiences with a summary of your webpage. On a search engine such as Google, the character limit for this is **currently** around 160 characters long.
To put things simply, it’s a quick look-see into your webpage to entice user click-through rates.
A meta description comes neatly under the page’s URL when a search query is made. It also tends to appear across social media platforms and other websites when shared –although the actual description and character length might vary.
How do meta descriptions matter?
Although meta descriptions are not directly a ranking factor (unlike page titles) –they do matter when it comes to improving click-through rate.
So before you completely discredit them, understand that they still hold a very important place on a search engine. Let’s compare this to a recruiter viewing your resume, for example. What matters most of all to him/her is the position you’ve held at your past company –but it does help for there to be an elaboration of duties down below right?
In general, meta descriptions do manage to gain consumer trust based on the professionalism and effective SEO of your website. It’s so important that there are content sharing systems that would automatically generate one for you!
However, one churned out by a bot may still not be the best idea. Listed below are 5 foolproof ways to write your very own (conversion guaranteed!) meta description and immediately grow your online business.
1. Stop overthinking character count
There’s really no need to torture yourself over the character count of your meta descriptions.
The only certain thing about Google’s meta description count is that it’s uncertain.
SEMRush even conducted an experiment of the sorts and found that higher count descriptions (of 320 and above) might perform better in terms of ranking. This goes against all the rules and teachings that you have to keep your descriptions at the character limit to perform better.
You don’t even have to try –there are thousands of articles and analyses online attempting to decipher what these means for SEO and online businesses.
But this is counterproductive. Your main goal when it comes to writing meta descriptions should be human behavior. What your users would expect and gain from this little blurb that leads back to your page. Why are you the special little snowflake that stands out from the rest?
You’re much better off focusing on the value of the content itself. Devote time to actually improving the relevancy and information from the rest of the webpages you’re in competition with –and stop trying to follow along with the herd.
2. …But NEVER skip out on your keywords
We can’t stress the importance of keywords enough. Not including them in your meta descriptions is one of the biggest blunders you can make as an online business.
If a search query is made and your meta description doesn’t have it included –you’re not going to be ranked. Plain and simple. Google will only highlight your website if they have those keywords included, which will then, of course, drive much more traffic to your page.
Yes, yes, yes this might be as clear as day for those well-versed with SEO ranking. But wait! Simply embedding them into your meta descriptions aren’t going to do the trick. You’ll need to use them throughout alt tags, scatter them through landing pages and DEFINITELY write them into your product page + descriptions as well.
Doing so will immensely increase the likeliness of Google boosting your page after it has crawled through.
You’re also going to want to try your best to incorporate ‘long tail keywords’ instead of unrealistically high ranking ones. Take a look at LongTailPro to find everything you’ll ever need in an SEO buddy. We’re sure Google would appreciate the enthusiasm –but a good rule of thumb would be to rank your website higher through lower-volume keywords and then build up from there. We promise it’s going to be worth it.
And if you’re already wondering –the answer to that is yes. We do have a total dummies guide to everything blog traffic and SEO. Take the leap into making money on the side + literally in your sleep with high traffic and conversions.
3. A kickass call-to-action is due here
First things first, you’re going to want to have solid copy backing you all the time. That means no grammatical errors, no unnecessary breaks and picture-perfect punctuation. HUSTLR swears by Grammarly to point us in the direction –be it through blog posts, meta descriptions, and everything else.
It might not be obvious, but your meta description has to get people to click on your search engine listing. Think of it as a soft-core ad that promotes your blog post, product, etc. that’s complete with its own call-to-action (CTA).
Of course, a solid CTA isn’t one that’s just focused on bragging. It’s less of ‘look at me, I’m special!’ rather than ‘here’s WHY I’m special’. Let’s compare what we mean. Choose one website that you’d rather click to.
Call To Action Example A:
“The best laundry service subscription in town –no exceptions.”
Call To Action Example B:
“Sign up for a free 30-day trial. Your most trusted laundry service subscription around town.”
See the difference?
Everyone wants to know what’s in it for them. With a strong call-to-action, that information is readily available and has a much higher probability of attracting your audiences. For free informational articles, you’d want to incorporate some form of teaser meta descriptions to drastically improve your click-through rates. Here are some examples to put this into context.
Example A – Okay:
“We compiled a list of the best apps for tracking your budget, the best one that we recommend is Tycoon. Click to find out the whole list.”
Example B – Great:
“If you have trouble managing your budget, we’ve compiled a huge list of the best apps for tracking your budget. The best app that we highly recommend is….”
See the difference?
You might need help becoming a (digital!) silver tongue and using words to your advantage. Check out this course, Copywritematters for the complete A-Z on writing copy that stands out and proud from the clutter. This master class is hosted by Belinda Weaver (an award-winning podcaster, blogger and professional copyeditor) to provide real-time insights on how strong content is a totally underrated way of making money online fast by driving more conversions.
4. There are snippets, and then there are rich snippets!
It’s time to dive in a bit more.
When it comes to meta descriptions, you have your run of the mill text and you have your rich snippets.
Have you ever come across a list/how-to’s/table of content on your search? That’s what it is! Rich snippets are totally helpful to drive clicks to your webpage in an effort to continue where it has left off –by also providing great value to your reader.
When you have optimized your data to be featured in such a way, you would have a higher probability of ranking in position zero. That’s the ranking above all search results displayed in a page. Also, this is basically the best thing that can happen to your website.
So how do you reach the ideal of rich snippets?
Schema.org is a safe space to create and experiment with various structures this way. It’s totally collaborative –with a portfolio of companies such as Pinterest and Microsoft already using their vocabularies this way. The schema forms here are shared and discuss amongst top contributors; so you can be sure you’re getting quality advice from all sources.
When Google finds valid forms of such information, they might feature that as rich snippets too! This includes star ratings, reviews and other evaluations on a numeric scale. If you’ve ever had any questions surrounding why customer loyalty is important –this is why! Audiences are likely to have a higher trust towards websites that already come recommended by other users; so you might also want to devote some time into gathering consumer feedback in the future.
Be that as it may, you have the perfect creative freedom to try out various schema types that may suit your business best.
To begin with, the information that gets selected as rich snippets in the first place is extracted straight from organic results by SERP. We’re talking forms of paragraphs/lists and whatnot.
Here’s an example of what I’m talking about.
You’re going to want to adjust and perfect the structure of your website to even be consider ranking in position zero. Always include relevant SEO strategies for this. Keywords, alt tags, image optimization and strong backlinks are key to boosting the chances of you reaching search engine domination –so get to it!
Another commonly overlooked factor of you failing to consider would be your website’s load times. Don’t clog up overall speed by introducing chunks of graphics for the sake of doing it. If you really need to do that, however, make sure that they are adequately compressed with a tool like Kraken or Optimizilla.
Pro Tip: Hosting WordPress sites on hosting plans like WPX Hosting would drastically improve your page load times, improving user experience and vastly improving your odds of ranking higher on Google. If you blog often as we do, you should integrate some sort of table of the content plugin to help Google understand your content better.
5. The clutter of Google AdWords-powered websites might be challenging.
Don’t say we didn’t warn you. Meta descriptions might be straightforward to create, but you still have to keep an eye out on the intense competition out there.
Google AdWords is number one on the list of usual suspects. Since they’re constantly getting more prime SERP attention (sometimes 4-5 searches!), this can draw the spotlight away from your organic listing.
Luckily, Adwords PPC only accounts clicks for about 2.6% of all searches online. This shows that most people show more trust in organic listings, so there is certainly a high reward to improve your SERP.
However, it’s harder and harder to rank in Google each day –so your online business needs to totally be at the top of it’s game. For this to happen, you need to make it a habit of checking up on what paid listings come above you, whether or not you’re prepared to display something different; and pull the rug right underneath them.
A really good tactic would, of course, be your ability to write more natural, effortless and not as hard sales-y copy. It definitely goes a long way to make sure that you’re seizing those click-throughs.
Tip: We all need a little extra help once in a while. You might want to hire a professional copy editor/SEO expert that’s going to give you a hand with an engaging and compelling meta description that converts. Fiverr is god-sent for outsourcing small tasks. When it comes to hiring the best in the game, it’s best to hire from places like Upwork. From digital marketers to writers, production experts; and their rates are super affordable for what they’re offering.
To recap briefly; here’s what you need to remember: –
1. Don’t focus too much on character count
2. Always use SEO-enriched keywords throughout.
3. Incorporate a strong call-to-action (CTA)
4. Aim for the stars with rich and featured snippets
5. Keep an eye out for Google AdWords competition
Driving your engagement doesn’t always need to be a guessing game- but it’s all about which organic methods do work for you and which ones that don’t.
In a nutshell, the above is how you grow and maintain the relevancy of your business through meta descriptions. If you need more help on how to write meta descriptions that drive traffic and conversions; check out this nifty little class.
If you’re on WordPress, definitely use an SEO tool like Yoast’s SEO Plugin to help you manage all of your SEO needs. The free version comes jam-packed with features to help you manage all of your meta descriptions for Google and your most important Social Media channels.
Jeremy has been running several online businesses behind his laptop for the past 5 years and he has worked as a freelance web developer previously. A trained marketer by profession, he also has Ruby on Rails and web development knowledge. His forte lies in eCommerce, SEO and content marketing. He’s been featured on Vice, Thrive Global, YFS Magazine, Forbes and several other publications. He prefers to connect with people on LinkedIn.