Search engines use key data from websites to create result entries consisting of a title tag, meta description and website URL.
But what do these elements mean, and how can you use them in a way that benefits your company?
The meta description is the text blurb that appears below the title tag in the listing and is usually limited to 155 characters. A well-crafted meta description can boost your site in search engine results pages (SERPs), leading to more click-throughs and potentially more chances to convert that visitor into a customer.
“Meta descriptions are like the forgotten children of search engine optimisation [SEO],” says Search Factory director and cofounder Michael Bell. “Many SEO providers ignore the optimisation of meta descriptions, but when written well they can drastically improve your click-through rate [CTR].”
What’s the purpose of a meta description?
“Meta descriptions provide a snippet of the content that is to be expected on a page, appearing below the title tag and website URL for a Google search result,” says Bell.
A well-written meta description is just one way of optimising your conversion rates, because you’re setting a clear expectation of what a user will see and experience once they hit your web page.
“I’ve personally seen examples where websites ranking in position three or four on Google are achieving higher CTR than those in position one, meaning they’re receiving more traffic to their site than the number-one organic listing,” says Bell.
“There is also strong evidence that suggests that CTR can impact actual rankings as Google views this as an engagement metric to how relevant your result is to the query being searched.”
How can your meta description get click-throughs?
Keep in mind that a well-written meta description should be no longer than 155 characters. Google will omit any characters over this limit, which can prove to be a real challenge when trying to write the best possible description for a particular page.
However, by keeping within the limit, you’ll avoid creating any awkward mid-sentence breaks in a description. That way you can display a complete sentence and encourage the user to click-through.
“A good example of a meta description tag test we did for our SEO Brisbane page saw us increase our CTR by 35% without any changes in rankings.”
Bell believes one way to grab users’ attention is to “think disruptively” and not be afraid of taking an unconventional approach to your marketing efforts.
Talk to the keywords you’re targeting for that particular page, explains Bell. You should also include your company’s unique selling points and talk to the solution or benefit you provide.