When putting together content for your website, you may be asked for meta descriptions. What is a meta description, and what exactly is their purpose? Here we will help and offer some guidelines you can follow to help.

What is a Meta Description?

The definition of a meta description is a tag that describes what a page on your website is about and generally in 160 characters or less. This small description of your website page often appears on Search Engines such as Google (as a “Snippet”). Please see the image below.

GSM - Meta_Description_Blog_01

It helps the Search Engines provide the page to people searching for that specific subject when you type a short but effective explanation of the page. However, meta descriptions are helpful in several other ways. In fact, they can be highly beneficial from both SEO and reader perspectives.

You need to rank higher, but you need more clicks to get higher. This can be difficult, but the key part of all of this is to offer as much information as possible to searchers, so they will be more likely to click on the link to your content — even if you appear lower on the search engine results page.

What is a Meta Description?

When a person is carrying out research on a particular topic, they may use a range of different keywords to find the information they want. Ensuring your meta description is well optimised will make it more likely that your content appears in these searches. This also means that the content they find on your site is more likely to be what they were actually searching for.

Taking the time to write informative meta descriptions and optimising them can also result in an increase in social media sourced visits. Meta descriptions show up on social network posts as well, shown below.

GSM - Meta_Description_Blog_02

You don’t have much room to explain, so you need to get the words in that searchers and search engines might be looking for. Write too little or too much, and it’ll either be a poor use of the space or the entire write up won’t appear.

Do not use duplicates. An unintentional mistake by most websites. If you have a few pages with similar content, you may be tempted to copy and paste the meta description and use the same one. However, this would be a mistake – it looks lazy. We all try and avoid doing extra work that is time-consuming but putting the thought into creating a custom description makes the links even more professional.

The Best Way to Write a Meta Description

  • Use Your Keywords

This is a must. If you don’t use your keyword in your page’s meta description, you’re wasting a vital opportunity to tell the search engines what that page is about.

  • Avoid the Dreaded Meta Description Cut Off

Write too much in the meta description, going over the 160-character limit, it’ll appear cut off in the search results. It looks unprofessional and could turn some people off from clicking through.

  • Be Direct and To The Point

You haven’t got lots of room to get your point across, so you need to make every word count. Don’t ease into a topic, be direct in what the page has to offer. You can definitely be creative, but don’t waste your words.

There are several benefits from these small blurbs, from increasing your website visitors to improving search engine rankings. Having a clear understanding of these benefits will make it easier to put together descriptions for each page of your site and over time attract engaged visitors and increase your page/site ranking.

We can help!

We hope this helps; If you’re unsure about anything to do with Meta Descriptions, then Green Stripe Media can help you – it’s part of our website packages.