Often, when writing blog posts, marketers have to think of more than just the article's content. Since readers consume articles online, these have to adhere to the rules of SEO. Marketers' posts consist of things other than the article itself—they must also think of things like meta descriptions, title tags, and headers, among others.
In a previous article, we talked about the importance of headers and headlines. Here, we will discuss the meta description, a type of SEO tag containing a short overview of a page's content. Typically, these tags reach up to 155 characters and contain keywords relevant to the article. Optimizing your meta description is crucial for boosting your page's performance.
Essentially, meta descriptions have one purpose: get a person to click your link on the search engine results page. They need to intrigue the reader while giving a preview of the rest of the article. According to Google, meta descriptions do not directly contribute to SEO rankings.
However, they remain a vital aspect of your marketing strategy since they affect your article's click-through rate. If more people get enticed by your meta description, Google is more likely to consider you as a good result, bringing you up the page rankings. So, you need to spend more than a couple of minutes on your meta description. Here are things to remember when you're trying to optimize this part of your blog post.
Strictly speaking, there are no rules to how many characters you should use in meta descriptions. The "ideal" length of the text does not exist, either. Character count recommendations are from experience. Typically, it will take 155 characters to write two to three snappy sentences that pique the reader's interest. However, if you check search results, you might see meta descriptions with as little as 120 or as many as 156 characters. It comes down to preference; if you know your audience well, you can write according to their tastes. Some companies prefer no-frills writing because their audience appreciates that, while others have target markets that enjoy long descriptions.
What's more, website owners have no control over how Google displays search results. Sometimes, the search engine shows the meta description, but it can also take passages from the text. Whatever the case, though, it is best to keep your meta descriptions short. If you do, you're sure that Google will display the entire tag instead of cutting it short.
Treat the meta description as the invitation to a page. It is the first thing people see, apart from the title or header tag, and you have to consider people's possible motivation for wanting to click through to your website. Encourage people to stay by making your meta description reader-friendly and straightforward. People want to know what they can expect from you, and this can help. Strive to make your meta description motivating—write it in active voice, address the reader directly, and use words that will encourage them to click the link, subscribe, purchase, or sign up for a trial.
Get your audience to move by ensuring you have a call-to-action or CTA. The CTA is a direct way of telling the reader what you want them to do. For example, "click the link to learn more about the different aspects of on-page SEO" tells your readers what to expect while giving them something to do. Including phrases like "try it for free," for landing pages of subscriptions or product samples, "learn more," for blog posts and product description pages, and the like will encourage them to interact with your website.
When optimizing for search engines, it is vital to use all channels available to you to rank for relevance. Do not just put keywords in your post; try to have them in the meta description, H1 tag, and even title tag. If the search keyword you are targeting is in the meta description and incorporate it naturally, Google will be more likely to highlight your page's meta description.
One of the essential things in digital marketing is getting clear on your audience—it affects everything from your overall strategy to writing your meta descriptions. For instance, suppose you sell gym equipment, but your audience consists of weekend warriors and everyday folk, not coaches or professional athletes. In that case, you cannot put too many technical terms in your meta description. When writing the description for blog posts, focus on the problem that the article tries to solve. Meanwhile, if your audience is savvier, you can include specs to convince them that they're getting a product that doesn't compromise performance.
Great meta descriptions offer the audience a glimpse into what an article is about while enticing them and convincing them that they want to read more. Take search intent into consideration when writing meta descriptions. Do people search this keyword to answer a question, or are they casually browsing? Is this keyword for someone still looking for his options? Think of where your customers are, what their context is, and frame your meta descriptions in a way that promises them answers if they click the link. Make sure you follow through, though—even well-written meta descriptions won't help you if you do otherwise!
Focus on what matters for your business when you partner with Ranked. Our fully-managed and data-driven SEO solutions help companies in over 40 countries hone in on what matters for their audience. Schedule a call with the team or activate your account today!