When you enter a search term into Google, you’re presented with a number of different results. The format usually places the website title on top, then gives a short description of the website below it. This simple format helps us to separate the information returned by Google so that we can filter it more easily. The title should give you a rough idea of the content on the site, which is why the colour is different and the font slightly larger. If the title interests you, then the snippet of information below it should give you a better understanding of what the website is before you decide to click it.
Both the title and the meta description are incredibly important components when it comes to page ranking. After all, Google acts like a directory that sorts pages based on their relevance to the search term. If you want more web traffic, then you’re going to need to learn how to write effective titles and descriptions to attract more people.
What’s in a Title?
The title is the first thing that will catch the eyes of your audience. The font is a different colour and slightly larger, giving it an enhanced presence on the screen. Even if you scroll down the search results at a fast pace, the first thing your eyes will skim are the titles themselves. Every page of your website can be assigned a unique title tag which is what the search engine will display. There is limited space in the title field; you can only write so much before it’s cut off by Google so it’s important to squeeze in all the necessary information.
Unless you’re a recognized brand with a large following, it’s a good idea not to include your brand name at the beginning of your title. Instead, it’s important to include keywords that are on the page itself. For instance, if the page is an article about picking the best dog food, then you’ll want to include words like “best dog food” and “how to pick” in the title. This immediately grabs the audience’s attention and it becomes a quick, snappy and relevant title. You should also avoid any words that don’t contribute to the message of the web page. Here’s an example:
- SomeTravelCompany – The Best Places For You To Get Some Winter Sun in 2017
- Best Winter Sun Destinations 2017 – SomeTravelCompany
The first example is absolutely terrible. The name is placed at the beginning and this has no real power especially if you’re an unknown brand. If you‘re a big name then it does make sense to include your company name, but until then it’s best to omit it for more space. You may have realised that, with the company name in the title, the first example is far too long and the end will be cut out. There are also plenty of useless words such as “for you” and “get some”. It’s possible to greatly simplify this and help it fit onto the page without cutting out words.
The second example is far better. It’s short, concise and skips out useless words. Finally, since it was short enough, you can fit the name of your company on the end.
Going In-Depth About the Meta Description
To start with, let’s go into some deep detail about what a meta description is. As mentioned before, it’s the little snippet of information below a search result. Its purpose is to try and convince people to visit a certain website. For example, if you own a restaurant then you may be tempted to add things like “best seafood” or other compliments, and those would usually be fine. When your search result appears on Google, it will show those compliments or claims like “the best seafood in town”.
This is a quick and easy way to convince people to visit your website and do business with you. Meta descriptions should be short, snappy and contain everything you need. The end goal is to pique the interest of customers, even if they don’t end up buying your products. Your business will stick in their mind and the relevance of your company will be a huge selling point that ultimately brings you more customers.
People are less likely to read the entire meta description the further down your search result is. If you’re going to take your business seriously and you want to increase your exposure, then it’s important to write an effective meta description that stands out. Most people will only glance at the keywords which are highlighted in bold, which is why it’s vital to write descriptions that appeal to the search terms. It needs to be clear and concise in order to convince people that your website is worth clicking over others. The further down your search result is, the more important it is to catch eyes quickly.
However, it’s worth mentioning that you should never ever abuse keywords and create a meta description that betrays the real purpose of your website. It has to be an honest description of your website or else you could risk your website being blacklisted for false information. Although it does generate more clicks, its considered an underhanded method of getting more exposure and you will not grow your website organically using these short-term tactics. Invest in the long-term if you want to run a successful and profitable website with a sustainable audience.
Writing Attention-Grabbing Meta Descriptions
Writing meta descriptions do not require lots of writing skill. In fact, all it requires is a bit of knowledge and some exercises in effectively getting a message across. You could always hire a professional copywriter to do the work for you, but it’s something that is worth learning to do by yourself because you should be writing a meta description for every page on your website. Start by looking at a couple of meta descriptions in Google to start with. Search terms that are similar to what you would imagine your intended audience to search then read a couple and try to pick out some of the strong points of each one. Here is what you should be looking out for.
- Emphasize Benefits
One of the hallmarks of a captivating landing page that converts sales is to emphasize the benefits of your product, and this rule can be copied over to meta descriptions. Essentially, you want to be writing what your products can offer and not the product itself. Customers aren’t too concerned about the technical details (at least, if they’re casual buyers) and would prefer to learn about the benefits you offer over the competition. Another way to put it is that customers don’t care about what the solution is, but rather the benefits that come with the solution.
As an example, let’s imagine you are an internet service provider that is selling fibre connections. One of the most common things to do is to advertise the speeds and use those as a selling point. However, this goes against the idea of emphasizing benefits. People don’t really care about download or upload speeds because it’s hard to envision what the benefits actually are. To remedy this, consider giving examples such as “download a movie in x seconds” or “stream video on 10 devices with no slowdowns”. As you can see, it’s far more impactful to show the benefits of something rather than the solution itself.
This rule can easily be applied to meta descriptions. The first line that your audience reads should emphasize the benefits of the keywords they have searched. For instance, if someone searches “best battery bank for phone”, then your meta description should explain the benefits of your product. For example, you could write “recharge your phone up to 10 times with our battery bank”. If you want to connect with your audience on a more personal level, you could write “never worry about recharging your phone outdoors again”. There is plenty of creativity that can you apply to emphasizing benefits, so it all depends on your product.
- Use Verbs
Verbs can be powerful words that emphasize something you want to highlight. It promotes action and can be effectively used to grab your audience’s attention. Use words like “grab” or “create” or “uncover”. These words promote action and they captivate your audience from the first word. When they see it, they want to know what it is they can grab, what they can create or what they can uncover. Mix this with emphasizing benefits and you’ll quickly build together a meta description that will grab attention and encourage your viewer to visit your website.
You obviously want to keep this description accurate and also give the viewer an idea of what it is they should expect. For example, the description “launch your business website with zero programming or design experience” fits perfectly in our meta description criteria. First, it starts with an action word that grabs the audience’s attention. Next. instead of describing the solution, it talks about the benefits. While it sounds simple, its an effective way of advertising something within the constraints of your meta description.
- Stick to the Point
You only have roughly 155 characters to actually write something meaningful, which is why you should condense your writing to a point that its quick, snappy and makes sense. Meta descriptions can often be cut off on search engines like Google because instead of measuring characters or word counts, they actually measure by pixels. Once your description reaches a certain length in pixels, it automatically cuts off and the rest will be lost. There are tools made to test this so that you don’t end up wasting valuable space that could be taken up by your meta description.
If you use the first two points, you’ll be able to write a simple yet quick and snappy meta description in no time. The more you write, the more your text will be cut off and lost. Keep it simple and you’ll find that it’s not only simpler to read and comprehend, but it will also keep the audience’s attention longer—don’t forget that they have incredibly short attention spans.
Things to Avoid
Now that you’ve learned how to write an effective meta description, you need to learn what you should avoid as well.
For starters, there are some people that completely forget about their meta descriptions. Not only does this drastically reduce attention, but it can make you look like an amateur. Google will often highlight random bits of text on your website and use it as the meta description. This can look strange and unprofessional, so it’s worth writing your own even if its a temporary one.
Next, you want to avoid over-stuffing your meta description with keywords but you also want to avoid leaving them out completely as well. It’s important to actually add some keywords so they become bolded when someone searches for them. This will catch their eyes more easily than anything else in your meta description and the frequency can give people a good idea if your website is trustworthy or not. If you fill it with too many keywords, then it will be seen as spam and it could even get taken down. Focus on balancing the right amount of keywords and it will become easy to write a jaw-dropping meta description that converts random people into business opportunities.
Look for proper ways to incorporate keywords into your meta description. If you feel like this is difficult, then you may want to change your approach to keywords.
Some Final Words
Meta descriptions are incredibly useful for a number of things. While their main use is for marketers to give their website more exposure, it’s important to remember the gravity of what a meta description is. Think of it this way; your meta description is a lot like a short pitch. If you’ve ever thought about putting together a 5-minute elevator pitch to give to an investor, then condense that into 10 seconds of text instead.
You’re trying to sell your products, services or even content to the masses in just 155 characters which are only 2 to 3 lines of actual words. It can be daunting, but it’s worth remembering the tips above to give yourself some inspiration. As long as you focus on telling the truth, getting straight to the point and watching what language you use, you’ll be well on your way to writing some eye-catching meta descriptions to use for whatever you’d like.