How do I write a good meta description?

The HTML meta description tag briefly summarizes a page’s content. It’s also featured on search engine results pages (SERPs) as part of the search snippet that gives users an overview of what’s on a webpage and its connection to their search query. 

There’s no real wrong way to write a meta description, but there are some tactics that can be used for writing better descriptions that get attention for the right reasons. 

Why good meta descriptions are important

Meta descriptions are not used by search engines in their ranking system, so there is no direct SEO value. But that’s not their primary purpose. The purpose of a meta description is to drive traffic to a web page from search engines by enticing users to click through on a SERP.

However, there can still be an SEO benefit to meta description optimization. Google utilizes click-through rate (CTR) as an indicator of quality. Your website will rise in the rankings if more people click on your result. Therefore, optimizing the meta description and the meta title is important for SEO.

Tips for writing a good meta description

Writing meta descriptions is just like writing anything else online – you’ll want it to be clear and compelling. It also needs to be concise enough to catch someone’s attention quickly and fit within the predetermined parameters.

Use the proper length for meta descriptions

The meta description element is kind of like ad copy given its prominence on the search engine results pages. Search engines understand the value of every character, and that’s why they limit the length of meta descriptions. The meta description length should remain within 990 pixels or up to 156 characters to ensure that it won’t get cut short and affect readability. 

Here is an example of a meta description that’s the proper length:

Make meta descriptions understandable and actionable

A dull, complicated, or convoluted description won’t get users excited enough to take action. If anything it will only confuse them and cause them to move on to another website. Your meta descriptions need to be easy to understand, use simple language and prompt the user to click through.

Consider user motivation

A user’s motivation for visiting your web page should be a consideration when crafting the meta description. You can use it to create a message that speaks to the user’s needs so they are more likely to click on your result in the SERPs. 

Utilize the target keywords

Using the website’s target keywords in a natural and non-spammy way in the meta description will attract users to click through to the page. And if the search keyword in the meta description resembles some of the text used in the search query, Google is more likely to display your page in the SERP. This is especially true if the search keyword is worded as a question. 

Write unique meta descriptions

Although the titles of your pages may differ, the descriptions of all of your pages could be the same. The user experience on Google will be affected if your meta description is identical to other pages in your niche or your site. You’re better off leaving it blank than using duplicate meta descriptions. The ideal approach is to write a unique meta description for each page you wish to rank.

Final word on writing good meta descriptions 

Writing meta descriptions may seem like a simple task, but to get the most out of the tag you’ll need to put some thought into it. Knowing the best practices can help you write meta descriptions that are fully optimized and improve click throughs by capitalizing on keywords and providing a better user experience.

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