Meta Descriptions are the short descriptions of your web page that appear on SERPs or Search Engine Results Page. Whenever a user searches for information on Google, they’re displayed with results related to their search query. These results are web pages containing the information the user is looking for. A meta description is a text that appears below the results describing the content inside the web page.
Meta descriptions inform users and search engines about the summary of the page so that they can figure out the relevancy of the content inside the web page. Meta descriptions consist of 155 characters on desktop view and 120 characters on mobile view. Within these character limits, webmasters and content creators need to include an excerpt for the contents of their web page.
But why are they needed? What purpose do they serve? And can one excel in SEO without focusing on meta descriptions?
We’ll talk about all of this in this blog post.
Why are Meta Descriptions Important?
As mentioned above, meta descriptions are informative tools for users and search engines that inform them of the context of contents inside a web page. Meta descriptions are essential for SEO as users click on a website after reviewing the meta description and ascertaining whether the content inside is helpful to them or not.
Some SEO experts and marketers will tell you that Google declared that meta descriptions aren’t a factor in its organic ranking criteria. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t serve any purpose. A well-written meta description can significantly improve your click-through rate, which increases traffic on your site and helps in ranking higher on SERPs.
We established above that meta descriptions have character limits, which means that any meta description beyond the character limit won’t be fully displayed to the user. So staying within the character limit is needed to show the full description of a web page in the SERPs.
Look at Google Analytics and Google Search Console to understand your traffic source. If you have more visitors from mobile devices, ensure to limit your meta description to 120 characters. Conversely, if you have more visitors to your site from desktops, you should conform to 155 characters with your meta description.
Meta Descriptions helps your website in the following ways:
- Higher CTRs, which result in more conversions for you
- Informs users about the page contents
- Helps to rank higher on SERP with improved indexing
Tips to Write Meta Descriptions that Boost Engagement and Rankings
Google has published its webmaster guidelines which entail how to write compelling Meta descriptions to improve your CTRs and list you higher on its SERP. As a marketer or content creator, a compelling meta description is an essential ingredient for success in your SEO campaign.
Stay within the Character Limit
The first thing you need to do is to include the relevant information inside your web page within the meta description character limit. It’s important to remember that this limit doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to write more than 120 or 155 characters, as the case may be, but rather, Google will display the number of words within this limit to searchers.
Ideally, you should write meta descriptions within 120 to 155 characters so that it’s displayed to both desktop and mobile users. Remember to place the most important words relevant to the page topic at the beginning of your meta description. This way, you won’t risk losing necessary information on the SERPs.
Go for Accuracy
Beyond the right character limit, it’s more important to have an accurate meta description that correctly summarizes the content within the web page. This summary should be correct, relevant, and compelling enough for the user to click on the link and read the full content inside.
Incorporating your focus keyword on this summary is a good practice for writing meta descriptions. But, you should avoid stuffing keywords in the meta description just for the sake of it, as it provides little value or information to the searcher. In the absence of a relevant meta description, your overall user experience will be affected along with a low CTR. Just like the high-quality content you’re creating on your site, it’s essential to have a quality meta description that summarizes the entire context accurately.
Meta descriptions are often not considered an important part of your SEO strategy because they aren’t always displayed to the searchers. Site owners, thus, focus on improving the page experience and visual elements of their website. However, that’s not a good practice for SEO management.
Whether it’s displayed to users or not, it’s still visible to Google and other search engines. Meta descriptions make it easier for search engines to understand the nature of the content and index them for the particular search phrases. That’s why each and every web page of yours should have a unique meta description summarizing what the searcher should expect if they visit the page.
The originality of meta descriptions becomes exceedingly important when the web page doesn’t contain any text inside. Each page in your website has something unique to offer to users, like products, about us, contact us, etc.; the meta description for that page should also be unique.
CTR or call-to-action guides the user towards the next step. CTRs are vital tools for conversions and compel the user to take any action, whether a subscription, registration, downloading content, or providing content information.
Meta description and CTRs become important when running a paid ads campaign on Google. The meta description becomes the ad copy, laying out what the ad is all about and what it has to offer. Include compelling CTRs on your meta descriptions, beginning with “How to…” or “Discover…” and similar copies. Meta descriptions that start with these lines influence users to click on the ad and learn more about your products and services.
High-Quality Meta Descriptions Mean More Conversions
Just like title tags and headers in your content, meta descriptions are crucial to improving your on-page factors that positively influence SEO. Meta descriptions can increase your CTR and help users connect and engage with your content.
Without accurate meta descriptions, search engines won’t understand what your content is about, which makes it extremely difficult to be indexed on the SERPs. Therefore, you should create unique, enticing, and relevant meta descriptions for every web page that invites searchers to click on your site and read your content.