When you type, let’s say, “affiliate CPA network” into the Google search field and then get to the SERP page, what makes you decide which link to click? Research proves that site ranking is a major factor to attract traffic, but there are other reasons for selection, such as the relevance and appeal of meta tags.
Today, we are talking about meta descriptions. For those who are not yet familiar with the terminology, a meta description is a sentence or two that appear right after the URL in search results.
There is no single opinion on whether Google uses meta descriptions for ranking purposes (although most believe it does) and their importance derives more from searchers than search engines. The engines, however, are used by people; that’s why it is possible to optimize meta tags for SEO purposes by making them more digestible for users.
Think of a meta description as your last chance to sell a person on visiting your site. You have done everything you could and managed to rank among the best on the SERP. Now it’s only up to searchers to decide whether your content is relevant to their queries.
Here are a few recommendations we can give about meta description optimization:
1. First to the basics: meta descriptions have a 156 character limit, and Google will cut ruthlessly the remaining part. That’s why you have to be careful and squeeze everything you have to say in just a few words. To get an idea of what your description will look like, you can use a handy tool provided by SeoMofo.
2. A meta description is a snapshot of your website: it has to provide a brief explanation of what you do or offer. If it fails to do so, users will have no reason to visit. It can also be explained as a slightly longer tagline for your business: it complements the title and provides compelling details.
3. Old school SEO specialists believed that packing a meta description with key words would help to rank higher in Google. In reality, this is a practice penalized by both search engines and searchers. It’s more effective to use one or two keywords, which will be highlighted if they match the search queries. It will show users that your site is actually relevant to their search goals.
4. Use power language and CTAs. These might come in different forms: words like “get”, “explore” and “improve” or even obvious CTA phrases like “find out here”. The idea is to encourage action. For example, the description of our ForskolinFitPro website is “Burn off fat and increase lean muscle with pure forskolin extract. Try it today and order your free trial bottle.” See how compelling it is?
5. Naturally, your meta description has to be relevant and shouldn’t betray expectations. In other words, if a user clicked because the description promised a quick weight loss medicine, they will be more than disappointed to find a gym website inside, which will in turn increase your bounce rate.
6. Another way to attract more clicks is to stir curiosity. Just like you would do with banners or email subject lines, it’s possible to spark people’s interest by writing something unusual. In doing so, never violate rule #5, or people will feel tricked.
The importance of meta tag optimization is probably lower than that of a landing page. However, it is yet another tool you can use to increase conversions. If you fail to provide a meta description at all, Google will replace it with text taken from the page, and it definitely won’t be a neat and catchy description of your services that you’d write yourself. In a struggle for CTR and conversion, every single bit matters.
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