What are meta descriptions? And how to get the best out of them!

Published on 8 August 2019
by HeartBeat Digital Marketing
meta description

If you’ve ever done a search for a website on Google (and who hasn’t?), then you will have come into contact with meta descriptions probably without realising it.

What’s A Meta Description?

Meta descriptions are the small chunks of text that sit below the page title in search results. So, for instance, suppose you search for “dog grooming parlour” in the Google search bar and up pop the results.

The meta description for the dog grooming parlour might be something like:

“Pooches Grooming dog parlour is a team of qualified dog groomers committed to the health and wellbeing of your pet.”

It’s important to note that the meta description doesn’t necessarily have to appear anywhere on your web pages themselves. It’s merely a small tag that goes along with your page title in search results to give users a little bit of extra information. You’re telling users what they can expect when they visit your pages.

The trouble, of course, is that doing an excellent job of your meta descriptions is tricky. It’s one thing having them, but it’s quite another making a good go of it. Getting it right is not as easy as you might think.

Let’s run through some tips that will not only help you inform users but also rank well on Google.

Include A Meta Tag On All Your Pages

Google ranks your pages by page, not domain. So if you have a particularly popular page for a given keyword, this will be what appears in results. It’s vital, therefore, to write meta descriptions for all your pages, not just your home page. Doing so will provide search users with extra information, whether they’re accessing services or wanting to view your contact details.

Make Them Concise

Just like on Twitter, you’ve got around 160 characters to tell people what’s on your page. One hundred sixty characters is shockingly little space, so being concise is vital.

Give all the information your customers want upfront. Try to boil down your pages into a single, attention-grabbing sentence.

Use Keywords

Google rewards web pages with meta descriptions which contain keywords (the words that users type into the search bar). Put one or two keywords in your tags. Don’t overuse keywords.

Make Your Descriptions Unique

Google and other search engines don’t like duplicate content, even for meta tags. It might be tempting to cut and paste your descriptions for different pages, but it won’t help your website SEO. Try to create unique, informative content for each page. Google and your users will reward you.

Avoid Spam

Search engines know what spam looks like, just as your mildly-educated internet user does. META DESCRIPTIONS IN ALL CAPS LOOK LIKE SPAM – so don’t use them. Google will pick up on it. Keep things simple, informative, and compelling. Remember, you want people to come to your site.

If Selling, Tell Customers What Differentiates You

Website page descriptions are a great way to tell customers what makes you different from everyone else on the list of search results. Don’t wait until they reach your site to inform them. Spill the beans there and then.

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