5 Meta Description Best Practices for SEO [2020]

A Meta description is a part of the HTML attribute that provides a summary of the web page. It is displayed in the search result and helps to influence the click-through-rates.

If the description is not right, it'll also affect your SEO strategy. Google still maintains its stand for not using Meta description as a ranking signal, but it is still the most critical on-page element for optimization.

It not only affects the traffic but also clicks. It affects the overall engagement of the website, and it indirectly boosts the search ranking. It also attracts the target audience to your website.

Your short snippets are still prime real estate in search results, grabbing attention and influencing turnovers. So, it's time to revisit and refresh those best practices to ensure your descriptions are SEO-savvy and current. If you need help in this arena, a Sydney SEO expert or a similar one in your location may be valuable.  

Why Meta Description is Important for SEO?

Not directly, but Meta description impacts the three ranking factors that are correlated to Google ranking. A good description of the page generates clicks on the web links; be it social media or SERP.

It aligns with the page content that follows, which results in engaged users. Search engines like Google love pages that are engaging.

A content that is differentiated by the Meta description can arise interest and result in the user clicking the web link or page than that of the competitor's link. So, it's an amazing way to drive CTR that results in more traffic on the site.

Think of your meta description as a miniature billboard for your brand. Infuse it with your unique voice and value proposition to set yourself apart from competitors in the search results. This strategy can boost brand awareness and attract qualified leads. 

A well-written meta description also informs users what they'll find on your page before they even click. This transparency reduces bounce rates and keeps users engaged once they land on your site. 

Lastly, many social media platforms pull snippet descriptions when sharing your content. A captivating meta description can entice users to share your page, expanding your reach beyond search engines.

Code and Character Limit

You need to keep in mind that the description should be in the below code sample format:

"<head><meta name="description"

content="This is an example of a meta description.

This will often show up in search results."></head>"

Google keeps changing the length of the character limit of the Meta description. Earlier the ideal length of description was 300, but now it's 150 to 160 characters.

A  description should be read in a natural and non-spammy way. It should employ the right keywords the page is targeting and should be relevant to the web page.

Meta Description Best Practices For SEO

1] Write Compelling Content

The Meta description tag serves the function of ad copy from an SEO perspective. It attracts the users to the website from SERP. It's not only visible but an important part of search marketing.When you create a readable and compelling description, it can improve the page ranking of the site.

To maximize the click-through-rates on the search pages, it's important to note that Google and other search engine bold the keywords in the description when they match the search queries. This bold text draws the searchers, so the description should match the keywords a user searches for.

It should provide a promising value to the user and understand the pain points. If the content is interesting, it also improves the brand building.

Write actionable content that gives you the best results for the website. It should serve the purpose of the optimization part. A good sales pitch with a bad product won't help, the same goes for the content of Meta description.

2] Research Your Audience Well

It is important to capture users' attention with the right description. When you write the content for Meta description, you need to understand the needs of your target audience.

Your content has to match up to the need, and your description part should act as your sales pitch. You need to understand the right intention behind the search query and deliver according to that intent.

Defining your audience's demographics, interests, and pain points is also best. This way, you can tailor your meta description to resonate with their needs and desires. More importantly, use clear, concise language appropriate for your audience's level of understanding. As much as possible, avoid jargon and overly technical terms. 

Lastly, every piece of content should offer value. Provide solutions, insights, or information your audience seeks in your meta description.

If the user searches for "best brandedshoes." This is an informational query where the user is searching for the product before making a buying decision.

So, now you need to write a description that targets the user searching for shoes. It should tell the user about different shoes available. It should be based on the reviews from runners and experts. It should be updated according to the current list.

3] Avoid Duplicate Tags and Quotation Marks

If you're using title tags, then Meta descriptions on every page should be unique.Write an original piece for every description as this will affect the SERP ranking. If you need to use the same description, merge the two pages to avoid writing for any one page. Duplicate content can confuse the users if they are making an internal site search.

Don't use the quotation marks in the description as Google generally cuts off the content that is quoted when it appears in the SERP. You need to remove all the non-alphanumeric characters from the Meta descriptions.

If you need to add the quotation marks, then you have a choice of using them in the HTML entity rather than the double quotes to avert truncation.

4] Include Your Focus Keywords in the Description

If the search keyword that the user uses to search in Google matches the part of the description, then it's highlighted in the results. This will link to your website, which will increase website traffic.

You need to perform keyword discovery to find the best keyword, then include it in the description part of SEO. Always include the value prepositions, as that'll give the readers reason to click on your link by explaining the benefits they'll receive by visiting your page.

Maintain an active voice as it's an interesting and easier way to understand. Meta descriptions that are written in active voice help to engage the users and also hold their attention.

Use the keywords correctly but don't overuse them. Always place the keyword in front of the title tag. You should focus on the readers and not only the search engines. Include your brand name wherever it's relevant.

5] Know What's Trending and Update

As an internet marketer, it's important to know what is trending in the industry. If there is an update regarding the Meta description and its ranking policy, you'll need to update your content accordingly.

If there is a change in the word count of the description, you should update it according to Google terms. If you don't update, then it might affect the ranking & traffic of your website.

Don't give too much information in your meta description as too much information may result in no click, and you don't want that to happen, right?

To Conclude,

Write an actionable description, click-worthy, and engaging. You should have a separate description for every page as that'll affect the click-through-rate of the website. To ensure a faster crawl rate, you need to have a good internal linking structure and an updated sitemap.

There is no predefined way to write optimized descriptions for your website, so you need to understand the user intent and write the content based on that.

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