When working in SEO, you need to optimize for users AND for search engines And there are different ways to do each of those things. But what if we told you there is ONE thing you can do to improve optimization for both? Because guess what? There is!
We’re talking about meta descriptions!
Meta descriptions are HTML tags that describe the content on any given webpage. Whether you realize it or not, you see them every time you perform a search query. They’re the small excerpts that show up under each URL on the search engine results page. “But what does this have to do with optimization?” you may ask…
Well, first and foremost, meta descriptions help users looking at the SERP to understand what is on your page and how your content helps to answer their query. Really, this description is a “pitch” to prove to users why your content is best, so optimizing it for that purpose is clearly useful. And when properly written, a meta description is a direct reflection of a page’s content, so only users who will find use of the content will click. In turn, this improves the click-through rate of your page, which boosts the page’s ranking on the SERP. And bonus points if the searcher’s keyword is in your description – that will help with ranking too!
So, it’s clear that optimizing meta descriptions can be useful in terms of both humans and robots. Now, let’s take a look at how to go about doing this. Meta descriptions should be 1-2 sentences, or 160 characters, that describe the content accurately. Make sure to use frequently searched keywords that relate to the content to help with ranking and appeal to users. Google will even put the keyword in bold print when a search is made, highlighting your page’s relevancy to users. But make sure not to use the same meta description for multiple pages. It is better to let Google automatically generate your descriptions than to use the same one over and over.
And if you can’t write unique descriptions for all pages on your website, that’s totally normal! Some sites have hundreds or thousands of pages. Focus on the important pages, like the homepage and “contact us” pages.
So, we have told you what meta descriptions are, why they are important, and how to write them. But let’s finish off with an example to make sure you really got it down.
If you have a Chevrolet dealership in San Antonio Texas called “Wiki Chevrolet,” you want to appeal to those looking for new and used vehicles, trucks and SUVs, and people just looking for a dealership or car service in the area. So, you’d want the meta description for your main webpage to say something like “At Wiki Chevrolet, a new and used SUV, truck, and car dealer in San Antonio, TX, we are ready to find you the perfect vehicle or service the one you already have!” It includes the dealer’s name, the location, AND frequently searched keywords, like “car dealer in San Antonio, TX”
So, there you have it. Now you know what meta descriptions are, why they are important, and how to write them; which means you can further optimize your site for users AND search engines.