When it comes to on-page SEO, your meta descriptions play a vital role in attracting clicks from SERPs. In this post, we’ll give you an in-depth look at what meta descriptions are, how long they should be, and how you can make the most of them improve your SEO.
According to a BrightEdge study, 68% of online experiences begin with a search engine. This means the content on the SERPs needs to be optimised and user-friendly.
Therefore, your meta title and meta description title tags should be descriptive and persuasive to make people click on them. However, one crucial thing you should consider when optimising your meta description tag is its length.
There is an optimal meta description length that you should follow. In this post, we will talk about the right meta description length, the best practices, and more.
What is a Meta Description?
A meta description is a short description of a webpage that appears on the search engine results page (SERP). It is intended to give the searcher an idea of the page and potentially encourage them to click through to the website.
The meta description should be concise and descriptive and use relevant keywords for the page content. In addition, the meta description should be eye-catching and encourage the searcher to click through to learn more. Meta descriptions are an essential part of on-page SEO and can help to improve click-through rates and organic traffic.
The Optimal Meta Description Length
Technically, meta descriptions can be any length. However, Google wants you to keep your meta descriptions between 155 and 160 characters. Remember that the correct meta description length will vary depending on the situation, but your main goal should be to drive clicks and deliver value to your target audience.
What is a Meta Title?
A meta title is the H1 title tag of a web page. The title tag is the HTML element that specifies the title of a web page. The title tag is typically displayed in the browser’s tab and is also used by search engines to determine the ranking of a web page. A meta title should be concise and descriptive and use relevant keywords for the page content. In addition, the meta title should be eye-catching and encourage the searcher to click through to learn more. Meta titles are an essential part of on-page SEO and can help to improve click-through rates and organic traffic.
Ideal Meta Title Length
The ideal meta title length is between 50 and 60 characters. Meta titles that are too long may be truncated in the search engine results pages (SERP), and meta titles that are too short may not be effective at ranking or driving clicks. The key is to find a balance between being descriptive and concise.
What Happens if the Meta Description Doesn’t Meet the Optimal Length
Is your meta description length too long? Or perhaps, it’s too short? What happens next?
As mentioned, there is no “set” minimal meta description length that should be followed. However, you want it long enough so that your readers can instantly get the gist of what the web page is all about.
On the other hand, if your meta description length is too short, it won’t be able to communicate the right message to your online audience effectively.
So, which is better? More is better when it comes to meta descriptions. However, if the meta description exceeds 160 characters, it can be truncated in whatever way the Google search results see fit.
When it comes to your SEO, it can either impact your ranking or not on the search results. Always remember that there is always the potential to send your audience elsewhere if you don’t optimise your title and meta description properly.
The Characteristics of a Good Meta Description
It is important to craft meta descriptions that are both informative and appealing. Doing so will help you rank better on the search results. To achieve this, meta descriptions should be concise, well-written, and relevant to the page’s content to improve the click-through-rate. Additionally, they should avoid jargon and include target and secondary keywords.
Following these guidelines can help ensure that your meta descriptions effectively drive traffic to your website from a search result.
Understand User Intent
Meta titles and descriptions that include a question have a 14.1% higher CTR than those without, and titles with emotional sentiment that connect to the browser’s interests, desires and pain points have a 7% higher CTR. (Backlinko, 2022)
A good meta description should include a well-researched focus keyword and secondary keywords, if possible. Search engines will usually bold the keyword in the description when your target audience search for it. You can also have other target terms or long-tail ones that will drive users to convert.
Title Tag and On-Page Content Match
Your meta description should convey the same message as your title tag and on-page content. Your title and meta description should include the same target keywords. Doing so will signify to search engines and users the relevance of the searcher’s query.
Consider your meta description of your sales text, which means that it should have a clear CTA. A CTA will direct your audience to take your desired action via the meta description.
The Best Practices to Follow to Write Effective Meta Descriptions
Keep It Short and Sweet
Meta descriptions are valuable to both users and search engines. By informing crawlers about your web pages’ content and inform and engage browsers searching for valuable content. Google and Bing will pull these descriptions in search results, but you’re writing users and no search engines. You can always use a meta title length checker to ensure your title and meta description reaches the right character count length.
Use Your Keywords Wisely
Meta descriptions are an excellent place to put keywords and phrases relevant to your business. It is an effective way to be more visible in search results. If you are using the same key terms for your meta description and webpage, you are going to be giving searchers what they are looking for.
You don’t want just to fill your meta description with keywords, making it appear spammy, and you will look like a low-quality website. Instead, you will want to use them in a smart, and strategic way.
Keep it Relevant
The last thing you want is to craft a meta description irrelevant to the page. When this happens, users who click on your website will become confused and click away. You will also waste an opportunity to inform users about your business and what you do. That’s why it’s essential to ensure your meta titles and meta description are relevant.
Keep It Updated
Don’t just write your meta title and meta description mindlessly. The whole point of optimising meta titles and meta descriptions is to keep them updated as you make changes to your website.
When you make a change to your website, it may be necessary to create a new meta description. That’s because meta descriptions are there to inform users of what your site is about.
So, make sure you keep your meta description updated to give users an accurate description of the page they are on.
Use Action Words
It may be challenging to write a compelling meta title and meta description, but one tip that we recommend is to use action words. Action words encourage a user to take action. Using these words will effectively communicate to the user why they should click through your website.
Keep Your Meta Descriptions Clean
You don’t want your meta description to look like a jumbled mess. When writing a meta description, make sure it’s not filled with improper punctuation or unnecessary commas.
Have a Personal Touch
As mentioned, including a keyword in your meta description is a must. However, you always want to make sure that it is peppered with human and emotion-driven language. Therefore, this will make it more interesting for the user.
Using the right language is going to give the user a better idea of what the page is about, which will, in turn, increase the chance of them clicking through.
Make Sure It’s Error-Free
One of the biggest mistakes marketers make when it comes to using meta descriptions is spelling or grammar errors, and this can ruin users’ perception of your brand could make them click away.
Users don’t have the time to figure out what you’re trying to say. They want a clean, understandable description of what your website is about.
Make sure your meta description and webpage are free of any typos or errors so you can provide the user with a high-quality and enjoyable experience.