Do you think meta descriptions still matter? While it’s not a strong signal for search engines to rank your site better, it will however affect your clickthrough rate.
Remember, there are TEN sites competing for your reader’s attention in the search results. So if you want to increase your chances of getting clicked, then read this article to optimize your meta descriptions.
Meta Descriptions Complement Your Headlines
Your title and description are like bread and butter, both working in synergy to deliver one common goal. Sure, you can create killer headlines and be successful at attracting clicks. But still, there are people who want to know more about what your article is, so they head over to the description to find more details.
Now by default, plugins like All-In-One SEO and Yoast are automatically doing the job of creating your meta descriptions and often, it’s the first paragraph of your page that they display upfront.
However, it’s not always the case. At times, these plugins might pick a middle part in your blog post and connect it with an ellipsis (…). In special cases, they will even mix multiple parts of your content into your description. The worst case? They might put symbols and numbers that don’t make any sense at all!
If you were doing the search, wouldn’t you get frustrated if that’s what is shown to you?
This is why I’m stressing the importance of adding a meta description “manually” so that you will have more control over your content. Yes, it will take up some of your time. But once you master the craft, it could potentially become a powerful sales pitch that will attract more clicks to your website.
Best Ways to Pump Up Your Descriptions
You are given at most 155 characters to explain what your page is all about. Exceed that and you’ll end up cutting your description with an ellipsis. So how can you entice people to click by leveraging that small writing space? Given below are the ways you can do that.
1. Benefit-Driven Descriptions
People don’t want to waste time, so make sure to include what’s in it for them when they click your website. Include the benefits of following the advice from your content. If what they’re looking for happens to be in your description, then you can expect a nice click from them.
Offer them help, advice, or an end goal that they can achieve through your content. Whatever value you can give, make sure you are showing your sincere concern for them and not use any form of deception.
2. Shoot for Relevance
If you know your target audience well, then make sure you let them feel that through your meta description. Narrow your focus well and be specific with what your content is all about so that you can get quality clicks from search engines. That’s how relevance works.
One way you can do this is by indicating in your description who you are talking to. Include some demographics such as beginners, job applicants, Americans, and athletes. Another way is by providing a summary of your blog post to better show people the details of your page.
3. Add Credibility through Social Proof
Do you want readers to click for sure? Add a social proof in your description to instantly build trust and credibility with your readers. It is a strong element of persuasion and influence that you can use to convince reader to click to your page.
Include words or phrases like “proven by experts”, “research shows that”, “millions of people”, “according to [organization/author]”, or “backed by science” because they indicate social proof and authority in your content. Just don’t forget to elaborate the details inside the article to be safe.
4. Make Them Think Hard and Curious
Another thing you can do in your meta description is share some facts and thought-provoking questions to people. Readers tend to get curious if they find something interesting and a worthy read. So if you can spark that curiosity, then it will guarantee clicks to your website.
In general, you should aim to leave an incomplete thought to your readers and make them realize that your content can explain it in full detail. Since you can only write at most two sentences in the meta description, then include words that will help trigger that curiosity in them.
5. Use Power Words
Not all words are created equal. Some of them stand out and make a bigger impact than others. That’s why such list of “power words” exists and has proven beneficial to a lot of people, including marketers. If you can incorporate some of them into your meta description, then you will do awesome.
To get you started, visit this page for a full list of power words which I find really helpful for me. It’s well-organized to meet your needs and you can use it to choose the right words for virtually any type of blog post.
A Powerful Description is Nothing without Great Content
When you have crafted a great headline and meta description, it’s only a matter of time before you can see the results. That’s why I want you to focus on getting these two SEO elements right. Practice them with every post you make by tweaking and revising words and even whole sentences until you are satisfied with your craft.
Basically the more time you spend in practice, the better your results will be. Just observe your click-through rate (CTR) over time to find out whether you’re improving or not.
Okay, so now people are coming into your website and they’re starting to read your content. The next question I’ll ask you then is, “How great is your content?”
You see, getting clicks is just one part of the game. The next challenge you will face is getting them to stay and engage with your content.
Does your website answer your reader’s problems? Have you delivered what you’ve promised in your meta titles and descriptions? Is your content relevant to your audience? You may want to look at the bigger picture of your blog posts and see whether people are really engaged with your content or not.
Pay no attention to this and the readers you’ve long acquired will bounce off your site like a pogo stick, heading towards your competitor’s website with better content.
Now if you feel daunted by the amount of work that you have to do (for SEO and your content), you might want to seek support by joining a community of online marketers and bloggers or educate yourself more on the subject.
Why don’t you check my other related blog posts to start off:
Thanks for reading my blog post. If you have any questions or insights regarding meta descriptions, just let me know in the comments below.