The meta description can best be described as a sneak preview on your website. They help a visitor make the decision to go ahead and click on the link and eventually you can get a conversion. For this reason, it is important that you put your best foot forward, picture yourself as a movie maker trying to create a preview or trailer for your audience.
Even though this just has to be a short description, there is a lot to put into consideration to ensure you hit the mark.
That said, here are 7 tips to write a powerful and effective meta description that converts.
How to Write Effective Meta Descriptions That Convert
1. Keep it Short
You may find many suggestions on the number of characters you should use. The basic thing to note is that you need to be brief and concise because the SERP will end up cutting off part of the text if it exceeds 160 characters.
You, therefore, need to be as precise as possible, on average the general recommendation is between 150 and 155 characters, this way you are sure the entire description will appear and the visitor will be enticed effectively to click and read the content on your website.
But, remember that whatever you include in the meta description should make sense to the visitor and not to the search engine.
2. Include Keywords
Even though the meta description does not really influence your search engine ranking, it is important that you use keywords in there. Remember that the person searching is looking for the most relevant information on a particular subject so it helps if they are able to see some of the keywords that they searched for in the meta description.
Using keywords, however, does not mean you should stuff the description with them. The keywords should flow within the description so that the audience can understand that this is indeed a website that has the information they are searching for.
3. Answer the WIFM Question
WIFM, is an acronym for ‘What’s In It For Me?’
Just about everyone has that question in their mind when they are browsing the internet or even making a buying decision. Your meta description needs to be mindful of this fact, the reader is asking why they should click on your page and not the other ones that have appeared in the search results.
The description should be able to tell the reader what value your page will add to their life once they click on it. You are in competition with the other pages that have shown up and you have just a few words to convince the audience that you are the best fit for them.
4. Make it a Call to Action
Remember you are trying to convert visitors, what better way to enhance conversion by including a call to action in your meta description. This is not advice for you to turn it into a sales pitch, that would just turn off the person.
The call to action should be subtle but effective. This is almost like being able to answer the WIFM question. The reader should be encouraged to click on the link in order to benefit from something.
The call to action could be something like “learn how to get more clicks to your webpage.” As you can see, this is a subtle call to action but in the end, a person looking to get more clicks is more likely to click on the link.
5. Make it Friendly and Perfect
The meta description is like your reception area or front desk manager. You need to make it as inviting as possible. As someone put it, “it can be a smiling doorman or a pissed-off bouncer.”
You may have your page appear first in the search results, but if your description is not inviting enough, you may as well not appear at all in the results.
Stitching together keywords and hurriedly mixing them with verbs and nouns are not going to get you conversions but revulsions.
You should strive to have a welcoming tone in the description and then go ahead to scrutinize it to make sure it is free from any errors. Many people judge a book from the cover and errors on your cover may have them questioning whether they can trust the content inside.
6. Leave it to the Search Engine
As odd as this may sound, sometimes the best-written description is the one not written!
Search engines are also able to pull keywords and the accompanying sentences when you do not have a coded meta description. At times what they will pull out may be the most relevant to the search someone has made. This is the case, especially for long-tail keywords.
Remember this just works in particular situations and especially when dealing with long keywords or a number of them, so pay caution.
7. Continue Learning and Adjusting
The online world is never static, you do well to be as fluid as it is and continue learning. Do not be afraid to experiment, try something out, and keep a close tab on how it works out and then try another if that one is not working well.
Even if a particular keyword may be working well today, it may be necessary to change it tomorrow because it may have lost its appeal. For this reason, you will need to always remain on top of the game, constantly monitoring the performance of your meta descriptions.
You may also need to monitor and learn from your competitors. One of the competitors is Google AdWords, always ensure your description can out-compete those ads.
Final Words on Writing Effective Meta Description
Writing powerful meta descriptions to convert will take time and effort but you will get there eventually. It will make editing and re-editing to come up with the best one, sometimes you can even ask for the opinion of another person.
It is however also important to note that the meta description is only the doorman, so it matters what a person finds when they walk in through that virtual door.
Great content is equally important and the description should actually be an insight into the content on the page. It is never a good experience to watch a great trailer and end up in a terrible movie!
About Ritu Sharma – Ritu Sharma is an SEO specialist & Online Marketing Strategist with over 9 years of professional experience. She is currently working with India’s leading SEO company PageTraffic. She has spearheaded many successful SEO campaigns for PageTraffic.