How Not to Write a Meta Description
Writing a meta description is sometimes overlooked when it comes to technical SEO. For most website owners and marketers, though, writing “anything” is usually sufficient. A meta description is no longer a ranking indication, and keyword stuffing in the content body no longer helps you rank higher in search engines.
As a result, it’s understandable why some marketers believe it’s not worth the effort to spend time producing a strong meta description.
The meta description, on the other hand, has a significant impact on your potential buyers because it appears in the search engine page results under the link.
If you want your descriptions to appeal to your customers so they will click on your site, you should check out the following tips on how to write the best meta descriptions. In this breakdown, I’ll help teach you how to write a meta description and what not to do when writing one.
1. Don’t Focus on the Number of Characters
It’s commonly known that your meta description should be limited to a particular number of characters. Keep it between 150 and 160 characters, according to SEO experts. However, in December 2017, Google released an update that increased the length of the meta description. We’ve now returned to the 150–160 character range.
That is accurate knowledge, although I would not always stick with the characters in every case. A meta description for a desktop PC, on the other hand, is roughly 158 characters or 920 pixels long. For mobile devices, the meta description length is around 120 characters or 680 pixels.
Luckily, there are many tools that will show you a preview of your meta description copy. I personally use this checker, which shows me the length, both in characters and pixels. Therefore, it is easy for me to write my text without focusing only on the number of characters.
Here’s an example of how to write a meta description that fits the pixel recommendation but not the character limit:
I wouldn’t suggest writing what you see above, but when you’re learning how to write a meta description, it’s important to see how the restrictions can be adjusted based on what you’re writing.
2. Don’t Duplicate Your Meta Description
Even though the duplicate description doesn’t mean a quality problem with your website, I would rather keep it empty. In that case, Google will generate it automatically from the page content. In the end, the generated meta description can look much better than the description which provides the same information every time to your potential customers.
If you are not able to write a unique meta description for every page on your site, which is perfectly normal, you don’t have to panic. Focus on the most important pages like the homepage, main category pages, and the pages that bring you the most traffic.
If you have thousands or even millions of pages on your site, you can also create a template and generate new meta descriptions, while only changing the keywords, like in the examples below.
3. Don’t Forget Keywords in Your Copy
Be sure to use the right keywords in your meta description that is the most relevant to your page content. I am sure that many people admire creativity, but in this case, you should think about the keywords that your customer will be looking for.
If not, a search engine crawls the very first sentence that consists of relevant keywords and shows it in the search results. Like in this case, where I was searching for travel gifts, I found this description that didn’t make any sense.
I was curious about an original meta description, so I looked for it:
I liked the creativity of the copy, but unfortunately, the missing keywords made it so that I didn’t see this description, but instead, I saw the irrelevant one.
4. Don’t Write Boring Descriptions
Large selection of clothes, shoes, and design accessories. Sound familiar? Or even boring?
Writing the meta description is one of the few ways to show creativity in on-page SEO. Here you have the chance to stand out in front of your audience. Take a look at these tips on how to do that:
1. Be specific in what you are offering.
Trying to describe your landing page in a few characters is difficult, but if you are specific enough, or even when you write a few examples, you can’t go wrong with it. I like this description from Asos because I can really imagine what I will see after clicking on this result.
2. Make your customers curious. Don’t put all of your cards on the table right away, but keep something up your sleeves. Sometimes just the simple use of question marks or an unfinished sentence can make your customers really want to click on it. This one makes me curious, but I would reduce those questions a little bit.
3. Use symbols or numbers.
Other than letters, different characters can definitely catch people’s attention. In your meta description, you can include a price or the quantity of products. This one caught my eye because I’m not used to seeing symbols like these in search results.
4. Include a call to action.
Although it is merely my opinion, I would not include a very direct call to action in the meta description, such as “Read more!” or “Buy now!” It’s possible that the customers will find it excessively aggressive. Instead, like in the example below, I would include a call to action in the copy. I like the word “Discover” at the start of a great sentence over “Discover now!” towards the end of the copy.
5. Talk about them, not about you. This is one of the most crucial copywriting standards to remember, especially when crafting short copy such as the meta description. Nobody cares how amazing you believe you are; they’re only interested in what’s in it for them.
The meta description that follows is an excellent example of both good and awful copy. I like the beginning because it makes me want to eat something to fulfil my hunger. However, their comment at the end of the copy perplexes me because it appears to be gloating to me.
5. Don’t Be Lazy | Set Up Structured Data
Even though this one is not particularly connected to the copy, it will help you stand out with your meta description in SERPs.
If you have reviews on your website or you can provide recipes, you shouldn’t be ignoring structured data in any case.
You can also have your logo or company information in SERPs, making your company more attractive, especially when somebody is looking for your brand.
You can set up even the most basic structured data, like breadcrumbs.
Around 57% of the big companies don’t have structured data set up for their pages. This is your chance to stand out more than your competitors.
Don’t be lazy and just start with it now. It is much easier than how it might appear at first sight. Google guidelines will help you with all the basics!