Write better meta descriptions for your business website
Meta descriptions introduce your company to the world. Make the most of your search engine results by optimising yours for online marketing today!
Your meta description is the short nugget of info that displays in search engine results pages (or SERPs). The above image show a typical results page with examples highlighted.
Too frequently, small businesses and web developers overlook the humble meta description. But consider this: your page’s meta description is often the first impression that a search engine user and potential customer will get about your company.
So, as with any other info that represents your company in the public domain, you should make the best use of it. Luckily, we’re here to point out how to craft a cunning little slice of marketing info that will help optimise one more part of your website.
Back to basics: the essentials of meta descriptions
Let’s get straight to the point: there are several factors that you should definitely respect when you are writing page meta descriptions. Quickly, these are:
- 155 character limit, spaces included
- Keyword relevancy
- Unique content
Any meta description that is longer than 155 characters will be cut off by Google, as in the below examples: note the “…” at the end of the second lines. As a result, you should really think about keeping yours as a distinct standalone message within that limit.
There’s very little point in having a message that says “Call us on …” with your phone number cut off, if your competitors have a Freephone number listed in the next entry.
To signify relevance to search engines and human users, your meta description should contain your page title keywords verbatim. That’s “exactly the same” if your Latin isn’t so hot. See below for an example.
Like a newspaper sub-headline expands on a headline, your meta description should tell human viewers and Google a little more about the page content. And for best practice optimisation, you want to show total consistency of subject matter.
Just like page content, you don’t want to be sending a message that your content is ripped off from elsewhere or created lazily and with no forethought. A unique meta description proves that this page is talking about something fresh and new. And besides, there are so many elements that you should include for uber-optimisation.
Advanced tactics: better metas
It’s not hard to create unique meta descriptions when you consider that they present an opportunity to sell your company before a potential customer has even clicked through to your site. Think about the following items that you should use to give your metas more meat:
- Business Location
- Contact info
- Call to Action
- Company Name
USPs (Unique Selling Points)
It definitely doesn’t hurt to push your benefits from the second the customer encounters your business. If you have a Freephone number and the next SERP entry doesn’t, it could be a deciding factor in who the customer calls. Popular USPs to display include:
- 0800 numbers
- Free quotations or surveys
- No call-out charges
- 24-hour hotlines
Particularly if your business serves local customers directly, whether they visit your location or you go to theirs, your location should be included to help attract local search.
Tied in with some of the USPs, it makes complete sense to start guiding your customer on the journey that you want them to follow. Whether you prefer phone contact or email, you should include that information to drive the right conversion from SERPs.
Call to Action (or CTA)
A CTA is marketing speak for “guiding your customer to the desired response”. Adding your desired outcome into the meta description helps tell the reader how they should use your service. Popular CTAs include:
While not vital, it may not hurt to include your company’s name for brand identification and people who search for your business name. Adding it also reduces the chance of your meta description appearing generic.
Sample optimised meta description
Ideally your meta descriptions should look something like this:
Or, once deconstructed:
- Page title keywords (including location)
- Company name
- Call to Action
- Contact info
Now, you should have all the info you need to get more from your metas. But just in case, check out our top tips to feed your inspiration.
- Look at other examples. You could use the images above, but it may be better to check out the meta descriptions of your competitors and see how they’re selling themselves
- Keep an eye on the better written Paid ads in the right-hand column as well, as richer companies often A/B split test their ads for optimal effectiveness
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