Have you ever done a Google search and seen all the ads that show up on the top and bottom of the page? These ads will have the name of the product or service the company sells and some links to relevant pages on the site. Some of these ads will also contain contact information and details about pricing.
Advertising on Google might be a viable way to get more customers for some businesses, but if you’re a business owner that’s looking for a cheaper solution to your problem, we’d like to talk about an alternative which can also get you the leads you need to grow your business.
Through writing killer meta descriptions, you can potentially improve and boost the click-through-rate on your website and be able to attract new visitors without having to pay much more out of your pocket for the leads.
In this post, we will give you a rundown on how and why meta descriptions work and how you can make full use of them to maximize your opportunity to increase sales and revenue for your business.
Understanding Human Psychology in Marketing
Before typing a single word for your meta description, you have to understand the way that people operate when they’re looking for products and services online. Most people are going to skim through a couple of pages until something grabs their attention. There’s a phenomenon called inattentional blindness that many people often experience.
The American Psychological Association describes intentional blindness as a “failure to perceive things right in front of our eyes.” What does this have to do with online marketing and writing fantastic meta descriptions? It means everything when you take the time to think about it. Think about how bombarded the world has become with phones and social media comprising much of the time people spend.
With the heightened presence of social media and smartphones also creates information overload. There’s a ton of information out there, but it’s harder to find valuable information that is useful.
With 90-95% of website content going unread, you have to do all that can be done to grab someone’s attention and convince them to check out your site. A strong meta description allows you to take advantage of these realities and make someone’s internet browsing experience a little more comfortable too.
What is a Meta Description?
Meta descriptions are almost like the paid ads you see on Google, only you won’t see any ad icon beside the domain URL. The purpose of a meta description is to describe what your page is about. In HTML, meta descriptions are part of one of the meta tags. There are also meta tags where you can add keywords and the title of your page and add them in the element.
If all of this is sounding technical to you, don’t worry. There are tools you can use to add meta descriptions where you never have to write a single line of code, but we’ll get to that later in this article. For the geeks out there, however, we’ll include an example of what this code looks like for your convenience.
Also, another cool tip for anyone looking to find examples of meta descriptions without having to Google them, you can always hit the right part of your mouse and click on “View Page Source” in Google Chrome, use the Find feature, and you’ll find all the meta tags on any given page.
How to Write a Killer Meta Description
Now that you know what a meta description is and how it works, you have what you need to be able to start writing them yourself if you want. The length of a meta description as of currently is 160 characters, although in the past Google has changed the range of a meta description in search result snippets to be up to 320 characters. This goes to show that SEO is always changing because of the changes Google makes to its algorithm, search engine crawling, and meta description lengths.
Don’t let this discourage you, however. Regardless of what length a meta description can be to show up fully in search engine results, the same principles still apply, and you will be able to increase your website click-through-rates if you follow these simple steps to writing great meta descriptions.
Step One: Look at Your Niche
What niche is your business in and what are the most unique characteristics your company has that others in your competition don’t? Similar to how you would conduct keyword research, you have to always be thinking about what your business is about, what it sells, and what customers you want to have visiting your site. All of these factors will determine the way you’re going to write your meta descriptions.
Step Two: Perform Basic Keyword Research
This part shouldn’t be too hard If you’ve already done some preliminary work examining what keywords your competitors are ranking for. It is very important that you know what keywords you need to include for your meta description so your pages will be able to show up when people search for terms about your business.
If you’re not familiar with how to do keyword research, please read our guide on performing keyword research for small businesses and you will learn a lot there.
Step Three: Look At Your Competition
You should always look at what your competitors are doing for inspiration and brainstorm ways you can undercut them with the meta descriptions you will write. Look at the competitors that show up on the first page on Google and try to figure out what their meta descriptions have and not only try to replicate what works for those businesses but find any opportunity you can to make your business stand out.
Step Four: Use Best Copywriting Practices
Here’s where copywriting becomes so important. You can’t expect anyone to click on your website if the meta description you write doesn’t persuade someone to take action. Treat your meta descriptions like a 30-second elevator pitch and realize that you have to sell your product in a limited amount of character space.
The easiest way to write a meta description that sells is to always mention your unique selling proposition and any special deals or discounts you offer. Be honest and truthful about what you’re offering in your meta descriptions and don’t try to make misleading promises.
Lastly, write meta descriptions custom made for each page and make each of them unique from each other. Many small business websites have duplicate meta descriptions on every page which limit their effectiveness and lower the SEO value of those sites.
Other Meta Description Facts
Most of the time, you should be writing your own meta descriptions on each page of your site, but there are also times where Google can find other keywords on your page and display text from those parts.
This is possible when your website content has semantically related keywords added into the text. It’s an added benefit of having excellent website content, and to read more about how to develop amazing website content yourself, you can read guide on how to do so here.
Sometimes, a great meta description will have sitelinks at the bottom to other pages on your site. You will usually see this with meta descriptions for the home page, so try your best, and you may have something like this for your website too:
As we mentioned earlier, you never have to write any HTML code yourself when there are great tools in WordPress like Yoast SEO where you can create your meta descriptions from there. We’ll have a post soon which will teach you how to use Yoast SEO to your advantage.
Meta descriptions are important for helping your small business seal the deal on its SEO and digital marketing. Often the only thing standing in the way of getting more leads naturally is not having meta descriptions on a site at all or a bunch of duplicates that don’t tell the user much about what your business Is about.
We hope you have found the information in this article useful for your needs. If you’d like to schedule a free consultation with one of our local Atlanta digital marketing and SEO experts, please call 470-440-3434 or email [email protected] for more information. We can also run a free SEO website audit to see if your website is missing any meta descriptions.