Our article offering four quick tips to writing meta descriptions has been one of most popular articles on our blog to date. Writing a great meta description hasn't changed all that much, but there have been enough changes to social media and search engine rankings to merit a review of the tips to writing great meta descriptions. Since this is something that a lot of folks in our audience are interested in, I have five more quick tips on how to write great meta descriptions:
- Give Each Blog Post a Meta Description - In our last article, we discussed meta descriptions from the angle of having one for each web page. Although that's still key, your blog posts need to each have a unique description as well. It's not enough to use the description of your blog or something equally generic. Take the time to write a description that summarizes what your post is about. If you have a Wordpress blog, you an easily do this by adding a plugin, such as Greg's High Performance SEO or All in One SEO Pack. Scrive also includes a similar function, but calls it the 'subhead'. If you aren't using either, you can also look at the code to add a meta description.
- Include a Call-to-Action - It's important to describe the page, but you want to nudge the reader to click on your link and to read your blog post. To do that, you need to show why your blog post is a worthwhile read. Therefore, it's good to include action words, such as 'discover', 'learn', 'read more', 'a comprehensive how-to' etc. An even better thing to do is to start the description with a call-to-action and end with a similar call-to-action. This positioning allows you to show the value of your blog post.
- Leverage Your Credibility - This one doesn't necessarily apply to blog posts, but is a good trick for your home page and product pages, especially for smaller businesses who might not have brand recognition. Including language such as 'over 10,000 customers' or 'been in business since 1988' makes your business look more trustworthy and reliable. This is particularly good to use if you have intense competition, where they might have descriptions that focus on how great they are and how great they're products are but don't really show why. A credibility statement speaks for itself.
- Social Media Considers Meta Descriptions - If Google+ is an important part of your social media strategy, then you should know that it picks up on the meta description of shared links. Facebook also shows meta descriptions on shared links. This means that meta descriptions aren't just for the search engine results anymore. They aren also a crucial component in having your links look professional and enticing on these networks. The links without a great meta description just look awful when shared on social media.
- Meta Descriptions DO NOT Influence Search Engine Rankings - Since they do not influence how well a page will rank for a keyword, there's not point to stuff our meta description with keywords (there's no point to do that anyway). However, including the same keyword that's in the blog post title does influence whether or not someone will click on your result. Therefore, it's important to write meta descriptions for the searcher and give a compelling reason on why that person should read your content.