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Writing Effective Meta Descriptions

In advising our clients on ways to improve their website visibility, we often find that including effective meta descriptions has been overlooked. Meta descriptions are very important for a few reasons. Adding meta descriptions to your website is a simple improvement that can greatly enhance not only rankings and visibility, but also increase the likelihood of someone clicking on your page in the search results.

Writing Effective Meta Descriptions

The first step in writing more effective meta descriptions is understanding their purpose. It used to be that search engines were the primary target audience for meta descriptions, but improvements to Google algorithms and search result listings changed that. Meta descriptions also appear as part of the text that displays to describe a search result. So your meta description serves as a teaser, motivating a reader to click and read your content.

Here are some simple suggestions for writing effective meta descriptions:

  • Aim for a character length of between 130 to 155 characters. The number of characters Google decides to show varies, but this is a safe range in most cases.
  • Include a Call-to-Action. Again, you want to entice readers by inviting them to “learn more” or “try it now.”
  • Make sure the description matches the page content. You could be penalized if Google thinks you are pulling tricks for clicks. Don’t promise something you aren’t delivering.
  • Include a keyword in the description. Google will be more likely to use that meta description and bold it in the search results if the search keyword matches text in your meta description.

Your biggest challenge in writing effective meta descriptions is keeping them confined to the recommended character limit. Fortunately, this gets easier the more you do it!  It is well worth the time and effort because they can easily provide a nice boost for your visibility and get you more clicks!