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8 Tips For Writing Meta Descriptions

meta-tagThe meta description tag on your site is one important aspect when it comes to search engine optimization. It is supposed to contain a short and concise description of your page. This is then used by the search engines to provide a description used in your search engine listings. While many agree it does not carry a particularly large amount of weight for conversion optimization, a properly written meta description (which is essentially a summary of your site content) will increase the likelihood that users will enter your site. This is the actual HTML format:

The 8 important tips when creating meta description tags are as follows:

1. Always limit your description to 200 characters. Somewhere between 170 and 200 is best. Most search engines do not use more than this, so it is not useful to make it longer. You also run the risk of having it cut off mid-description if your copy is too lengthy. Short and sweet is the best way to go.

2. Think of your description in terms of ad copy. Since competition for keywords is fierce these days, you will often be competing with up to 20 other sites for a click. You need to really stand out from the others to entice the users. A boring description will lead to less clicks, and in turn less sales.

3. A call to action is very important. Include a phone number or address in your description. If this is done, often a user will not even click; they can just call or mail instead of visiting your site. With the advent of Skype this is especially useful, as the phone number often shows up as automatically able to dial.

4. Keywords, just like in the body of the website, are still important. Even though most search engines do not use meta tags for rankings, keywords still grab the attention of clickers. Make the keywords in your meta description match the content of your page for the best possible results. This can also make your site stand out from the others in the search engines.

5. Use a different description for each page on your site. Using the same boring description on each page will make your site seem generic and dull. If all your pages are indexed having similar descriptions for every page this will typically result in less clicks.

6. Make sure you double-check to make sure you have meta descriptions. Google uses a chunk of text from your page if there is no meta description, and this can result in awful search listings.

7. Offer something of use related to your niche in your meta description. Offering a free report or download near the beginning of your description which can entice people to click on your listing.

8. Do not stuff your description with keywords. Remember that the search engines do not use the description to rank your page, so too many keywords will only make your description seem unnatural. Pick one or two based on your page to focus on.

Follow the above tips and you should be well on your way to well clicked search engine listings.

Written By

Elizabeth Murphy is a contributing writer for Invesp, a company which specializes in conversion optimization and unique landing page design.

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Nawaz

    July 14, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    According to my knowledge almost all search engines use 160 characters and it is useless to write more than 160 characters in description.

  2. jandelaria

    July 15, 2011 at 5:31 am

    Hmm.. I really got a lot to learn about these stuff.. thanks for this very informative post! 😀

  3. Josh

    July 26, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    Wow great, really very informative post, thanks for sharing the above information. Please share On-page information if your have.

  4. Wholesale Suppliers

    August 10, 2011 at 11:25 am

    I think the meta description of 140 words is enough because it is the demand of major search engines. Meta description tags are very important for a successful website. It is mostly used to explain the contents of the website paged as a means to support marketing message. Excellent post

    http://www.facebook.com/DailyTrader

  5. Akash Kumar

    September 12, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    Even if you have a meta description tag search engines not always use it they may use your webcopy or your description from Dmoz or Yahoo Directory (if you are listed there).

  6. Kingsley

    June 17, 2013 at 9:56 am

    hmmmm…. I’m really guilty of number 8. I guess it’s time to reduce the number of keywords I’ve stuffed on my meta description.
    Thanks for the correction.

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