Q: Are meta descriptions still an important ranking factor? Any tips to write an effective meta description?
A: Meta descriptions are really important. In fact, I would say that they are your last hope on SERPs to get more visitors on your website. I see a number of companies lacking in one thing, which is an effective meta description. Digital marketers are not focusing on creating meaningful metas, which could be the reason for not getting lots of leads & customers.
What is a Meta Description?
It is a snippet of information that appears below the link in a search result. A meta description is a summary of the content of the page written with the motive to convince & persuade the searchers to visit the website.
Only a few number of searchers scroll down to the bottom of the page to find results relevant to their search. There are more chances of a detailed, relevant, and crisp meta description result to appear at the top. If your website has managed to hit the top spot, having a detailed and relevant meta description will ensure good click-through rates from organic search.
Writing an Effective Meta Description
While writing a meta description, your motive should be to persuade the searcher to click the link. So, create a description that is clear & stands out to searchers.
A meta description should give searchers an idea of what information they will find inside the page. Use verbs like Grab, Discover, Learn etc. at the start and be specific about what the searchers will get upon clicking.
Provide a Solution or Benefit
The last thing a searcher would want to do is to click “Back” button because he did not get the expected information after clicking the link. If you are concerned about the bounce rate of the website, do pay attention to what you are writing in meta descriptions.
I would suggest you to clearly tell the searchers what they will get upon clicking the link. The meta description should be informative & related to the content you will be showing to the visitors on their next click.
155 Characters Limit
Although, there’s no hard & fast rule for meta description to be under 155 characters but it is considered as a best practice. Google does not measure the meta by characters, in fact it measures by pixels. The reason I say under 155 characters is because Google will cut off a meta description after a certain width.
Say No to Stuffing
If your meta description is stuffed with all the keywords that you are targeting for the website, even if they are not relevant to the page appearing in SERPs, this will have a bad impression on the visitors. Also, if search engine crawlers come across such a keyword stuffed content, it may hurt the rankings of the website.
At last, I would say that a meta description is a chance to win over prospects. It is the sales pitch for your website, so do not leave the opportunity to persuade visitors & turn them into customers. Create engaging meta descriptions that serve the purpose right.
The author is a first generation entrepreneur. He is the founder and CEO of India’s most award winning SEO Agency, PageTraffic. He also works as an advisor and consultant with many large companies. He helps value-conscious businesses build site traffic increase the user base, and boost web sales and bolster customer satisfaction. He can be reached @navneetkaushal on Twitter