We will be discussing meta descriptions in this article and provide you with five tips on how you can improve your ranking on search engines.
For this article, we are going to assume that you are familiar with what meta descriptions are. If not, we invite you to read our guide on meta descriptions.
First off, let’s examine why it is important to have top-notch meta descriptions. The first thing a user sees when visiting your website is the meta description. It is what you want that user to read that will entice them to click through to your site. You have only 70 characters to get your point across, so make it count. If a user doesn’t click on your search result, then it’s just as if they never saw it.
Below you will find some of the most common types of mistakes that bloggers make when writing their meta descriptions. We will then discuss how you can avoid these mistakes and provide an example for each.
Top 6 Meta Description Mistakes
1. Typos in Meta Descriptions
Typos don’t have a place anywhere online no matter how good your content is. Typos especially don’t have a place in your meta descriptions. Make sure to proofread your meta descriptions and use good grammar. To make sure you don’t miss anything, have someone else proofread it for you. If possible, ask someone who has a great grasp of the English language. The last thing you want is to have visitors click on your page because it looked like they were going to get valuable information from it only to find out that the information was useless due to your typos.
Example of what not to do:
Let’s be honest, who wants to visit a site about blogging in broken English?
2. Too Long or Too Short Meta Descriptions
Another common mistake is making your description too long or too short. You want to have something compelling enough to make a visitor click on your page but not too long that it looks like you’re trying to fill up space. The average search result meta description is between 55-65 characters.
3. Not Relevant Enough
While you want to provide a description that entices your audience to visit your website, you also don’t want to completely mislead them. Make sure that your meta descriptions are relevant to the content on your pages. For example, if you run a blog about the best flashlights on the market, it wouldn’t make sense to feature a meta description that says “Learn how to use meta descriptions to improve your rankings on Google.” Stick to what you write about, don’t try to be too clever, and most importantly don’t lie.
4. Not SEO Friendly
Putting in the effort to write unique and engaging meta descriptions and coming into work the next day to find that Google doesn’t like them is quite the wake-up call. Before you publish your meta descriptions, check to see if they are 50 characters or under. If your descriptions are longer than either 55 or 65 characters, try to whittle them down as much as possible.
5. Not Titled with Keywords
The title tag on your page is extremely important. Without it, people won’t know what your site is about. You want to include all the important keywords in your title tag so that when someone searches for it, you will show up. This also applies to your meta descriptions. You want to make sure that your meta descriptions include the same keywords that you used in your title tags. Think of your meta description as an extension of your title tag. If there’s no way anyone would know what your site is about from your title tag, then chances are they won’t figure it out from your meta description either.
6. Trying Too Hard
We understand that meta descriptions are a very important piece of SEO but don’t let this scare you. Sometimes people get caught up in the minutia of search engine optimization to the point where they forget that their job is to provide good content to their readers. We get it, meta descriptions are an important part of SEO and most people don’t pay attention to them because they are just one small component of SEO. Don’t let them overwhelm you the way that they have overwhelmed some bloggers. We’ve seen some meta descriptions that are paragraphs long and sound more like fiction than anything else. Just remember that your job is to write something that entices people to click on your website. That is it. Overall, don’t stress about meta descriptions.
Example of what not to do:
Just last week we saw a site that had a meta description over 1,000 characters long!
5 Tips for Writing Better Meta Descriptions
Okay, you now understand the mistakes that people make and how to avoid them. Before you go about writing meta descriptions for your website, let’s go over a few tips on how you can provide better meta descriptions. These are pretty common sense but are important points to focus on when creating meta descriptions for your content.
1. Don’t Be Too General
Your meta description doesn’t have to tell the entire story of what your content is about but it also shouldn’t be too vague. If a visitor lands on your page and doesn’t know what they are looking at or what they should be doing, they will leave. You want to make sure that you convey enough information in your meta description without giving away too much. The goal of a meta description is to get the user to click on your content so don’t forget that.
2. Keep it Short
You only have 70 characters to describe your site to potential visitors. It is very easy to imagine someone just scanning your meta descriptions and then moving on if they are too long. It may take a little practice but keep your descriptions as short as possible. Make sure that you include keywords but don’t overdo it.
3. Be Concise
We’ve talked about this already but it bears repeating. Your meta descriptions should be concise and easy to read. There’s no need to repeat yourself either. It’s completely unnecessary to mention the same thing twice. One of the biggest mistakes we see with new writers is going back and forth in their meta descriptions. They start off talking about one idea and then move on to another idea. This is not good because people are glancing at your meta descriptions and if you aren’t consistent in what you are saying, things can get confusing. This will only deter them from clicking on your content.
4. Inject Personality
The biggest mistake that people make is writing boring and bland meta descriptions. Just like with any other form of writing, meta descriptions should be fun to read. It should instantly capture the reader’s attention and intrigue them. You aren’t writing a term paper. You are trying to make people want to visit your site. Let your personality show through in your meta descriptions.
5. Ask for Feedback
Don’t be afraid to ask your friends and family what they think about your meta descriptions. If you have someone who is a great writer, ask them for their opinion. If you don’t have anyone to ask, that’s okay. You can always just ask yourself. Look at your previews and imagine that they are the only thing that someone knows about your site. If they had to make a decision right away about whether or not they wanted to visit your site based on your meta descriptions, would they click on them?
Meta descriptions are extremely important for your site because they are the very first thing that people see when they visit. Not only do you want to make sure that your descriptions will entice people to read more but you also want to make sure that they are SEO friendly and don’t include any typos or bad grammar. Make sure to proofread at least twice before publishing your meta descriptions.
If you need help with your meta descriptions, there are several great tools out there that can help you. For example, you can use Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool to see if your meta descriptions contain any errors. You can also use the Google Adwords Preview tool to see what your meta descriptions will look like in Google search results. Remember to keep testing and re-testing until you have something that you are happy with.