Just How Important are Meta Descriptions?

Ian Hancock Search Engine Optimisation

Enter almost any search term in Google and you’ll soon see that most people have not spent a lot of time looking at their meta descriptions. Meta descriptions are the only chance you have to persuade a user to choose your site over the 9 other organic results, as well as the paid listings so it’s crucial that you get them right. The below example shows a BBC meta description that is clear and to the point.

As we all know, when it comes to the internet it’s all about location, location, location. You need to be on the main high street (top of the search results) to do well. However if your shop window (meta description) doesn’t look appealing, people won’t come in (click)!

Whilst they don’t actually add any ranking potential to your site they do serve a huge purpose. However long it takes it’s worth dedicating the time to making sure all of your main landing pages have a thought out meta description.

As well as a description of your service you should always include the following in your 156 characters to ensure a good CTR;

A clear call to action – persuade the searchers to click through to your site, not someone else’s! Use phrases like ‘click here’ or ‘find out more’.

Keywords – although it won’t help your pages rank higher, it will encourage people to click because keywords appear bolded on search results pages.

Benefits of your service – e.g. 50% cheaper, free next day delivery, free quote etc. People are always looking for a good deal, including offers and benefits helps entice people to click through to your site.

If you carefully place all of these three elements in your top landing page descriptions your CTR will increase. It’s not rocket science. The best way to approach it is to ask yourself; ‘what would make me choose one of the ten organic results over all of the others?’ The other thing to remember is to avoid trying to cram too much into your meta description. Keep it clear and simple.