How Do I Write a Meta Description for SEO?

In writing meta descriptions for SEO, you most often start with trying to make use of keywords related to the topic. What are the right kinds of keywords to use for a meta-tag? The best meta description contains more than just the keyword, though.

It must be written in the right tone, encourage the reader to take action and be a particular length, amongst other specifications.  While the keyword is not the only thing that matters in the perfect description, it certainly ranks quite high. Here, we will discuss the best keywords to use and how meta descriptions affect SEO.

Do Meta Descriptions Affect SEO?

Just over 25% of top-ranking pages do not have a meta description. So that means almost 75% have meta descriptions. And out of the remaining odd 75%, 40.61 % have truncated meta descriptions. That leaves just over 30% of search results with complete meta-descriptions or any descriptions at all. Furthermore, Google only shows the page’s meta description 37.22% of the time.

How to Write Meta Descriptions

Does Google Use Meta Description?

Just gathering from those stats, it would seem that in the grand scheme of things, meta-descriptions don’t have that big an impact on your SEO from a ranking’s perspective. More so considering Google’s ranking factors which are more focused on how you answer queries, how relevant the context of your material is and webpage usability.

What Should I Write in a Meta Description?

When trying to write the best meta description, of course, using relevant keywords in context with the topic of your page comes first. You should also consider where your traffic is mostly coming from along with what kind of keywords to use.

Meta descriptions can influence your CTR since they are a preview of what your content is.  So, what should you be writing in your meta descriptions? On average, descriptions only appear in 37.22% of results. You can improve or reduce that number by using certain keywords.

Fat Head or Long Tail Keywords?

In most cases, one would assume the long tail route is the best when finding keywords to use in your meta descriptions. According to a study by Ahrefs, descriptions that contain fat head keywords are shown 40.35% of the time, while those that contain long-tails show 34.38% of the time.

Fat head keywords are made up of one or two words and are a broad umbrella term. E.g., women’s shoes.

Long tail keywords are longer and more specific e.g., women’s outdoor running shoes

Use Popular keywords

The popular keywords can be quite intimidating to gun for. However, when you realize that over 60% of all searches come from 0.16% of the highest search volume keywords, you may be more eager to use them as well. Notably, over 70% of the most popular keywords, that is keywords with a search volume of 10,000 or more, are fat heads.

Should You Use Questions in Your Meta Descriptions?

It’s common practice for some to use people also ask questions as ideas for actual meta descriptions. According to research from Moz, 8% of searches are phrased as questions. This may not be the most effective course. If you are using questions in your meta descriptions, it would be better to make use of fat head keywords and also to answer the question or indicate that the content answers the question.

Mobile or Desktop Search

You need to also understand where the bulk of your traffic is coming from. Mobile smartphone and desktop users tend to search differently.

Over 52% of the world’s internet traffic comes through mobile smartphones. Of all mobile searches, 76% result in the user visiting the business. 28% of those visitors will make a purchase once at the business. Add to that, 30% of mobile searches are location-related. So, if you are getting the bulk of your users via mobile and if you offer a local service, make use of the location.

Ranking better on mobile improves your conversion rates too. On average, a #1 ranking result on mobile gets you 27.7% of the share of all clicks and 19.3% of the clicks on desktop.

Key Takeaway Points

  1. Make use of fat head keywords
  2. Use those popular high search terms. They are popular for a reason.
  3. Optimize for mobile to improve conversions.
  4. Meta descriptions are for the user, not the search engines. So, make sure they are useful valuable to user in order to improve CTR.
  5. Don’t rely too much on questions (use your own discretion and research on this, this may be topic sensitive)