How to Write Meta Descriptions that Gets Clicks

Meta descriptions are what will entice readers to click on your page and want to read more. Hence, it is an important part of SEO because it can help your click-through rate and reduce your bounce rate. In our guide, we will help you with ways in which you can optimise your meta description to improve your click rate. First, we need to understand what is a meta description in SEO terms.

computer monitor and magnifier for meta descriptions

What is a Meta Description?

A meta description is a snippet that appears in search results and a summary that describes the content of the web page. The summary has to be up to 155 – 160 characters, and it will appear in the search results when a searched phrase is within the description

A meta description tag will be used for the HTML site but for WordPress the tag is put in automatically for you. The meta description tag will look like below:

<meta name=”description” content=”A page’s description, usually not more than two sentences.”/>

On search engines, the meta description forms part of the search snippet which appears on search results. On the search snippet, there is the title of the page, the URL and the meta description

The meta description is shown as per below highlighted in yellow:

a search result snippet with the meta description highlighted in yellow

What is a good Meta Description?

A good meta description is one that gives the reader what they are looking for resulting in them clicking on your page for more. It also has to be clear in what the value for the reader is should they choose to click on the page.

7 How to Write a Good Meta Description Tricks

1.    Have the right Length

A meta description character limit has to be up to 155 -160 characters, but this does not mean that it is the right length. However, it is the number of characters that you can work with to make sure you say what is important. You can write a meta description that is longer than 160 characters, but Google will cut the rest of it only revealing the first 160. As a result, make sure that the if you write a longer meta description the important information is in the 160 characters

Meta Description Examples:

A meta description within the 160 characters

a search snippet that has a meat description that is within 160 characters

A meta description that is over 160 characters

a search snippet that has a meat description that is over 160 characters

2.    Written in Active Voice and Actionable

An active voice makes for an effective meta description which is easier to understand, and it also addresses the reader directly. It lets you know exactly what you will get when reading the page. Avoid describing things that can be included on the page.

a search snippet with a meta description that has used active voice

3.    Have a call to action

This goes hand in hand with active voice because when you write in the active voice, you are encouraging people to take action. It serves as an invitation to try something, learn more, explore and find out more which is calling for the reader to take action. In other cases, we can use the words such as claim and get to get readers interested to find out more.

a search snippet with a meta description that has a call to action

4.    Include focus keyword

It is important to include your focus keyword in your meta description because the reader will be using the term when searching and it will be picked up in your meta description and content making it relevant. You should also include other variations of the keyword in your meta description. Search engines will highlight the keyword in the snippet. In the example below I searched for the best pizza and it is highlighted in the meta description:

a search snippet with a meta description that has a focus keyword

5.    If necessary, show specifications

This is more relevant to product-based pages. For example, if your page is about iPhone 8, it would be a good idea to have some of the top features of the product in your meta description. You can also include the price of the product which will trigger a reader to click.

a search snippet with a meta description that has product specifications

6.    Relate to the content on the page

Some people use meta descriptions to trick search engines. However, once Google finds out that the information on the content is not related to your meta description, it will penalise your site. This will also affect your bounce rate because the reader will not find what they are looking for once they have clicked through to your page. Your content has to match what you have spoken about in your meta description. Your content also has to be of good quality and not be thin because that will not help your rankings.

7.    Must Be as unique as possible

This may not seem like it is possible since you are using the same keywords as your competitors. However, the more unique your meta description, the more readers will be interested in finding out more. Avoid using the same meta descriptions for various pages because this will affect user experience, the click-through rate and the bounce rate.

Analysing the Best Homepage Meta Description

You will be able to spot a good meta description by how it is written. It needs to give an overview of what the website is about accompanied by the reason why you should click on the title tag. Needless to say, clicking on a page for many searchers is a simple and quick thing to do.

Below is an example of a good homepage meta description:

an example of a good homepage meta description

Firstly, the word count is 24 words which means that the character count is 156 which falls into the required character limit. What’s more the name of the company peaks interest for chocolate lovers, “Chocolate Fetish”. This already gives an idea of what the company is about.

Secondly, the “award-winning gourmet chocolate”lets you know that they are the best in this field because they have been recognised for it.

Thirdly, what benefits you from clicking on the links is that you can be able to buy the award-winning gourmet chocolate directly from the website or even visit the shop at the given address.

When you look at the meta description it has all the right characteristics of being a good meta description.

Best SEO Meta Description Tool

These tools help us check for duplicate, short and missing meta descriptions

Webmaster tools

When using this meta description tool, on your side menu click on the search appearance. A drop-down menu will appear, and then you will click on the HTML improvements. The page will load any errors that you have on your site with regards to meta descriptions, meta title and non-indexable content.  If there are any errors, they will be highlighted, and you can click to see which pages have an error.

webmaster tools page showing errors picked up for meta descriptions

Screaming Frog

Once the tool has done crawling your side, on the main menu, you click on the meta description. On the far right, there will be an overview of the meta descriptions errors. You can filter according to the errors and see which pages need to be fixed.

screaming frog page showing meta description errors

Meta Description Generator Tools

These tools do not create a meta description for your page; they rather show you how your meta description looks on search results pages. They also give you the option to see how the meta description will look should you decide to add a date, bold words and have a rich snippet. This will help you optimise your meta description better knowing how it will look on search results

meta description example showing how information would appear on search results pages using the above-mentioned tool:

meta description generator showing an example of how a meta description will look

meta description example showing how information would appear on search results pages using the above-mentioned tool:

meta generator showing how a meta description would appear in search results

Tips on How to Write a Good Meta Description

  • Always use keywords
  • Treat meta descriptions as an advert for your page
  • Consider using rich and featured snippets
  • Don’t duplicate meta descriptions
  • Provide a benefit or solution
  • Be relevant and specific
  • Don’t focus too much on the character count

Google Meta Descriptions

Last year December, Google made a change to accept meta descriptions that were over 300 characters. However, they have reverted to the 155 – 160 characters since May 2018. For that period the search snippet would show over 300 characters for pages that had more character count on their meta description.

When your meta description has a date on it, it is included in the character count. For pages that do not have a meta description, Google will take some of the content on the page and use it as the meta description.