Meta descriptions: Not quite sure what this means? It’s the first 120 or so characters (not words) that show up underneath your website or other online presence on a Google search. You know – that beginning sentence of, “Browse for lunchroom tables for your cafeteria here by…” or other snippet.
Meta descriptions might be small, but they can pack a powerful punch. The name of a website can only do so much, especially when they are – ideally – short and to-the-point.
No matter what business you’re in, whether it’s selling school furniture or fine jewelry, you have two chances to reel in customers. The first is the name of your website and the second is your meta description.
And You Thought Learning Haikus Was Useless
There’s something sweet (and very profitable) about writing that is succinct and to-the-point. You don’t get any wiggle room with meta descriptions.
Every page of your site naturally has a meta description, and if you haven’t created text solely for that purpose, Google is more than happy to take care of that for you – but Google certainly isn’t a professional writer or marketer.
Every aspect of your content, both web and hard copy, should ideally be written by a professional writer. However, this isn’t always possible.
The next best thing you can do is work closely with your web designer to implement good meta description practices. Google yourself right now and see what shows up. Are there a lot of meaningless fluff words? Could it be better? Probably.
Flex Those Twitter Muscles
If you’re an active tweeter, whether personally or professionally, you’re already well-versed on how to write short and sweet. Use those skills.
Of course, meta descriptions need to be highly professional so there are no hash tags here. Just like in poetry, every word counts.
Fill these descriptions with as many keywords that will make a customer click while still maintaining proper grammar (i.e. don’t create a list of keywords that reads like a robot). Use a direct voice and get rid of those passive tendencies in all of your writing. Say what you mean without filler.
Need a Little Inspiration?
Unless you’re constantly changing your content, there’s a good chance you don’t need to routinely update your meta descriptions. That’s a big relief.
However, it can quickly get dull trying to create descriptions for unique pages, especially when you have a high number of product pages to work with. Draw a little inspiration from your competitors. Google keyphrases and see what meta descriptions other companies use.
The best part of this practice? Seeing just how good (or poor) other sites are. Meta descriptions are quickly – and unfortunately – put on the back burner. Think of these as a subtitle to your website. It’s one of the first things customers see, so make it a priority.