How Meta Descriptions Impact Clickthrough Rates and Sales
What is a Meta Description?
A meta description is a brief summary of a webpage that appears in the search engine results pages (SERPs). The meta description is usually placed beneath the title of the page and provides a concise overview of the page’s content. Meta descriptions are typically between 150-160 characters, but they can be longer or shorter depending on the search engine.
In addition to appearing in the SERPs, meta descriptions also play an important role in social media sharing. When someone shares a link to a webpage on social media, the meta description is often used as the text for the shared post. Because of this, a well-written meta description can increase traffic to a website by making it more likely that people will click on the link.
Meta Description Example
Let’s use this blog post as an example. An effective meta description would look like:
“Learn how to write an effective meta description that will improve your click-through rate and help you rank higher in the SERPs.”
As you can see, the meta description briefly summarizes the content of the blog post and includes a call-to-action. It also uses keywords like “meta description” and “SERPs” that are relevant to the topic of the article.
The Importance of Meta Descriptions
Meta descriptions are important for two main reasons: they improve click-through rates and they help with SEO.
A meta description is like a mini-sales pitch for a webpage. A well-written meta description can persuade someone to click on a link, even if it’s not the first result in the SERPs. This is because the meta description gives the searcher a brief preview of what they will find on the webpage.
Meta descriptions are especially important for websites that are not well-known or that rank lower in the SERPs. A good meta description can be the difference between a website getting no traffic from organic search and getting a significant amount of traffic.
Meta descriptions are used by search engines to help determine the relevance of a webpage to a user’s query. In other words, the meta description is one of the factors that search engines use to rank a webpage in the SERPs.
While the meta description is not as important as other ranking factors like backlinks and overall site authority, it’s still a good idea to include a meta description on every page of your website. This is because the meta description is one of the few places where you have complete control over what appears on the SERP.
How to Write Meta Descriptions
Now that you know why meta descriptions are important, let’s look at how to write them.
- Keep it under 160 characters
The ideal length of a meta description is 160 characters, but it can be shorter or longer depending on the search engine. For example, Google typically displays between 150-160 characters of a meta description, while Bing displays up to 300 characters. Going beyond the character limit may cause your meta description to be cut off in the SERPs, so it’s important to stay within the limit.
- Include your unique selling point
Your meta description should contain your site’ unique selling point (USP). In other words, it should explain what makes your website different from and better than your competitors.
One technique you can use is tapping into people’s emotions by making an emotional appeal. Researchers at the University of Glasgow’s Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology says that human emotion falls under four primary buckets: happy, sad, angry, afraid. By taking this into account while writing your meta description, you can make your website appeal to one or more of these emotions.