5 Tips for Writing Better Meta Descriptions

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I know what you’re thinking—“It’s 2011 and this guy is writing about meta descriptions?” You better believe I am. Yes, I’m fully aware that Google doesn’t use meta description as a ranking factor, but that doesn’t mean that it’s totally unimportant.

Remember, searchers still see the description meta tag whenever they’re looking for your products and services. So it’s important that your descriptions catch their attention and draw them in.

Here are 5 tips for writing better meta descriptions.

  1. Think of it as ad copy—Your search listing is competing against about 14 other listings (including PPC ads) for a click. It’s your job to stand out from the crowd and earn that click. That’s why you need to think of your meta description as a mini-ad. You have to give people a reason to click your link. Don’t just have some boring, generic description. Focus on a benefit and get them to take action.
  2. Include a call to action—Speaking of taking action, I’ve started experimenting with using calls to action in my meta descriptions. Here’s a basic example of what I mean “Personal injury lawyer John Doe has helped thousands of clients get big settlements. Call (800) 123-4567 today for a free consultation.” By including the phone number, people don’t even have to click through to your website to take action. That’s especially important these days because many mobile phones as well as computers with Skype automatically make phone numbers clickable for instant dialing.
  3. Use keywords to draw attention—No, including keywords in your meta description isn’t going to help you rank better, but it can be useful for grabbing the attention of searchers. That’s because the search engines usually bold the keywords in your description that the searcher entered. This makes your description stand out.
  4. Keep it at the right length—Try to keep your meta descriptions around 150 characters with spaces. Any longer than that, and you risk having your message cut off. If you Tweet, this shouldn’t be a problem for you.
  5. Use unique descriptions on each page—Don’t use a single generic description for all of your pages. Make sure each page has its own unique, compelling description that speaks directly to the searcher’s needs.

What tips would you add for writing better meta descriptions? Leave a comment below.

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