You should think of a meta description as a short advertisement for your content or web page. A lot of the time, searchers are going to read your meta description before deciding to actually click on your website, so it’s important they’re properly written and optimized. Keep reading to learn how to take advantage of this short space to really “sell” your firm to searchers!
And check out this quick video from Samantha Russell, Chief Evangelist of FMG Suite and Twenty Over Ten, to learn more about meta descriptions:
What is a Meta Description?
A meta description is a short snippet that provides a summary of a web page. This forms an HTML tag that search engines will show in search results as a preview, as seen below. For your content to show up, the searched-for phrase typically has to be in your meta description, which makes optimizing it super important.
Why Do Meta Descriptions Matter?
The purpose of a meta description is simple: to get internet searchers to click on your content. Not only will this get more eyes on your firm’s content, but it will also boost your click-through rate, which Google uses to determine how reliable your content is. If more people click on your result, Google considers you to be a good result and you’ll move up in the ranks.
How Long Should a Meta Description Be?
For a general rule of thumb, your meta description should be 160 characters or less. The perfect meta description length will vary based on your content, but you should always attempt to get your message across in an efficient manner. You only have a few seconds to grab searchers’ attention, so you want to get the point across as quickly as you can.
Rather than being caught up on a specific number, focus on making them sufficiently descriptive and to-the-point. You can write a description that’s less than 160 characters, just make sure it’s not too short.
How To Write a Good Meta Description
You aren’t just using your meta description to convince readers that your content is valuable; you’re also convincing search engines that your content is worth recommending! By including keywords and details specific to your niche and firm, you’ll optimize your meta description for search engines.
1. Use Relevant Keywords
When a searched keyword matches a part of your meta description, you’re more likely to show up in search results. Google will even bold or highlight the searched keywords that are included in your meta description, which makes your content seem like the perfect match for leads. In the example below, the searcher would have searched “Apple Watch 4,” which is why the words “Apple,” “Watch” and “4” are bolded.
If you’re struggling to decide which keywords to include in your meta description, try using Google Keyword Planner. You can also look at your top keyword queries on Google Search Console to see what visitors are most often searching to find your content. Your keywords should always go to the heart of your firm and niche, so make sure they’re representative of your services.
2. Provide a Quick Summary
To attract the right leads, you should always summarize what visitors should expect to find when they click on your result. Decide what the core concept and benefit of the content are, and center the description around that. A perfectly written description will not only preview the content but will also give the searcher a compelling reason to click. Ideally, your meta description should always include:
- Details on your offer.
- A reason for the searcher to click, especially amongst other results on the page.
While focusing on a summary is a good practice, be sure that your description is also accurate. If visitors feel misled, they’ll quickly click away and your bounce rate will go up. A high bounce rate can penalize your rankings and frustrate leads, which is never a good look for your firm.
As you can see in the image below, Arista Wealth Management, has a strong meta-description, describing what they do, where they are located and who they serve.
3. Write For Location
Generic descriptions like “retirement” and “financial planning” will be highly competitive for large financial planners and content creators. While you should still use these keywords and information to summarize your content and get across your point, you should find more descriptive keywords that are specifically tailored to your individual firm and audience.
An important piece of information for your meta description is your specific city or area, which will do wonders for your local SEO efforts. In the example below, Mountain Pass Planning does a great job of including ultra-specific keywords within their meta description allowing them to show on the first-page search results when you search for keyword terms like “Hopewell Junction financial planning” in Google.
4. Make It Enticing
Your meta description should be actionable, suspenseful, and always include a call-to-action (CTA). Consider your meta description an invitation to view your content. Instead of writing a mindless and dull description of the content, draw searchers in with exciting, active, and even mysterious language. Tease the value of the content and emphasize the benefit they’ll get from taking the next step. Finishing with a strong call-to-action like “find out how” or “learn more” can give searchers the extra nudge to click!
5. Keep Your Niche In Mind
Your target clients should always be at the center of your content efforts. Keeping them in mind will help you determine potential keywords, write compelling copy, and include specifics about their pains and needs in the financial planning process. What would your clients be searching for? Keeping this in mind can help predict how to optimize your description.
In the meta description below, Kiplinger includes keywords specific to the content’s target audience and their pain points. This makes the content seem more specific and beneficial to women than a general article on retirement.
How To Add Meta Descriptions In Website Engine
Access your “page settings” from your sidebar.
Scroll down until you reach the SEO description box and add your meta description here.
Follow the best practices above to write your meta description. After you have added it, be sure to click the save button to save your changes.
Your meta description affects your SEO, bounce rate, click-through rate, SERP rankings, and more. Keep these best practices in mind as you edit your site to improve SEO.
Note: This article was originally written by Lauren Beichner and published on December 18th, 2019. It has been updated to ensure consistency.
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About The Author
Stuart is a Content Marketing Specialist at Twenty Over Ten and enjoys creating content that both entertains and educates. A Game Designer at heart, he can be found pursuing one of his many hobbies during his free time.