Understand how the description of the contents of your pages can help the user to decide whether or not to click on your site.When a person searches for a book to buy, they want to have a “taste” of what the reading will be like. So she can read the synopsis, the preface, or the index of the book, before spending hours reading something she may not like. Did you know this has to do with SEO ? After all, this is the role of the meta description on the Google results page.
Before you click on a site during your search, the user also wants to know what he is dealing with. “Does this page have the answer I’m looking for?” He asks.
Then, the meta description, when presenting a brief description of the content of the page, helps the user to decide whether or not to access that site. And this can improve your site’s traffic, positioning, and results.
It is about that important element in the SEO strategy that we are going to talk about in this article. Follow it to understand everything: what it is, what its importance is and how to create a good meta description.
What is the meta description? How is it used?
The meta description is an excerpt from the HTML code that describes the content of a page.
Generally, it is composed of one or two sentences that summarize the main subject. This tag looks like this in the code:
<meta name = “description” content = “Page description” />
In place of “page description” then you should write what your page addresses. This can be done directly in the code, but more common is to use an SEO tool that does not require knowledge in programming (at the end of this article, you will know some options).
When reading this tag in the code, Google uses this information to automatically compose the snippet of that link.
Okay, but what is a snippet?
It is the short presentation of each link on the search engine results page (or SERP). It consists of the following elements:
- Page title ;
- Page URL ;
- Description of the page (the meta description) .
In some cases, the snippet also displays the page’s date of publication, sitelinks (internal site links), and rich snippets (such as user’s note or price of a product, for example).
Do I click or not? The meta description influences user decision
In the same way that the reader decides whether or not to buy a book from its synopsis, the user also decides to click or not on a link when reading his meta description. It works to convince the user, in a nutshell, that your page has what it looks for.
Therefore, the preparation of the meta description decisively influences the volume of traffic and the number of clicks that your link receives in the SERP. And that’s what impacts your SEO strategy.
Let’s explain better now:
The meta description is not a ranking factor, but it is essential in SEO
Google itself has already stated: the meta description is not considered a ranking factor by the algorithm. So setting or not setting a meta description does not affect your placement directly. What happens is an indirect influence on SEO.
One of the search engine ranking factors is the Click-through Rate (CTR). This is the click rate that a link receives relative to the number of views in the SERP.
According to the search engine, a high CTR is an indication that that link has high relevance to that keyword, so it deserves a better positioning.
And, as we said, the meta description is an important tool for attracting more clicks from users.
If she’s attractive and persuasive, she can earn a good click rate. But more important than that is that it is descriptive, that is, that brings information that is actually on the page.
After all, the bounce rate is also a Google ranking factor. A high bounce rate is a sign that the user is probably not finding what they imagined on the site – and that counts negatively.
So it’s no use fooling the visitor with a misleading meta description, okay?
It’s important to note that Google’s major purpose is to provide the best user experience. And this goes from viewing the results of the search until you find what he wanted within the site.
In this experiment, the meta description plays an important role. And the better the experience you offer, the more positions you get in the search engine rankings.
What if I do not write a meta description?
If Google reads your code and does not find a meta description, what happens? It even selects an excerpt from the page that is relevant to the user’s search – preferably displaying the searched keyword. This means that the same page may have different snippets for each search.
Often, even when you define a description, the search engine itself may judge that another portion of the page is more relevant. This happens when it has poor quality or has no relation to the page.
Make it clear: for the ranking, there is no problem in not setting a meta description – remember that it is not a ranking factor.
The downside is that you lose control over what will be displayed to the user and leave that decision in Google’s hands, which may not be as persuasive as your words.
5 tips for creating an efficient meta description
So the tip is to caprichar in the description of the pages. You need to persuade Google to display it to the user instead of capturing a snippet of content. To do this, she needs to follow some guidelines:
1. Use an informative and persuasive language
First, the meta description text should be informative about the content of the page. That is the main goal and should be your focus.
However, the meta description is also understood as a sales pitch to convince the user to click.
So you can also adopt some copywriting techniques , such as including a call to action (CTA) or awakening the sense of urgency.
A touch of creativity is also welcome to catch the attention of potential visitors.
One of Google’s ways of assessing whether the description is relevant to the user’s query is to make sure that it has the keyword searched for. If so, this probably means that the page delivers what the visitor is looking for.
Filling in the meta description of keywords, though, is not the right path, okay?
That way, Google understands that it is of poor quality and offers a poor user experience. So, use the terms naturally in the text.
In addition, Google puts the search term in boldface in the SERP snippets. So this is also a way to stand out on the page and catch the attention of the user, who just glances quickly at the results.
There is no minimum or maximum character limit for the meta description, nor will you be punished if you write too much or less. However, size matters because the space for the description in the snippet is limited, which may cut your sentence if you exceed it.
So, work within the space available.
Typically, the number of characters goes up to 155, but that number may vary. For example, if the search engine also displays in the snippet the posting date of a blog post, that number decreases.
It is very common for some websites to standardize the meta description for all pages. The problem is that Google understands that identical or similar descriptions are not useful to the user. That is, they do not help you decide whether or not to click on that link.
But it’s important to make it clear: this does not detract from crawling or indexing your site, just the user experience. Therefore, it is important to create a meta description for each page.
If you want to check for duplicate, missing, or problematic descriptions on your site, visit the HTML Enhancements report in Google Search Console .
5. Count on an SEO tool
Meta description is an HTML tag. Just to speak in code, however, many people run away from the subject, since they do not understand programming. And, for that reason, the meta description can be overlooked, despite its importance.
That’s why many site administrators rely on plugins and tools that help search engine optimization. In that case, you do not have to tinker with a single line of code.
Here are some tools to do this:
Yoast is one of the most popular plugins. You can install this plugin on your own when it is developed in WordPress.
The features are easy to use: in the very edit of a post or a page, you can see all indications of optimizations of the plugin and make edits there, such as meta descriptions.
There are also advanced features if you already have more knowledge.
All in One SEO
All in One SEO is also well known among administrators of websites developed in WordPress.
It presents a simpler interface yet to realize the improvements of HTML and content in the pages, which are also indicated in the own edition of an article of the site or blog.
The meta description is just one of the editing possibilities provided by the plugin.
Turn SEO on
The Connect SEO is SEO tool Liguesite that quickly analyzes the page of a website and displays all the improvements you should make, including the descriptions goal.
To hire the SEO Connect, just have a website, blog or portal created through the Liguespeed website builder .
The operation is very simple and intuitive, thought so that you can optimize your pages without any experience or specialized knowledge.
But the great difference of this tool is that you can also count on the agency’s assistance not only to carry out the optimizations, but also to assist in planning, solve any question or problem and still measure the results.
Anyway, the main goal of the meta description is simple: make the user who searches on Google click on your page . That’s how you reach the other goals – increasing click through rate and traffic, improving the user experience, and gaining better positions.
Do you also understand that meta description is important to SEO? Do you have any other tips for writing good descriptions? Comment below and tell us what you think!