What are meta titles and meta descriptions?

Why should you know how to write meta titles and descriptions? Well, many SEOs focus heavily on the website and very often forget that their own website is not the first thing a visitor typically sees.

The truth is that the majority of visitors come from search engines like Google, where they are offered many different search results to choose from, depending on their actual search intention.

What are meta titles and meta descriptions?

Both meta descriptions and meta titles are content that is displayed to the user of a search engine when he views your link in the search results page.

The large headline written in blue above the link to the website is called the “meta-title”. The text below the headline below the link is called “meta description”. Each link to Google may also have extra elements, but these two things (meta-title and meta-description) always form the basis.

What Does the Meta Description Do?

The main purpose of a page’s meta description is to get the visitors from SERPs and social media to click the link to your page. In that sense, you can write and think of it as a mini-ad for your page, offering a preview of the page content.

Since so many results populate from a Google search, the meta description is your small (but valuable!) real estate space to succinctly explain what the page offers in other words if done right, it allows your listing to stand out (https://www.seoclarity.net/resources/knowledgebase/write-perfect-meta-description-seo-17115/).

How to Write Better Meta Descriptions and Meta Titles

There is a lot more involved in optimal optimization than just ranking high in the search results. You should also make sure that enough people click on the search result. This can be measured and is also known as CTR (Click Through Rate).

If you take the time to focus on the meta-descriptions and titles you have written and improve them using your data on the basis of the CTR, you can not only receive significantly more traffic but in many cases, you will also be rewarded with a better ranking.

The goal behind good Meta Titles and Descriptions should be that visitors are more likely to click on your search results and then visit your website.

If you want to learn how to optimize and test your CTR by using different titles, you should read this article.

If you want to get started writing meta-descriptions and titles that are more compelling and effective in driving potential customers to your website, you should consider the following tips.

Based on the research we did on this topic, as well as our experience, we came up with this list. Here are the elements you need to make a good meta description:

Make sure your meta content is the right length

When it comes to character count, there is a sweet spot for both meta descriptions and meta titles. The meta description is a snippet of up to about 155 characters a tag in HTML which summarizes a page’s content. Search engines show it in search results mostly when the searched-for phrase is within the description. So optimizing it is crucial for on-page SEO (https://yoast.com/meta-descriptions/).

If your content is longer than that, Google may not display all of your content on the search results page. In any case, you don’t need to worry about the content being cut out because it may be too short.

However, you should be aware that little content often looks a bit out of place. For best results, make sure that the length of your meta-content is within the suggested range and not significantly above or below it.

To see and test, if your meta content is fine, just use this tool.

An attractive description that motivates to take action

You can also consider the meta description as a kind of invitation to the site. Therefore, it is advisable not to write this description in a boring way, but always to answer the question: “What’s in it for me?

In short: It should be attractive and at the same time motivating, and it should be addressed directly to the visitor so that he or she immediately knows what to expect on the page.

Put in your primary keyword

Try to put in your primary keyword into your title tag. Also, it’s helpful to use your second keyword directly after it. At the end of the title, you should use your brand name — this is of course the ideal situation.

You should always make sure that people are able to read and understand your title and the description. It should never sound spammy, meaningless or incomprehensible based on the keywords you insert.

Choose and use a focus keyword

The more the search term actually matches the text in the meta description, the more Google is tempted to use this description and highlight it accordingly in the search results. This makes the link to your website even more prominent.

In part, it is also that Google highlights synonyms that match your search term. This way, your search result will be better recognized and will result in more visitors and possibly a better ranking later on.

Include product features — if possible

The description of a product is extremely important and it can be advisable to describe these properties accordingly. This includes the manufacturer, the price, sizes, or other important, product-specific information.

Of course, if a user should search for a special product and enter the product name, then he is most likely already informed and convinced enough.

In all cases, it is helpful to write an attractive text that attracts interest or contains an important question that the visitor would like to have answered. For example: “Can these insoles really help me to relieve my pain?

Last but not least, it is helpful to use appropriately structured data to create a rich snippet.

Make sure that the content really fits the website

Nothing annoys a visitor more than that when he lands on a page that does not match at all to the way it was described before.

Based on visitor behavior, Google will find out fairly quickly and effectively whether meta-descriptions are only used to encourage visitors to click, but then describe something completely different.

In some cases, this can also lead to a penalty if you don’t follow this rule because Google detects relatively quickly if the bounce rate is high and the retention time is low. So make sure that the meta description also fits the content of the linked page.

Try to stand out from the competition

As long as your meta-description is very similar to what your competitors write, users will have no reason why they should click on your search results.

This is where the user experience plays a crucial role. If you have many similar pages, make sure that instead of creating duplicate meta-descriptions, it is better to leave them blank. In this case, Google will create a snippet from the content of your page — usually a short paragraph containing the keyword used.

In short: Don’t use the same description on more than one page or post.

It makes sense to create a suitable description for each individual page — even if it’s very time-consuming — Google or your visitors will reward you for it.

Where Do You Add the Meta Description?

You don’t have to be a sophisticated webmaster to add a meta description!

If you use a content management system like WordPress or HubSpot, you can bypass having to dive into the HTML code since these platforms allow you to change the meta description, title tags, and more all through the general settings (https://www.searchenginewatch.com/2016/05/26/how-to-write-meta-descriptions-for-seo-with-good-and-bad-examples/).

If you don’t want to use plugins and do it manually, then use this tool.

Are meta titles and descriptions important for better ranking?

So… are meta descriptions now used as a ranking signal?

Google has stated that meta descriptions are NOT a ranking signal. But, again, the quality of the description will influence click-through rate, so it is very important to use this element wisely (https://www.searchenginewatch.com/2016/05/26/how-to-write-meta-descriptions-for-seo-with-good-and-bad-examples/).

However: Meta descriptions do impact a page’s CTR (click-through-rate) on Google which can positively impact a page’s ability to rank!

For that reason, among others of course, it’s very important to put some effort into meta descriptions (https://moz.com/learn/seo/meta-description).

If you want to see how we use schema to optimize our CTR, then sign up for our newsletter and read our article about structured data.

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