It’s not often that we can show you one small, simple change that can help you get more traffic to your site almost instantly. But every once in a while there’s that little gem that’s been sitting right in front of you the whole time and you didn’t even know it. That’s exactly the case with what we’re fixing to talk about: meta descriptions.
Meta descriptions are one of those pesky little meta tags that many people don’t understand or don’t want to bother with. Now it should be acknowledged up front, that by optimizing your meta description, you aren’t going to get an increase in your search rankings. At one time, it was a factor in rankings; but marketers abused it and over-optimized it to game the system, so today it’s not really a ranking factor at all.
So why even bother with it, then? Because the fact is, meta descriptions can be the key to getting users to click through to your site from the search results page. What you put in your meta description is normally what shows underneath your site name in the search results.
In the above screenshot, you can see that the first search result I’ve put an arrow by didn’t make good use of the meta description at all. Does it entice you to click through? Of course not. But the second one could. Hmm, you say to yourself as you read: customized baby shoes that are made within 24 hours? Nice. I’d click that one. Wouldn’t you, if you were searching for blue baby shoes?
Your meta descriptions play a big role in whether someone actually visits your site — even if you’re already ranking at the top. Take advantage of this and use them wisely.
Your meta description will also be what social media users see when your page is shared. If someone shares your site on Facebook, the share will show your meta description. Yes, they could click on it and change the content, but most users won’t bother to do that. See below:
If you share something on Google Plus, it’ll also reproduce the meta description. Here’s an example:
Tips On Using Meta Descriptions
Create a helpful description so searchers know whether your site has what they’re looking for. Use a call to action to get their attention and make them want to click through and visit that page. But keep it short. Try to limit it to 150-160 characters at most.
- If you run an e-commerce site, then include price ranges in the meta description for your product pages.
- If you run a small local business, include your phone number to generate more call-in leads.
- Make unique descriptions for each page
- If you’re using WordPress, most of the SEO plugins will give you the option for customized meta descriptions (All in One SEO plugin, Yoast, and SEO Ultimate are a few of them).
If you rank well in the search engines, don’t let your meta descriptions be the stumbling block to getting visitors to actually come to your site. Even if you aren’t ranking as high as you’d like, remember that your meta descriptions get circulated when people socially share your site, too!
Either way, we can help you with whatever you need. We can show you how to optimize your descriptions, get your site set up so they’re easy to manage, and even help you push your site upward in the search rankings, too. Simply contact us if you’d like a free consultation and quote.