Meta Descriptions

This article is about everything you need to know to get a basic understanding of meta descriptions. We will discuss the importance of meta descriptions and show you how to create the right one for your website.

What is a Meta Description?

A meta description is an HTML tag. It is used for describing the content on the web page it is for. Meta descriptions appear below the page title and URL when the page appears in the search engine results. For your web pages to be discoverable and visible on Google, you need to use the right meta descriptions and keep them 140-160 characters long.

Importance of Meta Descriptions

Ever wonder why meta descriptions are important? Since they appear right beneath your page title and URL in users’ search results, they have the power to drive traffic to your website. They can either make or break the deal by influencing your click-through rates to a great extent.

Users want to get an idea of what’s on a web page before clicking on its link to open it. That is why search engines provide descriptions of page content in search results for users to read. If your meta description for a page does not give accurate and adequate information to the user, they might choose to click on someone else’s website instead of with a better meta description to get what they are looking for.

Research has revealed that using your targeted keywords in the body of your meta descriptions gives relevancy signs to search engines for ranking your pages. These are among the many other signals that search engines need to rank websites. However, stuffing too many keywords in the few lines of a meta description can be counterproductive. The way you write a meta description should sound natural and smooth.

When your website appears in somebody’s search results, its meta description gets the most real estate. The website title and URL occupy only one line of text, whereas the meta description occupies two lines of text. Thus, it is very beneficial for your site’s SEO to take advantage of meta descriptions to enhance its search rankings and click-through rates. If you convey meaningful messages in your meta descriptions, they will be the most effective and competitive compared to other websites.

Meta Description Tips

The click-through rates of web pages are considered a strong ranking factor on the SERPs. Thus the most effective way of writing the right meta descriptions is to create them with the intent of getting clicks to your site.

Think of your website as it appears in search results, like a traditional banner or newspaper advertisement. Traditional advertising in print media used headlines and taglines to grab the readers' attention. In search results, your page title serves as the headline, and your meta description serves as its tagline. Therefore, the meta description acts like a micro pitch for your website. Use active language to make people click on your site’s URL.

Google gives space for a sentence or two (160 characters) to write in meta descriptions that appear below each search result. So in these one or two sentences, your descriptions must provide a compelling reason to the user to visit your website. Better add a clear call to action in these sentences so that the users get a clear understanding of what they’ll be able to do once they are on the page.

The best way to phrase your meta descriptions is to address an emotional pain point or offer strong incentives to visitors. These can be mentioned precisely to avoid exceeding the character limit. If your meta description is longer than 160 characters, Google will truncate it, and users will not read the complete description in the search results. At the same time, if it is too vague, it will not impact people’s decision to click on it.

Since users get so many results for every search they make, they can quickly move on to the following if yours is not enticing enough. That’s why it is important to connect with them emotionally in the small amount of space you get in the form of your meta descriptions.

Another critical point is to have a unique meta description for each page on your site. A study done on on-site SEO found that about 30% of websites use duplicate meta descriptions for the different pages on the sites. This does not do good for your website regarding its search rankings. The study also found that 25% of websites had pages with no meta descriptions.

Here are a few simple meta description tips to encourage people to click on your website URL in search results.

  1. Aim for writing only 1-2 sentences to fill in the 140-160 characters space.
  2. Introduce your core target keyword.
  3. Target at least one emotion.
  4. Include a call to action.
  5. Avoid using duplicate meta descriptions.
  6. Make your sentences meaningful and descriptive.
  7. Keep the body of the meta description relevant to what’s on the corresponding page.
  8. Double-check how the meta description appears in search results using a SERP view generator tool.

Example of a Meta Description

You want to write meta descriptions that talk about your website’s unique selling proposition. Think about why your page is specifically better than all the other pages that appear in the results for the same keyword entry. Don’t be scared to use an emotional appeal in your message. Studies have shown that using emotional triggers gives a lot of success in tapping into people’s feelings and influencing their decisions.

Let’s take a look at an example of a meta description.

sample meta description in a Google search result

Image taken from Google

If you see the simple meta description in the above SERP, you can tell that this company repairs and installs air conditioning, a service that’s quite high in demand in places like Florida. More importantly, you can also see that the company provides trusted advice when people need it the most. Imagine your air conditioner is broken while your place is too hot and sweaty. Who would you go to to get your air conditioner repaired?

You might search Google for an air conditioner repair service. When you come across this company’s website in the search results, you will surely be enticed by the meta description and probably end up clicking on it.

The emotions triggered by such meta descriptions can be grouped into four buckets.

  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Angry or disgusted
  • Afraid or surprised

How to Add a Meta Description on a Strikingly Website?

Strikingly sign up page

Image taken from Strikingly

Strikingly is a website-building platform that offers tools to enhance the on-site SEO of the websites built on it. The increasingly user-friendly updates of the platform are a cause for its growing popularity and users.

Strikingly allows you to add meta descriptions to your web pages, along with its other SEO-related tools. To add a meta description for your site’s home page, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Strikingly editor.
  2. Click ‘Settings’ and select ‘Basic Info’.
  3. Key in the meta description for your home page into the ‘Site Description’ box.

how to add a description for your Strikingly website's home page

Image taken from Strikingly

To add meta descriptions to the other pages on your site, follow these steps.

  1. Go to the site editor.
  2. Click ‘Manage’ next to ‘Pages’ on the left panel.
  3. Click the gear icon of the page you want to write a description for.
  4. Select ‘SEO settings’.
  5. Enter your meta description text in the ‘Site Description’ box.

Multiple pages SEO

Image taken from Strikingly

add a meta description for multiple pages

Image taken from Strikingly

It might seem like a simple task to write and add meta descriptions for each of your website’s pages. But doing that can make a lot of difference to the way your website shows up in search results and the impact it makes on your click-through rates. Having good click-through rates means getting more visitors to your site, which can further push up your site in more search results.

Having a search engine-optimized website can do wonders for your business. The more people visit your site, the more they will know about your business and brand. It is a fantastic way of growing your audience and making your potential customers move through your sales funnel to bring them closer to buying from you.

Strikingly helps you do most on-site SEO activities through your site’s editor. This means you don’t have to go through the hassle of writing codes or indulge in programming to increase your site’s search rankings. Thus you save the cost of hiring a web developer and time by avoiding all the coding work. Instead, you can spend the time and money on developing and running marketing campaigns to boost your sales.