How to write meta descriptions for SEO?

December 08, 2022 - Anaïs Sautarel

7 minutes

Such as the title tags, meta descriptions are the most important SEO tags. However, it is often neglected by content creators, even though they boost SEO. By improving these tags, you can rank your website on the first page of Google.

With the number of websites today, and the increasing presence of rich snippets in the SERPs, it is better to be ranked in the top 3 results to ensure a good click rate.

... Here is how to proceed, in 5 steps 👇

Use the right format for your meta descriptions

As seen above, meta descriptions are essential to increase your click through rate and improve your SEO.

They are significant, as they take up space in search results. They take up two lines, contrary to the title, which takes up one line.

Thus, they are a true indication and encourage users to click on your content. However, to have effective meta descriptions, you must respect a specific format.

🚀 If you have the right framework, you will be able to create effective and relevant meta descriptions easily:

The right length of meta descriptions

How to write a good meta description?
Info tips
A meta description is composed of 1 or 2 sentences which have between 140 and 160 characters.

As you already know, the meta description takes up the most space in the results. However, it’s better to know the dimensions to use when writing it, to be perfectly readable and understandable.

To that end, ensure your meta description is 160 characters long. Ideally, the limit must be between 140 and 160 characters to be totally optimal.

Use the active voice

In marketing, it’s better to use the active voice more than the passive voice, to give impact and catch the reader's attention.

Moreover, the active voice is shorter, more effective and enables to meet the standards in terms of characters.

Use alphanumeric characters only

Using colorful emojis or characters might enable you to stand out from the competition on search results.

Watch out
Info warning

Not all computers display non-alphanumeric characters, which can lead to readability issues. So, use them carefully or not at all.

A unique meta description

Some may have thought of writing one meta description, placing it everywhere and moving on.

Well, it is better not to do it!

meta description

Indeed, the meta description should be seen as indications that help the reader choose which link to click on to get an answer or information. If you copy paste one meta description for all pages you will write a general description, that is imprecise, and with few relevant keywords.

Therefore, opt for a unique meta description for every page, if you want to get benefits.

Now you have the perfect format for your meta descriptions. Now let’s move on to the content.

Add keywords to the meta description tag

Your meta description must encourage users to visit your website, and your website only.  It's a bit like a trailer, so ask yourself this question: why would you click this link and not another one?

Therefore, this description should contain relevant keywords so that users know immediately they should visit your website.

To that end, make sure you follow these few points to write meta descriptions that will increase your click-through rate for sure: 👇

Use the main search keyword

When you search on Google, the keywords of your query are displayed in bold letters in the meta description of the results.

That’s why choose your keywords carefully. Thus, you improve the SEO of the page in question that will rank for relevant keywords.

Avoid keyword stuffing

Like each step of your SEO strategy, keywords are essential elements. However, you must avoid keyword stuffing when you write your meta descriptions. Just one or two relevant keywords are enough to enhance your SEO, click-through rate and visibility.

✔️ The right format: done

✔️ The appropriate keywords: done

However, if it were as simple as that, everybody would write effective meta descriptions. So, what is the secret to a good writing?

You know everything about the technical aspect of meta descriptions, but users are human beings. So, let’s play with emotions!

Play with users’ emotions

A meta description enables you to attract more users to your website and is a reference point for them.

That’s why your meta description must have the right format and keywords, as well as highlight your added value and benefits.

In short
Info stepup
Your meta description answers the following question: why should people visit your website instead of the competitors’ one?

To that end, here are some tips to highlight your value in your meta description.

Arouse emotion

Fear, desire, happiness… Everything is possible to arouse emotion in people who will be attracted to your meta description. By doing that, you touch the user emotionally and stand out from the competition.

Remember that your meta description should be optimized for encouraging users to visit your site. So, make it rock! ✌

Target users’ pain

Good content meets a need.

Whether users want to learn something new, get information, confirm an answer, search something… Every piece of content has a purpose and should answer a user's pain areas  Thanks to emotion and by highlighting a specific problem  users understand that you know their concerns and your website will answer their problems.

Highlight an advantage

The meta description tag acts as a first impression of a website, so that the user immediately finds what he needs. So, highlight the benefit first, use emotion and highlight the problems that will be solved by your content. 

Use the interrogative form

Using a question allows you to put yourself in the user's shoes and include them directly into the content. Moreover, most Google queries are questions: thus, you can use keywords that speak to users and match their search intent. 

Using emotion in marketing is a good practice to catch users and stimulate their curiosity.

However, the next step will allow you to nuance your approach, before dealing with algorithms:

Write for the user first

Google algorithms evolve more and more, so that you, as a web designer, think less and less about them.

Content written for algorithms is no longer a good strategy to boost your SEO.

That’s why, nowadays, you must think about users first, and speak their language to encourage them to click on your website.

To that end, respect the following rules: 👇

Use natural language

Obviously, your meta descriptions must be optimized  to match search engine algorithms.

However, a robotic or unnatural language might make you lose credibility in the eyes of your readers who won’t click on your link.

Remember to write your meta descriptions and content with your users’ natural language. Thus, you will be more understandable and you will better meet their needs.

Don’t lie about your content

Since the meta description tag is for selling your content to users, it might be tempting to exaggerate, and make promises that won't be kept. .

That may work to boost your click-through rate in the short term. However, , in the long term, you will lose the trust of your audiences and this is irreversible. 

Well, you now know everything to optimize your meta descriptions, and rank at the top of Google search results...

... Or almost everything.

Here is the last point to consider, if you want to improve the effectiveness of your meta description:

Test different methods for your meta descriptions

These tips are food for thought, and can help you improve your meta descriptions and not fall into certain traps. .

Watch out
Info warning
These tips will be effective if you analyze users’ behaviors and refine your techniques.

To that end, try to understand your users and their behaviors. You can start by analyzing their emails and comments to understand their language.

You can also try to find the words that have the biggest potential to bring traffic to your website.

What are their preferences?

👉 Questions?

👉 Offers?

👉 Humor?

👉 Figures?

This data can help you to create your meta descriptions and make them unique, while optimizing them with the tips given above. 

If you modify your meta description and analyze the results, click-through rates and ranking , you'll know which strategy will be best for your brand. .

You now know how to optimize your meta descriptions and improve your ranking and visibility.

Ready to write your meta descriptions tags in a few moments? 🚀

Anaïs Sautarel
As confident in the mountains as with foreign languages, our contents and tool travel around English-speaking and Spanish-speaking countries with me. 🌍

Last update: December 08, 2022

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