Meta descriptions are used by search engines and some social sharing tools as a description of your website page. Every page of your website can (and should) have its own unique meta description that accurately describes the content to a potential visitor. Here are a set of instructions on how to best write meta descriptions to maximize readability, brand awareness, and click-through rate.

Website Page Meta Descriptions Instructions

  1. Use Keyword Targets. Keywords don’t impact your Google rank anymore (stay with me here…), but use them anyways. When Google sees a keyword in your meta description matching a user query, its bolded in the search results. That makes your result stand out more than the other guys,’ so use your keyword targets where possible in your meta descriptions.
  2. Mention your brand. Even if represented in your page title, mention it again towards the middle or last half of your meta description if possible. Even if someone chooses not to click on your search result, your brand is mentioned in association with the search query, which the visitor may have read. It will also help someone who is looking for your brand specifically to find you faster.
  3. Keep it to 156 characters. Google only pulls in the first 156 characters of a meta description, including spaces. If your description is longer, Google will truncate it. MetaLength.com provides an easy tool to count characters for you for met tags.
  4. Tell the reader to click. The end of every meta description should be a call to action. Period. No exceptions. Tell them to visit your site to learn more, to read your post, to buy now, to take advantage of an offer, whatever your page is about, compel the visitor to engage by clicking on your search result by giving them specific instructions at the end of your meta description.
  5. Describe the page. Describe what the specific page is about, not your brand as a whole, not your website as a whole. The reader wants to know what to expect when they land on the specific URL, so explain it to them concisely. By default, this also means that each page of your website needs a unique meta description written specifically for the page. No duplicating or copying.

Website Meta Descriptions Example

meta description example

Tell the reader who you are (mention your brand), what it’s about (describe the page), include your keyword targets where possible, and finish by instructing them what to do next. Every page of your website needs a unique meta description. Failing to include meta descriptions could cause Google to pull randomly from your content or from external sources; sometimes Google will do that anyways! Since meta descriptions provide a free opportunity to place your brand and content on Google search engines and sometimes social platforms, take advantage of it!

Originally posted at widesmiler.com: How to Write Website Meta Descriptions, Author Lauren L Perfors