The Meta description is one of the most underrated SEO Meta tags. Not being a factor capable of directly impacting the ranking, very often the “SEO description” of a page is written without the accuracy it deserves.
First of all… what is the Meta description and why is it so relevant for Search Engine Optimization?
The Meta description is a short piece of text that search engines show within the SERP to provide searchers with a preview of what they will find on the page. It should be noted, however, that search engines do not always show the suggested description: sometimes it can happen that they extrapolate a portion of content from the page that they consider best as a preview of the content; despite this, it is suggested to always fill in this field.
The Meta description is a Meta tag because, at the level of the HTML structure of the page, it is placed inside the <head> section and not inside the <body> (where instead you will find all the content that will be visible on the page). Is it written like this?
Very often the snippet of a web page (the block that includes the title, Meta description and URL of the page in the SERP) is the first touch point between user and brand. Think about how many times you have discovered a blog or an e-commerce you are fond of after carrying out a simple search for information or a product.
This simple example shows how essential it is to capture the user’s attention and induce him to click on the result of our site rather than on that of a competitor. And the more people click on our result, the more the Click through Rate (the ratio between page views in SERP and the number of clicks) increases.
Here are some tips to optimize the Meta description and make your web pages stand out in the SERP.
Short but meaningful Meta descriptions
People have very low attention spans, and search engines tend to truncate text after around 155-160 characters.
For this reason, don’t throw yourself into writing this Meta tag without first wondering:
- For which keywords could the page whose Meta description I want to optimize?
- What is the intent behind this set of keywords?
- What are the concepts related to the keywords identified?
- What are the advantages that I can offer to the user?
It is important to make it clear to the user that the content on our page is complete and better than that of our competitors. If you have set up the Search Console on your site this is even easier. You can discover the queries that drive traffic to individual pages and thus identify the expectations of the users who have made the search.
- Find information on the Turin-Milan route by train.
Query related concepts:
- Advance ticket purchase
- Ability to access offers
All these details are present in the analyzed Meta description and it is therefore an excellent example of how this Meta tag should be implemented. On the contrary, a generic text such as: “Are you looking for information on the train from Turin to Milan? Click here to find out everything you need and start planning your trip. “Would not be equally captivating.
Meta descriptions that stand out from the crowd
Now in SERP we find everything: featured snippets, maps, image galleries selected by Google Images… and much more. To bring out your web page, therefore, you have to resort to every possible solution. For example, to optimize the Meta description and make the snippet stand out in the SERP you can:
- enter the keywords most relevant to the content and synonyms;
- insert emoji’s;
- Implement structured data.
Enter the keywords most relevant to the content and synonyms
Fill in the Meta description by inserting in a natural way what you think is the keyword most relevant to the content of the page. And don’t forget to also enter synonyms, related terms or different declensions of the query: when the user carries out his own search, if the terms contained in the description are semantically linked to his query then these will be highlighted in bold, as in the previous example.
It is not a valid advice for every business (this thing can hardly be applied in the luxury / fashion field) but in many cases the use of emoji’s can be a tool to make your result stand out in the SERP.
EBay applies this trick on many category pages and does it to schematically highlight the benefits:
Implement structured data
This is actually not strictly related to the Meta description itself, but it allows the snippet to stand out and thus contribute to the increase of the Click through Rate.
The implementation of micro data allows to define in detail the elements found on the page. Within a product-sheet, for example, it is possible to attribute specific tags to the most relevant elements given the nature of the page: product name, brand, price, rating, product image, etc.
Based on the user’s query, the search engine will decide what information to show. You will certainly have noticed in SERP the “stars” relating to the rating of a product or article, or a preview image next to the description: these are elements that do not necessarily require the use of structured data to appear in the snippet, however, it is possible to increase the likelihood of these being shown through the implementation of micro data.
Try optimizing your Meta descriptions now using these simple tricks and you will see that the Click through Rate on your pages will increase over the course of a few weeks. And if you want to get an idea of how your new snippet will look in SERP you can try using this tool: Google SERP Snippet Optimization Tool.