Abducting Visitors from Google
So what is a meta description anyway? In short, it is the text that appears below the title and link in a search engine results page or SERP. While the meta description doesn’t affect the ranking of your page, it definitely has a very large effect on whether or not the surfer is going to click on your link instead of someone else’s. The meta description is also shown on social networks like Facebook. When a page is shared on these sites , the meta description is also shown. Now that you know what I’m talking about I will show you how to write a good meta description that virtually abducts the visitor from Google and drops them right at your doorstep.
In the case of a WordPress blog , you
can should must use a plugin such as WordPress SEO by Yoast to help simplify the process of customizing the meta description for each post (as well as a host of other SEO considerations). Yes that’s right, you need to write a unique description for each post. This brings us to bullet point one in our meta description guide.
1. One Size Doesn’t Fit All
One thing that the Great Google does not like is duplicate content. Having the same descriptions or very similar descriptions on each page is a surefire way to have the All Powerful One label you as a spammer and banish you to page 90 in the SERPs.
2. Think Like a Surfer
Writing a good meta description is kind of like writing a good mystery, only much less time consuming! The key is to start at the end and work backwards. If someone clicks a link to your post or page and is happy with what they find – what was it they were looking for? What question did you answer? In the case of this post, it’s pretty simple. The question is “How do I write a good meta description?” So, that might be a good place to start. Pretty gnarly huh?
3. Act Like a Tweeter
Meta descriptions have a maximum length of 160 characters. This is slightly longer than the 140 character maximum length of a tweet. Be concise. These 160 characters are all you’ve got to pull in your potential visitors and you should try and use all of them. Most experts agree that your meta description should be between 150-160 characters.
4. Be a User not an Abuser
Our descriptions should contain your keyword, but don’t overdo it. DON”T USE ALL CAPS !!!! Search engines will bold the keywords in your description which helps catch the surfers eye and reinforces the idea that your link is relevant. In addition you might want to include location words in your description if the case warrants it. For example, if your link is to a hotel in Manila, you might want to mention Manila in the description . If your page is a contact page, you might want to include a phone number or address if relevant. It seems simple, but it often gets overlooked.
5. They Don’t Forgive So Don’t Forget
If you forget to write a meta description Google and the other search engines will pull text from your post and chop it off at 160 characters. This can result in descriptions that end in mid sentence. This keeps the user in suspense trying to guess the ending of the description. Users love wondering about the link they are about to click on, no really, they do.
Bear in mind that these are guidelines and not rules written in stone. Getting your site ranked is not enough; you need know how to write a good meta description so that the surfers will click your link. If all of this seems like it will add considerable time to your content creation rest assured that it will. It will also add commensurate results. With a little practice you will writing killer kung fu meta descriptions in only a few minutes that virtually abduct the visitors from the search engines and deliver them to your site before they know what hit them.