How to optimise meta descriptions for clicks

Getting your site to rank well on Google for your top search terms takes a lot of time, talent, and effort – but just getting into a good position doesn’t mean that the hard work is done. You have managed to get a potential visitor’s attention by appearing in the right place; but they’ve got other options to click on in the SERPs. You need to ensure that your listing is as enticing as it can possibly be.

Your meta description is the last chance that you have to make a great impression on this (potential) customer, and convince them to click. A simple test conducted by SEMrush found that a longer meta description increased the click-through rate by 36 per cent. So, despite the fact that meta descriptions are not considered to be a ranking factor by Google, they can be seriously important for your website.

Here, we take a look at 11 great tips to help you optimise your meta descriptions to get more clicks.

1. Think about intent

You need to consider the intent of the customer when they are making their search query. If the query is transactional (such as “book Barbados holiday”) you need to inspire the customer to click, showing off that the product you offer is the best in the listings.

If the query is informational (such as “best time to visit Barbados”), you need to give users an idea of the topics that are being covered to confirm what you’ve written about is what they want. It’s also an opportunity to show what content you’ve got which your competitors don’t.

2. Ensure your key phrase is used

There is no SEO benefit to having a meta description optimised with the key phrase that your page is targeting. However, when someone searches for a phrase it will be in bold in the description, making it stand out, reinforcing your meta title text, and therefore more likely to encourage a click on your listing.

3. Use Search Console data

It is important to ensure that you are optimising your descriptions for the right key phrases. Take a look at your Search Console data and establish which keywords you are appearing for which you are not currently optimising for. It may be the case that you can incorporate related keywords into your description.

4. Consider emojis

Emojis in SERPs are very much a reality, and they can make a big difference to your click-through rate. There are a wide range of options if you’re trying to grab the attention of a user such as ticks, stars, eyes, and more. Of course, this will only be relevant to you if the audience you are targeting is likely to respond positively to the emojis you use.

5. Check out the competition

It’s a great idea to take a look at what your competitors are doing with their meta descriptions. How are they constructing them, and what are they using them to say? Of course, it is important to note here that part of what you are looking for is opportunities – take notice of the things that your competitors aren’t doing, so that you can stand out in the listings.

6. Consider it an advert

Think of your meta description as an advert for your page – it needs to be a hook; a catchy line or two of copy to win over the market. The most effective meta descriptions are succinct, to the point, and remain within your brand style.

7. Leave out unnecessary information

Don’t put miscellaneous information in your meta description. Having a phone number in it may seem like a good idea, but at this point the user probably doesn’t know who you are or have enough information (yet) to get in touch directly. So, take a different approach and ease them in. Remember, you should have your GMB set up to include the phone number if people are searching directly for contact details.

8. Is it a locally targeted page?

If you are targeting a location then you need to make sure that you have the name of the area, town, or region in your description. It reaffirms to the user that you offer a local service.

9. Stick to the limit

It is always recommended that you don’t go above a limit of 155 characters – any characters beyond this point will be cut off and leave your meta description looking unfinished.

10. Write like a human

It can be tempting to cram as much information into the meta description as possible, but remember at all times that it is only going to be humans reading it. This means that you need to focus entirely on what humans like to read.

11. Include an action word or a question

It is best to make your meta descriptions dynamic, and you can do this by posing a question or suggesting an action. For example, adding in a CTA such as ‘book a free trial today’ helps a potential customer understand the path to converting.

As with any changes to your website, it is always best to test different variations of the changes (such as to your CTAs or wording choices) in order to find the solution that works best. You might be surprised at the things that work in your meta description – they may not be the first thing you think of.

At Artemis we specialise in all aspects of SEO, including the use of high quality meta descriptions. If you would like to learn more about what we could do for your business, please get in contact with our team today.