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With Googles claim of not using meta description as a ranking factor in search engine optimization, you may think they do not matter any longer. They still matter, although not for those things they used to count for.
They still found relevance as they are a part of the things displayed on the search engine result page. When search engines feature your content, they show your URL and title. The title is a blue line of text that is clickable. Below is a sample of a meta description from one of my content
This set of text gives readers an insight into the content they are about to consume. The good thing about most search engines is that they will automatically set up a meta description for your content even when you fall to do so. I am sure you will not want that. It will not carry the content you want. It is not going to represent your heartfelt thought of your content. As such spending, some few minutes on creating one is worth it.
Let us get it right; each page on your website is a contributing factor to Google ranking. Like I said initially, Google has stated that Meta description does not directly affect your Google ranking. This decision to remove meta description came as a result of markers overstuffing their meta description with keywords in a bid to rank for some particular keywords.
But here is winner card, what matters most to Google is user behaviour. What is on your website is not as relevant as how people engage with your content. User behaviour and engagement is the key to Google’s heart. As such, you should take anything that will create an excellent user experience serious. The meta description is one of the first things on Search engine result page or any other result pages that will determine or create a good user experience.
Google prioritize user experience on the note that a measure of users experience or engagement is the best way to evaluate the relevance of your content. As such, your meta description should be to educate and give clarity with regards to the content of your page. So the key here is to create a meta description that is appealing and not stuffed with keywords.
Creating this kind of meta description is not difficult. But of what importance is this meta description, how do you go about creating it, and what are the don’ts of the process. This will and lots more will be the focus of this article.
How to Craft a Meta Description
1. Make it interesting and unique.
Remember our second reason why you should create a meta description is user experience. As such, the first is getting clicks. Your meta description should be good enough to attract users to click on your link. You must learn to write in such a way as not to bore your readers, so you must learn to use an active voice when writing. Tell your readers what to expect in brief and avoid unnecessary details. Most importantly is to ensure that your description is a description of what to expect on your website. Another way out is adding a call to action statement to your meta description to encourage your visitors to read more.
2. Engage the power of your keywords
We all know how hard it is coming up with keywords. One of the easiest ways to come up with keywords is using a keyword tool. Being good does not mean it should cost you a fortune or be difficult to use. One easy to use a keyword tool that is also affordable is Jaaxy keyword tool. It will help you generate keywords at a reasonable cost.
After generating keywords, it is up to you to maximize their usage and achieve the right results using them. Placing them in appropriate places should be your priority.this should start with your headlines, title, blog post, landing pages, and your meta description should not be exempted.
Your meta description is a signalling device to both users and search engine the overall objective of your content. As such, you should not leave your keywords out of this essential part of your content. Let us see an example from Neil Patel shown below.
Niel Patel has diligently crafted the keyword both in the title and also in the meta description. He used the words naturally in a place of relevance, not over-stuffing the few lines with keywords. It tells users what the content is about in an educative manner.
3. Avoid Duplicating Meta Description
As your business continues to scale, the probability of producing articles with similar or related content is high. Avoid the temptation of duplicating meta description, always craft out unique meta description. Original and accurate Meta description will help achieve a higher click-through rate.
I have shown you what a meta description is and how to create one. Just before I begin with the advantages of a meta description, it is good we see some mistake we make with the meta description when creating our blog post.
Common errors with Meta Description
1. Avoid Extending it beyond 160 characters
When it comes to the length of your meta description, Google has been unstable in the past few years. In 2017 the came up with character length of 320 for your meta description. Later in 2019 they came back and requested a meta description of 160 characters.
Those bloggers who rushed to adjust their snippets to 320 characters are back adjusting all of their work back to 160 characters. Now, I know you will be asking, what is the key to creating a good meta description.
Do not make it too long; the function of your meta description is to help you achieve a high click-through rate (CTR). Make it short and precise, not more than 160words. Pass your information as simple as possible.
2.Do not leave the space blank.
It is another mistake a lot of us make. Either because they forget or they do not know what to write. Worst case scenario, copy a part of your article and paste there. If you make it a habit to either be the first thing or last thing you do. For me, I create my articles on the google doc. On transferring to WordPress, my meta description and title are my first task. That way, I will not forget.
3.Avoid Coping directly from your article.
Although you do not want to leave the space blank, you need to fill up space. But coping directly from your article is not the best idea. You have invested a lot of time writing this article. I know it won’t be less than 300 words (although 300 words are too short if you ask me). Putting little additional effort into your work will not break you. It will help your work come out well.
Creatively craft a meta description for your work. It is just 160 characters.
4. Avoid Duplicate Description
You may be working on the same or similar topics; it is quite tempting to use the same meta description for the articles. For example, I have a course on WordPress. It is targeted at beginners. It can be tempting to add the same meta description across more than 8 topical issues.
I will be shooting my self in the leg. Each of these articles is distinct on their own. They should carry a unique meta description.
5.Never forget your keywords
Your keywords are essential when creating meta description. Just like you will want to include your keyword in the first paragraph of your article, include it in your meta description.
Don’t join folks who think it is not important, or who forget inserting their words.
6.Avoid Stuffing Keyword
I will not be surprised that some people will still want to stuff keywords everywhere in their content. They extend this to things like meta description; do not join them. It is bad practice. Search engines now have bots that look beyond keyword density but consider relevance.
I have not said that keyword density does not play its role, but keyword density and relevance are both given priority by search engine bots.
So avoid stuffing your content with keywords, it will make them difficult to read, they begin to look spammy, and you may end up getting no reward for them.
7.Avoid giving out the content of your article
Summing up the whole idea of your content is easy, but it is not the objective of a meta description. Like I said initially, it should help increase your CTR. Summarizing everything in few words will reduce your CTR.
Write a meta description to build anticipation and excitement. They should be excited to want to see what is in your article
8. Don’t forget your call to action
You heard me right. A meta description should include a call to action. The trailers on movies do not just say it is a nice or educative movie. They go further to request that you watch the movie.
Do the same with your meta description. Apart from telling what is inside your content, create anticipation. Also, instruct them to click the link to read your article. Remember, it is meant to increase your click-through rate.
9. Don’t avoid your competitors
Avoiding your competitors may be digging another grave. I always look out for my competitors to see what they are doing and how I can produce what they have produced, if possible do better.
Form the habit of using your keyword to check the phrases on the first page of Google and see what is unique about them. These articles are of top priority on Googles listing, and something is unique about them.
It is not time to copy but to pick inspiration.
Advantages of using the Meta description
Although Google has said meta description has no direct relation with your ranking. But it remains an integral part of your content when it comes to driving traffic and improving the overall performance of your website. Below are the advantages we derive when used properly.
1. Decide for search engines
Although it is not a ranking factor, search engines will create one by themselves for your website if you don’t create one. It will result in your snippet appearing in an unfriendly and uncoordinated manner.
They can omit important details or cutoff useful information. So doing, they will display irrelevant details. You will not want this. So, you should spend some time creating one for yourself.
2. Result in higher click-through rate
If you spend some little time and craft a decent meta description, it will increase your click-through rate. I have said this before, But let me shed a little light on it. When searching on Google, we all land on the result page. One of the first things we do is to read through the meta description, and we click on the most attractive.
Same happens to your readers, they browse through and click the best meta description. Spend time crafting a good meta description, it will increase your click-through rate and finally help boost your ranking
3. A meta description is a mini Advert
When your article appears on the Search Engine Result Page (SERP), it shows your headline, your title and your meta description. Take your meta description as an opportunity to advertise your content