Meta descriptions, html attributes which provide an explanation of the content of a web page, are used by search engines to describe website search results. Up until Sept 2009, they were used by search engines to determine rank for the page. They, along with meta keywords, are no longer considered in ranking factors.
They are, however, very important to enticing searchers to click on our natural listing. Writing compelling ad copy will draw searchers to our displayed results, thus improving click through traffic. Of course, the higher we rank for a specific keyword query the higher the possibility of being clicked. But when a searcher is trying to determine which ad to click on, after the search results are displayed, the more compelling ad will get the greater clicks. So it is very important for us to have very persuasive descriptions.
In reviewing our search query traffic I have found that our click-through percentages seem to be quite low, and stand in need of improvement. For example, during a 30 day period, for the term “Lund Boats” there were 35,000 impressions. We have ranked in several locations on the page for that term during that period. When we ranked 3rd, we had 5,500 impressions with 90 clicks for a 2% click-through rate. In this example, improving our ad copy could help to increase our click-through rate, thus increasing our traffic. I feel this is some good low-hanging fruit which can produce some immediate results.
Creating compelling meta description ad copy, testing different variations and going with our winners, should help to improve our traffic.
To help, here are a few good tips to create compelling descriptions:
Keep the length of the description to 155 characters.
Have a unique meta description for each website page.
Have one or two of your main keywords in the description, if those keywords are in the search query, they will appear in bold in the search results.
Mention the product or our “unique selling proposition.”
Use a “call to action.”
Include our brand name.
Be honest and don’t over promise.
Review our competition and make your description better than theirs. Consider what would motivate you over the other listings on the page.