As a client-centred B2B marketing agency, we want our clients to reap as much value from our partnerships as possible. We take pride in educating them on B2B marketing basics and see it as our mission to ensure that our partners become as knowledgeable as we are during the process of our projects.
Today, we will talk about the very basics of on-page SEO: Meta Descriptions. Namely, why they are important and how to make them work for you.
What is a Meta Description?
If you have ever worked with a digital agency before, then chances are you have heard the term ‘Meta Description’ mentioned a lot. But what exactly is a Meta Description? To put it in simple terms: it is a description that appears below the title and URL of the page in search engine results.
As you can see, the space is limited, so it is advised to keep the length of the copy to 140-160 characters. Meta Descriptions that are too long won’t fit in and be overlooked. However, if it’s too short, people will find it too vague to know if it meets their search intent. In other words – you must not go too long nor too short. We recommend checking your meta description length and keyword usage via Yoast. You can install it as an add-on a WordPress website or use it live – it’s a great tool.
Why is it important?
Rather than focusing on machines, Meta Descriptions are written for people. They appear with the title and URL, representing what the page is about and therefore have the power to either boost or decrease the click-through rate. Whilst it typically has minimal impact on your search engine positioning, we highly recommend including your target keyword in both the title and the body of the Meta Description. This is because it sends a relevancy signal for search engines, and the more Google factors you tick, the better your website’s SEO.
While this is far from the most important of SEO factors, keyword stuffing will hurt your efforts. The golden middle is to write a meaningful message of 1-2 lines that will include the keyword you’re targeting naturally.
Make meta descriptions work for you
When it comes to the appearance of your webpage on SERPs there is another ranking factor – and this one is not minor at all. It’s the click-through rate. In other words, the more users that click on your webpage from the search results, the more relevant Google will think it is and therefore will rank it higher. Meta Description needs to work with you, and therefore the best SEO practice is to write it with the intent of getting more clicks.
For a moment, abandon digital thinking and go back to traditional print. Search results are a newspaper – and your website is an ad. What is the best way to attract the reader and engage them enough to call a phone number or travel to the address? Headlines and taglines – or, in our digital case, titles and Meta Descriptions.
The Meta Description is your micro-pitch and it should convey your unique selling point. What makes you stand out, be more relevant and convenient for the searcher than other results? Specify it to them and don’t be afraid to appeal to emotions. According to a study from the Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of Glasgow, there are four main categories of human emotion:
You’ve got two sentences to connect with the potential visitor. As B2B marketing basics teach: do it through a call to action, a prod on an emotional pain point and offer a solution, or define how the user will benefit from visiting your site.
Keep in mind that the best practice is to have a unique Meta Description for each page. Many sites have duplicate Meta Descriptions, and it can be massively determinantal to your website if you don’t convey the message to either the search engine or the user.
B2B Marketing Basics: Meta Description Checklist
To summarise all of the above, we have prepared a convenient checklist to use when writing meta descriptions.
- Aim for 1-2 sentences;
- The keyword should be included in both, title and Meta Description;
- If relevant, add a clear call-to-action;
- Make sure there are no duplicate Meta Descriptions on the site;
- Write your Meta Description with a goal of getting clicks – make them meaningful and descriptive, summarising the content on the page;
- Target an emotion from the user.
Keep your eyes open for more B2B marketing basics explained. Still struggling with meta descriptions? Why not drop us an email?