Are you overlooking your meta descriptions?

Author: Jake | Created: 13-12-2021
Graffiti on a wall saying "Everything has beauty but not everyone can see it"

You're putting in a lot of effort to promote your business. You've mastered the majority of the other elements of effective search engine optimisation, such as writing product descriptions and optimising images (SEO).

Still, if you're like many business owners, one area of commerce SEO, meta descriptions, may be causing you problems. This post will show you how to build appealing meta descriptions and search engine optimise your website.

What is a meta description?

A meta description is a 155 to 160 character summary that describes the content of your webpage in HTML. It's the text that appears beneath your page's title.

When the meta description additionally includes the keywords being searched, search engines display it in the search results. Meta descriptions, unlike the page title, are not an SEO ranking factor, but they do persuade users to click through to a page and are an important aspect of on-page SEO. They appear in the page code as meta name="description" content= in a page's code, followed by the typed description.

The promise you offer to searchers is embodied in a meta description. It stands out in a sea of rival websites and says, "This is the page you're looking for."

When you enter a search query into Google—for example, "temporary tattoos"—the algorithm returns results on the search engine results page (SERP).

This page is quite confusing, so disregard all of the Shopping advertisements, photos, and videos for now and focus on the more typical organic search results.

Google serp for temporary tattoos

The "title tag" is the blue text at the top. They are the webpage's title. A page description of no more than 155 characters appears beneath them. This is the meta description for the page.

Doesn’t Google rewrite meta descriptions anyway? So why care?

According to a research by Ahrefs, Google rewrites meta descriptions for roughly 63 percent of search results. According to a survey, Google rewrites meta descriptions in mobile search results 71% of the time and 68% of the time on desktop. What does the future hold for retailers as a result of this shift? Why bother using meta descriptions if Google is free to display whatever it wants?

Google rewriting 62.78% of meta descriptions
Rewrote meta description
Use hardcoded description

The association between higher search volume terms and lower rewriting rates is the ultimate reason. Our SEO Team specialise in generating meta descriptions for e-commerce companies and optimising their stores for search.

They have shown that if stores target high-traffic keywords, your original meta description is more likely to display on your website just as you intended it. For e-commerce companies with a big amount of products, SEO can be time consuming and costly. Knowing that your meta descriptions will be altered can help you save time and money.

Focusing on generating really nice meta descriptions for your biggest traffic keywords is much more productive, because Google is more likely to employ them Rather than focusing on every single item you sell, concentrate on your bestsellers and category page meta descriptions.

Examples of good meta descriptions

Homepage:

Reading other people's meta descriptions may make the process appear straightforward, yet it is that simplicity that makes it so difficult to write. The meta description can't be much longer than a tweet because of the 155-character limit.

The good descriptions provide a quick summary of the site's content as well as a compelling cause to click on the title tag. Many searchers won't even recognise they're making a decision because it happens so swiftly and easily. They'll simply click on the link, which will satisfy their interest without requiring them to think about it.

Here is a good example of a great meta description.

Death wish coffee.com search engine result

Death Wish Coffee packs a punch thanks to its clever name. You can already tell what the company sells (coffee) and what its distinctive brand feature is from the first three words, "Death Wish Coffee" (hardcore, but tongue-in-cheek about it).

Death Wish then declares that it is "here to fuel your passion." It establishes an encouraging tone with these words. The phrase "highest quality arabica + robusta" informs readers that they sell high-quality coffee.

Product page:

Because your product pages aren't designed to speak for your entire company, writing meta descriptions for them is a little easier than writing them for your homepage.

Instead, they're advocating for something that gives shoppers a genuine benefit:

Selling cooking pans? Let the reader know how much easier cooking will be with this pan.

Are you looking to sell a garden spade? Allow the reader to visualise a strong and sturdy spade ready for use.   Take a look at the search result for So Worth Loving stickers for an excellent example of a persuasive meta description:

So Worth Loving.com product search result on Google

The description lets you know right away, in all caps, that a lot of stickers don't last as long as you want them to. SWL then claims that its stickers will address the problem.

Capitalising the meta description is a risky decision, and I wouldn't advocate doing it in all in caps. But it works here since the capitalisation doesn't appear to be there solely to attract attention. It also serves as a separator between the note and the rest of the content. This description works effectively after the note since it holds the reader's attention.

You must offer some indication of how the product differs from others. So Worth Loving accomplishes this by emphasising longevity and implying that its stickers will be extremely cool. Then it's all about allowing the customer to imagine themselves using the goods.

The ending, in particular, is fantastic. It begins the statement by implying that the product will elicit a strong emotion, but then directs you to the title tag to learn what that emotion is.

Though some SEO gurus advise writing whole sentences in your meta descriptions, a half-sentence might increase your click-through rate significantly (CTR).

If you're going to employ this method, make sure your meta description is as close to 155 characters as possible.

Category pages:

The meta descriptions for your category page, or collection page, should be your next priority. This page's goal is to gather comparable products together so that customers can browse them. For broad, high-volume keywords like "woman's shoes" or "men's sandals," collections pages may appear.

DSW.com showing on google in search for 'womens shoes'

The meta description of your category page should entice visitors by providing useful information about the collection, similar to how DSW lists the many shoe varieties in their women's shoes category.

How to write a good meta description

Now that we've learned what meta descriptions are, you're undoubtedly wondering how to use this knowledge to your own business.

To promote browser clicks, they also utilise simple action phrases like "Shop online for..." and "enjoy a huge selection and free shipping…”

Consider the customer mindset

To begin, consider what could entice a searcher to click on your title tag. This necessitates the answers to two questions:

  1. What do you have to offer?
  2. Why should I make a purchase from you?

The first query on product pages has a straightforward answer: you're selling your product. The fact that you're the one selling the product will solve the second problem.

It's a little more difficult to write meta descriptions for your home page. The greatest thing to do, as we saw with Death Wish Coffee, is to emphasise your brand constantly. That's the one thing your entire store has to offer, and it's why customers should shop with you.

Make it unique

Because the meta description isn't a place for nuance, tell readers what you do, tell them about your unique selling proposition, and repeat this information numerous times. It's usual to have trouble coming up with an excellent meta description for your homepage, so be patient and think carefully about your brand.

What do returning customers say about your business if you've been there for a while? And, if you're a newcomer, what made you think this company would be successful?

Your meta description's purpose is to garner clicks, but it's also a chance to promote your business.  Think of meta descriptions as a continuation of your brand and an opportunity to clearly describe your USP (unique selling proposition) utilising relevant keywords.  They're small ads, and despite the character limit, they're great for short bursts of promotion.

Talk to people about your company and write out a description like an elevator pitch. You'll most likely want to read through a few draughts. It's critical to do everything perfect because this will be many clients' first introduction to you and your business. You also don't want redundant meta descriptions on your website, as this can hurt your search engine rankings.

Keep it at optimal length

When it comes to the length of your meta description, stay under the 155 character restriction. Any text beyond that will most likely be chopped off by Google. As Fashion Nova does below, start your description with the most relevant language, such as action phrases or a few lines about your brand.

Fashion Nova.com Google search result
Make it actionable

Consider meta descriptions to be the welcome mat for your online store. Make certain that your description is concise, interesting, and actionable. Tell your audience what to expect from your page.

Don't use too many adjectives or fancy words. You may want to use words like "amazing" or "show-stopping," but this may deter searchers from clicking. Make sure it's relevant to your page, even if you're using intriguing terminology.

This Bonobos description is an excellent example. It's succinct, motivational, and speaks straight to the reader. By scrolling through, you know you'll find a terrific pair of dress pants.

bonobos.com search engine result

Add a call to action

People will be compelled to click through to your page if you include a call to action in your meta description. They assist readers in comprehending what you have to provide and what to expect after they click. Focus on distinct motivations driving their search for e-commerce stores.

If you search for a more general term, such as women's shoes, you'll see that the top results are a number of category sites. People surf category sites rather than product pages when they want to buy something. In your call to action, reflect those goals.

The following are some e-commerce call to action examples:

  • Shop now
  • Explore the collection
  • Discover new trends
  • Browse the collection

Use your target keyword

To help search engines rank your page, find a way to integrate your goal term. Make sure it sounds like it was written by a human. For example, packing all of your target keywords into a meta description like "Buy Women's Shoes, Women's Tennis Shoes, and Women's Shoes on Sale here!" doesn't seem good for your company because it feels forced and robotic.

Instead, use the Shoe Carnival example below to naturally tie the term into your description:

Shoe Carnival search engine result

Try to avoid meta description generator

There's some discussion regarding whether or not to employ meta description generators. Descriptions generated by generators might be bland and lack individuality. However, if you're a company with thousands of SKUs and insufficient resources to write them, they might work.

Make your descriptions one of a kind

Whether you're a first-time store owner or a seasoned ecommerce webmaster, interesting meta descriptions are critical for increasing website traffic, providing a positive user experience, and increasing conversion rates. By checking the boxes above, you'll be well on your way to web-optimising your site, and you'll soon notice the benefits of increased traffic and sales.

Meta description FAQ

What should write in a meta description?

A persuasive explanation of the page someone is about to click on should be included in the meta description. It should make it clear what they'll get if they click through. To aid search engines in indexing and ranking the website, meta descriptions should include a target keyword.

Are meta descriptions impotent for SEO?

Yes. Both search engines and web browsers benefit from a meta description tag. They assist browsers with determining what your website is about and whether it will respond to their query. A customised meta description can boost clicks and search visibility.

What are the best meta description practices?

  • Consider a browser’s mindset
  • Make it unique
  • Keep it at optimal length
  • Make it actionable
  • Add a call to action
  • Use your target keyword
  • Avoid meta description generators

Need help in the metaverse?

Don't dilly dally, drop us a message.

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