Numerous factors can help boost a website up Search Engine Result Page (SERP) rankings when it comes to on-page SEO.
Meta descriptions are an interesting one.
Technically speaking, they are not considered a ranking factor by Google.
However, they are still significant when it comes to user experience (UX), and THAT can be an influencing factor.
Let’s take a look at the importance of meta descriptions.
What Is A Meta Description?
OK, let’s start at the beginning.
A meta description is the text that appears beneath a website’s page title in SERPs.
It aims to accurately describe what the page is all about.
Think about meta descriptions like shop windows; the copy needs to ‘sell’ your web page’s content by enticing visitors to click the link.
We’ll talk more about that shortly.
Best Practice For Meta Descriptions
In terms of their functionality, meta descriptions need to:
- Be accurate,
- Be descriptive
- Be fairly short
- Contain keywords
- Let’s take a look at these criteria in more detail.
Meta Description Length
The optimum length for a meta description is around 155 – 160 characters.
If it's any longer than this, Google may just cut it off (there's only so much room on its result pages), and that just looks a little… naff.
Meta Description Content
In terms of being descriptive, it’s crucial that the meta description 'sells' the web page's content.
Potential visitors will use your meta description to determine whether they want to visit your site.
Meta Description Accuracy
It's important that the text is accurate.
Don’t go making any wild claims about your web page that just aren’t true.
‘Click bait’ might win you some visits, but if people find that your content doesn’t match up with your meta description, they’ll soon leave.
The resultant high bounce rate won’t go unnoticed, and Google will think again about your position on its search pages.
Meta Descriptions should definitely include keywords.
But if meta descriptions aren’t a ranking factor, why bother adding keywords? I hear you cry.
Again, I refer you to the importance of UX.
If your meta description’s keywords match any search terms that a user has typed into Google, they’ll show up in bold.
Not only does this literally highlight your meta description to human browsers, but it also offers some reassurance that your page just might hold the answer/product/service that they're looking for.
Conclusion: Can Meta Descriptions Boost Traffic To My Website?
We have looked at the definition of a meta description and described some of the best practices involved with writing them.
Can they boost traffic to your website?
Well, yes, they could.
As discussed, while meta descriptions may not strictly be an influencing factor in SERPs, they can certainly help humans decide if they want to visit your site.
Well-written, accurate and concise meta descriptions can act as a shop window for browsers.
If people like what you’re selling, they’ll pop in and take a look. So, coupled with effective on and off-page SEO, meta descriptions could undoubtedly help boost your web traffic.
Need help with your SEO?
Contact Orca Online Marketing today.