Write your meta description like it’s ad copy

Next on your list of things to check, whilst you’re carrying out your SEO Health Check, are your Meta tag descriptions. Just like your title tags they need to be…

Avidmode SEO Checkup - this week we look at meta descriptions

Next on your list of things to check, whilst you’re carrying out your SEO Health Check, are your Meta tag descriptions. Just like your title tags they need to be unique for every page. There’s a trend going on here isn’t there? If you get the feeling that the search engines are very interested in unique content, then you’d be right.

Your meta description appears in the search results below your title tag. If you don’t fill this in yourself, the search engines grab whatever they believe to be relevant on your page add that instead. This is sometimes the first 140 characters in your text, but on other occasions, they seem to pull out random words that make little or no sense when put together.

So, the lesson learned here is to craft your own unique meta description. It should be noted that it’s not always used, but it is often enough to make a difference.

How to structure your meta descriptions

When you’re deciding what to write for each one make sure that you include the main keyword as near to the start of the description as you can. Make the most of the space by describing what the content of the page is. You can even put a call to action in there if it’s relevant and on topic.

Most people miss the opportunity to use this as a piece of advertising real estate. You’re competing with ads in most search engine results, so the copy that you write for your meta descriptions has to pass muster as ad copy in order to entice people to click through to your website.

Checking your meta descriptions

The best way to check these for your website is to go into the Google Webmaster Tools dashboard, navigate to the diagnostics section and then take a look at the HTML suggestions. It will tell you if your Meta descriptions are too long, too short or duplicated.

Needless to say, if you find any errors you’ll need to fix them don’t get disheartened if you find you have a few to rework after all 140 characters is only the length of a tweet and you don’t have to get them all done at once. Space them out over a period of time by scheduling a few a day.

How did that go with your site? If you need more help on the SEO front whether it be meta descriptions, blogging or setting up your new web pages then give us a shout and we will take a look over it with you!

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  1. Mattias Gronborg on 4 December 2012 at 12:37 am

    Important SEO stuff you bring up here. Thanks for that! You describe how I can check meta description using webmaster tools. But, what is your favorite SEO tool for WordPress? That solve this when you are writing your post etc.

    Thanks again!

  2. Kittie Walker on 4 December 2012 at 1:26 pm

    Hey Mattias!

    Personally my favourite tool is WP SEO from Yoast. I think that he’s really switched on. The product is great right out of the box, although the settings can be a bit difficult for first time users to get their heads around, but there are plenty of video tutorials and a manual if you prefer reading. I’ve tried a wide variety of plugins over the years and his is the best I’ve found. His blog (http://yoast.com/) is also a pretty useful resource.

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