Understanding Meta Descriptions

A lot of elements go into successful marketing, from SEO-friendly content to effective distribution strategies. For most beginners to the field, the basics are quite clear, but the nuances can get a little convoluted. This is especially true for components that break outside the norm, like the ever-important meta description.

Most newcomers to the digital space are scared off by the name alone, incorrectly assuming that the premise is something high-tech and hard to figure out. In reality, the ins and outs of meta descriptions aren’t that challenging, giving you a great way to embellish your optimization opportunities and give your content a better chance of ranking well in the SERPs.

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What Is a Meta Description?

So, if meta descriptions are so important, what exactly are they?

Meta titles and descriptions are HTML attributes that provide additional information about a web page. In less techy terms, it refers to the page title and description details provided to search engines to assist in the evaluation process.

Metadata isn’t usually visible when you’re on a page unless you decide to dig around in page source data, but it certainly makes a big impact when it comes to search engines. When you Google a phrase, you don’t just see the URL. Instead, you see a page title that provides a quick burst of descriptive info and a brief blurb with a little more color about what visitors can expect. These titles and descriptions comprise metadata, giving web users insight into the contents of a particular site or page. While seemingly insignificant, these simple words can go a long way in helping a searcher decide what link to ultimately choose. Sites without these qualities often go unnoticed, ranking far below descriptive, detailed pages with robust meta descriptions.

Why Do Meta Descriptions Matter?

Meta descriptions are more than just a few words that describe your website, most notably when it come to your marketing strategy. In fact, meta descriptions have a lot of benefits to your methodology.

Great meta descriptions can have a big effect on organic click-through rates. A good description provides information a web user is looking for, making it more likely that searchers will click on your page for the details they need. This can carry through to social media, as well: most sites posted to social platforms are displayed with meta descriptions visible, giving a new audience a way to evaluate the assets you have to offer.

Additionally, meta descriptions can play a big role in advanced searches. While most web users are content with a basic search, Google does offer advanced options that scour metadata, looking for the best possible fit.

How to Win at Meta Descriptions

You know now how important metadata can be, but not all descriptions are made equal.

An effective meta description has a simple formula: concise, compelling content of no more than 155 characters with one to two keywords. Descriptions should include benefits, if applicable, a strong snapshot of the details available, and contact information if it fits. Full sentences aren’t always necessary; getting the point across should be your main objective. Descriptions that are too long will get cut off, while a lack of value will turn searchers away. No matter your preferences, stick with short, impactful phrases.

A great content strategy isn’t complete without the right approach to meta descriptions. If you want to make sure you’re on the right track, RivalMind is prepared to help you make marketing choices that are right for you. Get in touch with our team today!

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