How to write a metadescription

Your website is up and running, your content is polished and appealing, and your keywords are carefully selected to attract the relevant users. So, where are all those clicks?

While there are many factors involved in marketing your site to the right clientele, paying special attention to the metadescription can set your site apart from the others and increase traffic by tailoring the text that is shown to the user.

The metadescription is the text that appears as a description of your site’s content, and can be customized to include those carefully selected keywords and appeal to the users.

Example of Google metadescription

While nearly everything on your site is subject to the analytics of search engine algorithms which determine how, when and where it appears in the list of results, a good metadescription will appeal to the human viewers as well. Essentially, the metadescription is the sales pitch of your page, giving you 150-160 characters to draw in a user. Some people prefer to work with just 145 because it is the only way to be sure that the search engine won’t cut the text.

To attract the attention of the search engine as well as the human users, the keywords that you’ve selected need to appear in this metadescription, where they will appear in bold. However, these words shouldn’t just appear in a list format. You need to craft a description that is readable and inviting and which corresponds to the title tag. Your metadescription, like the page’s title tag, ought to be unique for each page of your site.

So, to craft the perfect metadescription, use the 1-3 keywords you’ve chosen for your site and create a concise sentence which describes or explains the intent of your page. In general, for well-focused webpages, a carefully constructed metadescription will serve to improve the user’s understanding of the page’s content before even clicking the link. This conciseness can thus communicate a high level of usability of your site, further improving the page’s traffic.

Steps to creating the perfect metadescription:

  1. Select your page’s keywords (between 1-3)
  2. Create 1-2 sentences that synthesize the information that your page wants to communicate.
  3. If necessary, shorten your 1-2 sentences to include only the most important information, as search engines tend to cut off after 150-160 characters. You want all of your keywords to appear within those first 150-160 characters if possible.

To give an example of this process, let’s imagine that you own a language learning website, and you want to create a metadescription for an article on a site that aims to help early Spanish learners correct their pronunciation. The webpage is titled, “5 Tips on How to Fix Pronunciation.” Assuming that the page uses the keywords ‘Pronunciation,’ ‘Spanish’ and ‘Language-learning,’ we can thus create a synthesis of the page’s intent in more detail.

For example, “Enhance your language-learning with these 5 pronunciation tips for beginning Spanish learners.” Is a short, but explicit description of the title. Another option, which can easily translate to a desire to keep reading is, “To improve your pronunciation of Spanish words that foreigners most commonly mispronounce, follow these 5 tips.”

To draw attention to your site, writing a metadescription that is concise and includes important keywords is of importance. However, a metadescription which also engages users with its readability and well-crafted synthesis is can be key to increasing your site’s user traffic.

For more information, you can view Moz.com’s advice on metadescriptions and SEO here.

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