Now that your articles went live, you naturally want them to attract traffic. While doing this, you might find yourself skipping an essential part: meta description tags. By writing compelling, attractive and relevant descriptions you’ll have direct impact on click-behavior. You will have a direct input on the way people see your website in the list of reviews made by search engines, so in order to engage people and make them click on your article you’d want your descriptions to be optimized.
What are meta description tags?
They are HTML attributes which provide a concise explanations of the content of your articles/web pages. They are commonly used on search engine result pages in order to display preview snippets for a given page.
<meta name="description" content="This is an example of a meta description. You'll see this in search engine results.">
Why are they important?
Meta keywords tags are not important and you shouldn’t spend time on them. Almost no search engine uses them and people don’t really see them, so they are not helpful for your SEO strategy.
Meta description tags, on the other hand, are essential for gaining user clicks. By them you can influence traffic and conversion rates. They are short paragraphs that are an opportunity to advertise content to searchers and to give them the exact information about what the web page contains. This way they’ll know when to click on your page.
How to optimize your description tags
If you want to control the influx of users landing on your page, you need to know a few things about optimizing your description tags:
- use the keywords from your TITLE tag in the description
- optimally use between 150 to 160 characters (including spaces). Try and write no more than 156 words, because if you write too many words, those at the end of your description will get cut off on Google
- in order to avoid duplicate meta tags, make sure that each page on your website has a different meta description
- write in plain (and correct!) English and try and capture the searchers’ attention, by being informative, interesting and relevant.
How to improve your meta description
I want to recommend to you a few of the best resources available on the web:
- You can use the Squirrly Snippet from the Squirrly SEO WordPress Plugin. It allows you to customize your meta description and it also recommends to you a relevant one, by providing the first words/paragraph from your article.
- You can also use MozBar SEO toolbar, which lets you see relevant metrics in your browser as you surf the web.
- Another source is the Open Site Explorer, a free tool that gives you the ability to analyze up to 10,000 links to any site or page on the web.