Tweets, blurbs and short descriptions seem like little nuances we have to write as a last minute “tack-on” type deal. I sometimes (most of the time) feel the same way when I have to write a meta description for every. single. blog post. But I’m also here to tell you that’s wrong! We should and will care about meta descriptions. There’s a slot for them in every blog platform for a reason. Here’s how you can turn yourself into a blurb writing pro!
A Meta Wha?
Meta descriptions are the 130-character blurbs you see in Google under the title and URL. What the meta description should tell you is a brief summary of what you can expect to see on the page available. Below is a screenshot displaying just that:
This is what you can expect to see when searching for “Vitru Compare”. Google provides you with the title of the page, the URL and the meta description. If you don’t fill out your meta description, Google pulls text for you, and it could end up looking like this:
This description is pulled by Google and tells me absolutely nothing about what I can expect from the SEO Warrior page. Michiel Heijmans (@michielheijmans) from Yoast says meta descriptions aren’t necessarily good for SEO, but you can see how they could be detrimental to User Experience, therefore making them noteworthy. Get out ya pen and paper, kids!
See what @michielheijmans from Yoast has to say about meta descriptions and user experience. #SEOTips Click To Tweet
Characteristics of a Solid Meta:
We’re basically programmed to write short blurbs thanks to Twitter, so the length part should be easy for most of us Twitter users. While there isn’t necessarily a set number or length to go by, it’s best to keep meta descriptions between 130 and 150 characters strictly for the reason of having the entire description displayed on Google. If you go over 150 characters, your meta will get chopped off and readers won’t be able to read the rest of your GENIUS description. Like this:
This recipe can be WHAT, EPICURIOUS?! Keep it simple. Keep it short.
You love when I talk about keywords, right? Since Googlers are generally trying to find answers as quick as possible, they’re only going to skim until they find what they’re looking for. Have you ever noticed Google will bold the search terms you enter in the search bar in descriptions? Like this:
I googled, “Vitru team building activity,” and Google emphasized “team building activity” by bolding it in the meta description. The lesson here? Place your keywords closer to the beginning of your meta description so when readers are skimming, they’ll see the search term and (hopefully) click on your site!
Be Motivational… like Oprah
Oprah always be yellin’ and getting people all riled up. You don’t necessarily have to yell, because, well, it’s the internet and people might take it the wrong way, BUT the point is to write with active voice and include a call-to-action in your meta description. If you write in a passive tone, readers are likely to scroll right past your site. If you give them a reason to click on your site, they can’t say no, sí? Exhibit A:
Always start with an action verb and end with an invitation to do something. People like being invited to do things, especially free things!
Write with an active voice and include a call-to-action in your meta description. #SEOTips Click To Tweet
Match Like Besties
This should be a dead giveaway, but your meta description must!!!! match your content. Sites with misleading metas are detected by Google and get hit because of it. The point is not only to get readers to click on your site, but you want them to actually be able to click around the site and get what they came looking for. Falsifying your description just to get people to click into your site boggs credibility. Don’t do it. Be nice.
Take these tips and your Tweet-writing expertise to the yoasting section of your site platform and get to describing cool web pages and blog posts!