Search engine optimization for small and very small businesses.

How To Write Great Meta Descriptions For Your Business

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Meta descriptions are not used to directly determine your SEO rankings. However, they do convince searchers to visit your website. A bad meta description might undermine your web page — or your brand.

Below I’ve explained how your business can write great meta descriptions in order to  turn casual searchers into paying customers.

Recommended reading: 10 SEO Mistakes Small Businesses Make

Why are meta descriptions important to your business?

SEO makes your web pages rank well in SERPs. You then need to convince searchers that your business provides them with the result they’re looking for. This is what your meta descriptions do – meta descriptions are your sales people.

You need to produce winning sales pitches for you business by writing great meta descriptions for your web pages. Here’s how.

Start with the PSO approach

Before you do anything you need to get inside the heads of your customers. They’ve searched Google because they’re looking for answers. Your way to to make sure your business has these answers is to follow the PSO (Problem, Solution, Outcome) approach. I’ll use the example of health and fitness – something I’ve searched for plenty of times myself!

  • Problem: Your customers want to be fitter and healthier
  • Solution: How are you going to help them achieve their goals
  • Outcome: Make your customers see how your business has improved their lives

Here is an example of a meta description for a business in the health and fitness industry. I searched fitness wear to get the results:

Google snippet with a well constructed meta description tag.This brand is all about showing love to US made products. It knows that its target audience is searching for workout clothes. But it goes further. It sells itself as being exciting. The outcome? You’ll look so good in these clothes that “you’ll wear them all the time.” It’s just a shame that the number of brands in the title and meta don’t match.

Meta description length: Make sure Google doesn’t cut you off

A copywriter will tell you that one of the basic rules of writing is to deliver the right amount of content. Don’t go over the word count and don’t run short. You have to take the same approach with your meta descriptions.

If your meta descriptions are too short you’ve missed valuable space to sell the value of your business. If your meta descriptions are too long Google will cut them off, leaving half complete words and sentences.

You might have read that your meta description length is all about characters. And that your metas need to be up to 160 characters long – or 300 since the changes made by Google in December 2017. This is wrong. It’s all about pixels.

The reason that pixels are so important is that some letters and numbers are longer than others. This means you could have the right number of characters but still find your metas cut off. To make sure your meta descriptions are the right length keep to the following:

  • 920 pixels for desktop
  • 680 pixels for mobile

If you have a mobile responsive web design the same page will be used on mobile and desktop. This means the same meta will be used, which means the meta could be squashed. To get around this problem, use 920 pixels and then enable the viewport tag. The video below explains how to do this:

To be certain your meta descriptions don’t have too many pixels in them I recommend using a tool to view how Google will see them. My preferred tool is SEOmofo but there are plenty out there which you can use – a tool wouldn’t have stopped the below meta description from being terrible (the content is all kinds of awful), but it would have meant Sears knew it was too long:

Google snippet with a meta description that's tooo long

Focus on your customer – not your business

Too many businesses forget that their customers don’t care about them. What their customers care about is their needs. The structure of your meta descriptions will be formed from the PSO approach. The content of your metas needs to be inspired by your customers.

To convince your customers your business has what they’re looking for, your metas need to talk about and to your customers.

Product pages and blog posts need to tell your customer how your products are going to improve their lives. Gymshark is the top fitness and apparel brand on Instagram. I’ve picked a random page to show how Gymshark writes a great meta description:

Google snippet with a great meta description

The customer is the center of the content. It’s “your” back “your” all-important rest day. It’s playful and caring. But what’s really great about this meta is that it uses curiosity to create a great CTA – more on that soon…

Your home page needs to make a personal connection between your brand and your customer. The Fit Boxx is one of the top performing fitness brands on Exchange. I’ve looked at its home page to see how great the meta description is:

Google snippet illuistrating a good customer-focused meta description

Craft your meta description carefully.Your customers want to be told about the benefits of your products, not the features. In this great example, the customer is told that The Fit Boxx will provide them with the key fitness products they need “and more.” Not only that, the brand will deliver to their door.

All of the major questions a customer would have about a crossfit brand are answered in the meta. And the focus is purely upon the benefits. Now they just need to click through and find out how much this will cost.

Make sure you have a CTA

While it’s important to show your customers that your brand has what they need, don’t forget that your meta description is a piece of sales copy. In order to make sure you convert searchers into customers you need a CTA (Call To Action).

Include a Call To ActionThere are a number of top tips to writing a CTA that will give you a great meta description:

  • Use a command verb: These tell your customer to do something. Great examples include “buy,” “now,” and “visit.”
  • Include offers with a timescale: Giving your customer an offer or discount is always a winning sales tactic. Telling your customers they only have a limited time before it runs out encourages them to act, NOW!
  • Inspire curiosity: Another technique is to keep your customers in the dark (a little). Tease them by giving part of the message and leaving some of it open. While it may sound counterproductive, industry-leading marketer Neil Patel has explained that curiosity leads to increased sales

For more information on how to write a CTA that converts, check out the brilliant video below:

A great meta description will convince your customers that you have what they need, getting them on to your website where they can buy your products. Follow the guidance in this article and you’ll be writing great meta descriptions that will win you business.

Victoria Greene

Victoria Greene
is a branding consultant, freelance writer, and SEO content specialist. On her blog, VictoriaEcommerce, you’ll find an array of articles to help your startup make the most of ecommerce tactics to increase your revenue.


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