Snippets Matter: A Little Text Goes a Long Way
By Sarah Malcolm, COO of The Content Funnel
Sometimes, in a rush to publish our blog or web page, we gloss over the meta-description or the snippets box. You may have heard that search engines don’t use the meta-description when ranking or indexing your page, and so why waste your time optimizing it? Either it’s left blank, or we cut-and-paste the introduction with little thought.
Don't underestimate the meta-description box on your blog. Search engines use the text to drive traffic to your web pages. If nothing else, those few sentences advertise what your web page offers to a searcher. If the title is top dog in luring a reader to click-through, that snippet closes the sale. To write your best snippet:
#1. Reflect your content.
Remember, a meta-description represents what readers will find on that web page. Don’t misrepresent your content. This leads to a high bounce rate, and in turn, search engines will rank your webpage lower in results. Summarize the real content of that particular page or tout the benefits visitors will gain from the click-through.
#2. Do not repeat the title.
The title made the searcher pause and consider a visit. Don’t waste space by saying the title over again or even rephrasing it. Give a hint at the juicy bits hiding on the webpage.
#3. Keep it short.
For a meta-description, aim for between 150-155 characters including spaces or 1-2 sentences. Anything longer will be cut off by the search platform and wasted effort. Channel your inner winning Twitter afiociando and craft some killer concise sentences.
#4. Entice the CTA.
So you have 1-2 sentences summarizing your web page or blog and selling the searcher to choose you. Drive the click-through home by adding a call-to-action to the end of the snippet. Three little words can go a long way to bumping organic web traffic.
#5. Add keywords.
Okay, maybe search engines say that the meta description doesn’t impact the search engine placement. The next time you do a web search, see how many of those keywords appeared in the snippets on the results ranking on page one. If readers are searching it, you’d better add keywords to prove your content matches the reader’s search.
#6. Avoid duplication.
Even if the content is similar, never repeat your meta descriptions across pages. Every web page or blog post is unique and the displayed snippet should reflect that. If you truly can not think of text, leave it blank and let the search engine create it for you.
Don’t let your meta-description feel neglected. It’s a valuable tool in enticing organic traffic through search engines. Even Google notes that meta-descriptions can improve the quality and quantity of your search traffic. Give those 1-2 sentences some love and see if what happens.