You’ve crafted the perfect content for your reader. You know when they read it, they’ll love it and seek to do business with your company. But that’s the thing—you need to get them to actually read it. While social is a great way to promote content to followers, your best shot at bringing in brand new but highly qualified prospects looking for your exact subject is through organic search. Fortunately, Google allows—in fact, requires—webpages to provide a short piece of text called a meta description that let’s readers know what your article is about. This space is your best opportunity to get your content read.
Meta-Descriptions Don’t Determine Page Rankings
First, it’s important to clear up a common misconception that may be hampering the effectiveness of your meta descriptions. Google maintains that meta descriptions themselves do not affect your page ranking on SERPs. Filling the space with a list of optimized keywords will not get you any higher in search results, and in fact may get you penalized. However, Google has stated that dwell time (how long the average user spends on the page) does affect rankings. This means you can kill two birds with one stone by writing great meta descriptions: if your description pulls in qualified prospects that are genuinely interested in your product, your site’s dwell time will increase, thus increasing its ranking. That means more and better prospects for your company. So instead of trying to trick the search engine, focus on humanistic copy that will make your reader want to learn more.
How to Create Click-Worthy Copy
How do you get someone to click on your page? It’s simple: think of what makes you click on a page. We don’t usually spend a lot of time looking at search results; we see what matches our search and we click. Luckily, Google bolds terms that match search words, making meta descriptions that match searches pop out. They’ll sometimes be able to bold synonyms as well, so don’t hesitate to include alternate forms of a word in your meta. To make it even easier to spot, try to keep the keyword early in the description.
Once you’ve caught your readers’ attention with the right keywords, it’s important to hold it by telling them the information they need to know in that moment. You’ll only get a few seconds and a small space to do so (155 characters max to avoid your text getting cut off by Google with an ellipsis), so you’ll really have to focus on staying in the mindset of what your ideal prospect is looking for. Provide a summary of the page that informs them on how it will solve the problem that spurred them to search. Use actionable language that informs them on how, by reading your page, they’ll be one step closer to solving their issue. Distill this in a strong call-to-action that drives them to click.
This forms the core of your meta description, the primary material that will motivate readers. But to help give you that special edge over your competition, make your description colorful. You’ve probably already honed your brand voice; go ahead and apply it. Where possible, include trending and topical language, dates and references. Don’t worry about your meta getting dated. You can always update it, and by doing so, you’re refreshing old content to be more relevant for the moment.
Get the Most Out of Your Content
Your content can’t do any good if it isn’t being read by the right people. Increasing your click-through rate from organic search is your best bet for getting new, highly qualified prospects, and you’ll only do that by giving them a reason to read your article with a compelling meta description—it’s a lot less text, but it can be just as important as the article itself.