How do I choose good meta tags

10 helpful tips for creating a good meta description

What do you do when you search for information or a product on the internet? It is very likely that you will first go to Google or another search engine and enter your search terms. Over 80 percent of all Internet visits begin this way, even when users want to go to a website they are familiar with. It is often faster and more convenient to go to the website using the search engine. This shows how important a good ranking in search engine results (SERP) is for your website, blog or web shop. Therefore, you should deal with the requirements of search engine optimization (SEO) and stay up to date on the topic.

What is a meta description?

In addition to cleverly chosen search terms, the metadata page title ("Title Tag") and page description ("Meta Description") are important parameters in the website's HTML code. The website visitor does not see these meta tags. The operator of the website defines it in HTML to describe the document content. The meta keywords, on the other hand, usually do not affect the search results, so it is not absolutely necessary to define them. The meta description is the description of the website in question. As part of the website, it can be the page content of the home page or a subpage such as the landing page for a specific product. In this article, we will go into more detail about what you should pay attention to in order to create an optimal meta description. We have put together ten important tips that you should consider when creating them.

First of all: what is the connection between snippet and meta description?

In the search results, Google shows a preview text divided into two lines, the so-called snippet. The English term translated means snippet, as it is an excerpt that describes the website. This "snippet" is extremely important because users only come to your website or webshop if they find the snippet appealing and click on it. The content should ideally make it clear that they will find the right answer to their question or the solution to their problem on your page.

Such a snippet consists of the title (in HTML the so-called "title tag"), the URL, i.e. the address of the website, and the meta description in HTML (description). However, there is no strict logic that the search engine always follows. For example, Google decides for itself which description best outlines the content of the landing page. Because Google has an interest in satisfied users. However, if they are annoyed because, contrary to expectations, they do not find the desired search results on the target page, Google will lower the ranking of the page or adjust the content of the snippet. Therefore, the snippet may or may not match the meta description of your website. The more aptly your meta description describes the content of your page, the more likely it is that Google & Co. will use your text.

Tip 1: Suitable keywords for the meta description

Make sure that the most important search terms are mentioned in the description, ideally right at the beginning. The search terms should be in line with the keywords you use in your h1 headline and title tag. When it comes to search terms, you should think user-oriented. Think carefully about which keywords your customers and potential customers usually use when they are interested in your products or services. You can work with tools for keyword analysis such as the one from Ubersuggest or the Keyword Planner from Google. If your website has a search function, you can conduct an analysis to find out which terms the potential customers are searching with.

Tip 2: Unique content for the meta description

The first important question is: Do I only need one meta description or several of them? A website usually consists not only of a homepage, but of several sub-pages. For each subpage as well as the homepage you should create your own and unique meta description. If you now think that this means a lot of work and copy & paste is an option, we advise against it. Every meta description should consist of unique content, especially that of the home page and the pages for your most important products or services. If you do not have the opportunity to create a description for all subpages at the beginning, then it is better to leave them out than to duplicate them. If one of your landing pages does not contain a meta description, the snippet does not remain empty, but the search engine fills it with the content of your page. This result does not necessarily have to be worse, as long as your website has high-quality texts and the right keywords.

Tip 3: the correct meta description length

The search engines, above all Google, are extremely secretive companies. Therefore, there are only unconfirmed rumors on many questions from users. In 2018 the rumor circulated that Google had shortened the meta description because suddenly less text was displayed in the search results. However, it is correct that the meta description is as long as it was before. From the outside, nobody can influence the length of the description on your website. However, what changes at regular intervals is the amount of text in the snippets.
It is currently advisable not to exceed a total length of 150 to a maximum of 160 characters including spaces for the meta description. An exact number of characters cannot be given because the search engines consider the scope of the description on the basis of the width and height in pixels. Even the line breaks have an impact. In addition, you must not forget that the snippets are displayed in different views. Of course, it makes a difference whether the user starts the query on the laptop or on his smartphone. In the mobile query, a snippet that is 40 characters shorter than the query is displayed on a desktop for reasons of space. Ideally, you should therefore include the most important information and key terms in the first 110 characters of your meta description.

However, this value may change in the future, as it is known that search engine algorithms are subject to constant change. Therefore, you should always check whether the statement is still true and what Google publishes on its blog on the subject.

Tip 4: Create a good meta description

Ideally, the meta description should be concise and precise, i.e. it should contain the core message of the page in a nutshell. However, short must not be too short, otherwise the search engine has to add further text that it takes from your side. However, if the description is optimally lengthy and has great content, the likelihood that Google will use the text for the snippet increases. In the case of smaller search engines, the meta description often even has an influence on the ranking of the website in the search results.

Tip 5: Think of the most important target group for your meta description

Even if we talk a lot about the requirements of search engines, you must not forget that the addressee of the meta description is a person - and ideally a potential customer. The description should therefore be easy to read and easy to understand. Most people have little patience with their Internet research: If you don't understand a text at first glance, you quickly lose interest. The description should address the reader directly and arouse their curiosity. Make sure to use a clever mix of familiar terms and unexpected words. Stand out from the competition and cast a spell over readers with imaginative and at the same time concrete formulations.

Tip 6: Complete the meta description with a call-to-action

The call-to-action (CTA) of a snippet and thus the meta description is obvious: You want to attract as many visitors as possible to your website and get them to take action there. Therefore, your goal is to increase the click-through rate with the CTA in the meta description. The latter could be subscribing to a newsletter or ordering a product directly. The trick now is not only to precisely and appealingly formulate the content of the page in the meta description. Always integrate the appropriate call to action, the CTA.

Tip 7: Get support when writing the meta description

Creating an accurate meta description is an art in itself. If you are not used to doing this, it can be useful to get professional help with writing. Compared to an internal solution, it has the advantage that the copywriters are always informed about changes and are informed about the latest requirements of the search engines. At the same time they bring their experience from comparable projects of other customers, which is also an advantage.

Simply hire a copywriter who will write you meta descriptions for all sub-pages!

register now for free

Tip 8: The interaction of meta description, title and h1

In the case of a successful snippet, the text of the title tag and the meta description go well together and complement each other. But the h1 heading also plays an important role. This is the first thing the user sees when they land on your website after clicking on the search results. If it does not match the content of the title tag and description, in the worst case the user feels deceived and jumps off again.

Tip 9: Check whether the meta description is correct

The Google Search Console offers the option "Display of search results + HTML improvements". If you have an error in your meta description or your title tag, you will receive relevant information. There are some tools that analyze the length of the meta description according to characters and pixels. However, comparative tests have shown that the tools come to very different and therefore unreliable results.

Tip 10: keep an eye on the search engines

Regularly search yourself for the keywords that are important for your company and your products. Take a look at what the associated snippet looks like and see if you should adjust your meta description. If you revise your meta description, Google may initially still work with the previous description. If this is the case, then have the page re-crawled or indexed.

In a nutshell

On the customer journey of your potential customer, the search engine result is the first place of encounter, also known as the touchpoint. Carefully creating the meta description in order to influence the search engine's snippet is a must for search engine optimization. Please note, however, that even a precisely written description with excellent keywords does not guarantee that Google will use the meta description 1: 1 in the search engine results. Therefore, take the time to look at the snippets for your websites from time to time. Even if you don't change anything on the page, it is very possible that the search engines will change the snippets over time. So stay tuned and improve your meta description length if necessary.

  • 24.01.2019
  • 25.01.2019

  • Textbroker editorial team
  • Blog, content & more, for customers, knowledge