The Meta Description tag is one of the oldest on-site SEO elements but one that’s often overlooked! Optimisation of your Meta Description tag can be one of the easiest ways you can generate more leads and sales, increase traffic and get better brand exposure!

What’s a Meta Description tag?

A Meta Description tag is a short snippet of text that gets displayed in the Google search results. Each page on your website should have its own unique Meta Description tag that sells the benefits of your product or service. Most major search engines suggest you try to stick to 160 characters when writing a Meta Description tag, a tag that surpasses this character limit is usually truncated by the search engine.

Flight Centre Meta Tag

The average Meta Description tag

Most companies will invest thousands of dollars in getting their site to rank for competitive keywords only to stumble at the final hurdle and have a lacklustre or sometimes unreadable description tag selling their service.  It’s the equivalent of spending $250k in an above the line media campaign only to forget to write a compelling tag line. Just because your website ranks well it doesn’t mean people will click on it, chances are you could be losing valuable highly engaged traffic to competitors with better Meta Description tags who appear in lower positions.

Bad Billboard

Why is it when you look at a page of search results businesses are coming up with highly relevant and compelling ad-words copy but leaving their Meta Description tags to the way side? Look at the difference below, which would you prefer to click on?

Plumber Adwords Ad

Plumber Meta Tag

Benefits of optimising a Meta Description tag

So you might be wondering what exactly are the benefits of optimising a Meta Description tag?

1. Increase in traffic – Through increased click-through rates a site owner can expect an increase in traffic. These increases in traffic can be quite significant when you’re dealing with high volume terms, it’s not uncommon to double or even triple CTR with more compelling copy. If you were to double your CTR from 4%-8% on a search term getting 10,000 searches a month that’s a significant improvement in traffic.

2. Higher conversion rates – With better written copy comes improved conversion rates. Those who’ve had some experience with ad-words would have seen this happen numerous times before. For example setting things like a from price, calls to action, special promotions and so on give the user an idea of what’s expected of them when they hit the landing page.

3. Increased brand awareness – Most search marketers are familiar with the concept of early, middle and late stage search terms. As a user seeks out a solution to their need they may conduct 5, 10 or even 20 different searches to find what they’re after. If you can get a brand impression on majority of these searches it greatly increases the chances that someone will click on your result and end up on your site. A great way to do this is via the use of the | followed by your brand name across all of your tags.

Branding example

Tips to optimise a Meta Description tag

So now to the good part! Below are a few tips you can use to get the most out of your Meta Description tag testing.

Writing content for your tag

– List the benefits or features of the product or service.
– Include pricing, promotions or special offers.
– Include a call to action such as call today, book now etc.
– Always brand your title tag with a pipe, for example |your brand

Other tips

– Try using the copy from your best performing ad-words ads in your tags.
– Look at the top performing ad-words copy for your niche or the pages target keywords, see if you can somehow incorporate their selling points into your copy.

Measuring Success and on-going improvements

Measuring the success of your optimisation efforts is easy! Simply log on to Google Webmaster Tools and click on the “traffic” option on the right hand side of the page, then click “search queries”.

webmaster tools optimisation

Once you have your search queries in-front of you simply find the keyword associated to your Meta Description tag and your able to measure the CTR. Simply adjust, review and repeat in that order.

webmaster tools CTR

Conclusion

So there you have it, a quick guide to making your Meta Description tags pop. If you haven’t already, make sure you include this type of testing in your monthly optimisation plan.