What are Meta Descriptions and Why are They Important?

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That's so meta, man

Meta Descriptions are a feature of Search Engine Optimisation that helps The Internet understand who you are and what it is you do. Improving your meta descriptions is a relatively easy way to boost up your SEO ratings. This piece is connected to better understanding how SEO and Google work together. 

Your meta descriptions do two major things: First, it increases the chance someone that is interested in your products will actually click on your site. Second, it increases the chances your site will be bumped up toward the top of a Google search return. These work together - the more people who click on your site from a search return, the higher your Click-Through-Rate (CTR) will be, the higher your chances of moving up the Google ladder. 

Writing a good meta description

Your meta descriptions should be clear, concise and capture your audience. Here are a few tips on how to write the money-making elevator pitch. 

Keep it Short 

You have 160 characters to work with. Good with Twitter? That will help. Meta descriptions put your summarizing skills to the test, so go in with something clear in mind. Think about describing your business to a 10 year old and what you'd tell them. 

Still need help? Think about the following: 

1. What do you offer?

2. What field/industry are you in?

3. Where are you based (if location is important)?

4. What is a unique selling point?

If you go over 160 characters, Google will simply cut off the rest. Not the end of the world, but it looks sloppy. 

Include a Marketing Message

Including the value you offer buyers, or other information that sets you apart, is a good way to be eye-catching. 

For example, "Leah's Green Tea has no preservatives or nasty chemicals. Introducing six refreshing flavours - try them now."

This meta description is short, but calls your attention to its health benefits, includes a descriptive adjective and encourages the viewer to do something directly. 

Incorporate a Call-to-Action

Your call to action can be a simple verb or two that tells your reader what they might be able to do next. Whether it's "find out more" "call today" "try it on" or something similar, encouraging people to take action is an important part of many meta descriptions. 

Match the Content

Your meta, at the heart of it, is telling the viewer what you do. Stick to the point, and avoid too much fluff. Google fishes out meta descriptions which seem like scams, so having something too wishy-washy might actually make your site bounce (yikes). 

It's a good idea to get inspiration from other websites' meta descriptions - but never copy someone else's. Google could penalise your website and send it to the bottom of the list. 

Contain Focus Keyword

When you type a search into Google, the keywords you use are highlighted in bold for all of the results. That's why it's crucial to put a couple of keywords in your meta descriptions that people might search for to get to your site. If your keywords are on your main body text, good. If they're in headings, even better. If they're in headings AND meta descriptions, you're on the way to becoming an SEO guru. 

Having the right words makes all the difference - try googling something yourself right now and seeing which meta descriptions catch your eye. I'm guessing they are the ones that include keywords you've typed in. 

Have meta descriptions for every page

You have the chance to write unique meta descriptions for each page (home, about, store, contact, etc). Use the opportunity! Include different focus words and a short summary of exactly what that page does. Don't forget to be enticing - remember that you're looking to gain clicks. 

Shopify automatically generates a Meta Description for each product based on what you've written in the “Description” area, but editing the Meta Description to make it as accurate as possible is always recommended. 

For every product, page, or blog in your Shopify admin, you will find a search engine section where you can input the information as you would like it to appear on search engine results pages:

You can set the title tag and meta description for a product in your online store in Shopify:

  1. Click Products, and then click on the product you want to edit. 

  2. Scroll down to Search Engine Listing Preview, and then click on Edit Website SEO.

You can access the Meta Field on all Pages, Blog Posts and Products within your Shopify Admin.

What’s Next?

Putting your meta descriptions to good use is a must do for high quality Search Engine Optimisation. Too many businesses forget to do this, and in turn miss out on critical opportunities. Remember though, these things take time. After you've set up strong, bold and enticing descriptions for each of your pages, you have to focus on driving traffic toward your site to really drive up clicks. However, it's a self-reinforcing system. Meta helps you drive traffic, traffic helps your meta get seen. .

Elkfox helps companies like yours set up a great Shopify store, which includes writing Meta Descriptions to usher traffic to your online store, and better Google search results. If you’re interested in giving your online business a boost, get in touch today.