Kristin Lesko - August 14, 2012
With all of the competition on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), it can seem impossible to make a case for why customers should click through to view yours. And with the rollout of each new algorithm change by Google, one-sentence listings just won’t cut it. So what’s a savvy SEO-minded person to do? Well, to start, write a Meta description that says “Hey! You should really click here,” by following these four simple steps.
- Step 1: Incorporate keywords. Based on the content within your web page, select a keyword phrase you’d like to target. Then, incorporate that keyword phrase two to three times within your Meta descriptions. For example, if your web page is about vintage rings, try to use the keyword phrase “vintage rings” at least once toward the beginning of the first sentence, and again toward the end of the second sentence.
- Step 2: Utilize your word count. Meta descriptions should be 110 to 160 characters, including spaces. Maximize your impact by writing description tags with two sentences that come as close to 160 characters as you can, without going over. If you do go over, you run the risk of being cut off mid-sentence–and losing your target audience. If the call-to-action cuts off at, “Want to read more about …” you leave it up to your audience to finish your sentence. Give them enough information to indicate what type of information you have to offer, which will simultaneously help filter out users who aren’t potential customers. Which brings us to our next point …
- Step 3: Include a clear, call-to-action. Start the description tag with an action verb, such as, “Explore Costa Rica through our outdoor excursions.” Then conclude with the action you want the user to take: “Book today and venture to Costa Rican rainforests, volcanoes and waterfalls on our outdoor excursions.” Asking questions is also a great way to qualify your audience, such as, “Looking for an outdoor excursion in Costa Rica?” If their answer is, “Why, yes actually, thanks for asking,” they’ll click through to learn more about your offerings and how they can book their next trip.
- Step 4: Use cliff-hangers. Why? For the same reason people came out in masses to see “The Matrix Reloaded”: To find out what happens to Neo, Trinity and the future of Zion. Take a page from Hollywood and use cliff-hangers to entice people to click through from your Meta description to your web page content. For example, if your web page is about a beachside home in Laguna Beach, Calif., describe a few of the home’s amenities in the first sentence and then end with, “What else does this Laguna Beach home offer that others don’t? Click here to find out.” Give your potential customer just enough to leave them wanting more, and then make them click through to get it.
By incorporating keywords, utilizing your word count, including a call-to-action, and using cliff-hangers in your Meta descriptions, you can maximize your CTRs, and also increase your chance to close a sale.