What is the difference between your blog posts and a profile for an online dating service?
That reads like a really bad joke, I know. But these are the thoughts that pop into my head at 3am when watching commercials for sites like Farmers Only Dating dot com. What does a farmer say in their profile that will make a person (aka their potential soul mate) want to click through and know more about them? And how is that different from what a dentist would say? Is it different at all?
Getting Noticed in Google Search Results
Just like a single person scans through dating profiles, your potential website visitors are scanning through their Google search results, trying to decide which result to click on. Even if you achieve the much coveted goal of getting on the first page of Google if nobody clicks on your link, it doesn’t matter. So what is makes that searcher click on your link over the other links on the page? What makes your website attractive in the sea of online resources?
Creating valuable content is paramount, but what you do after the post is written is equally as important. To get your post noticed, pay extra attention to things like your title, categories, and Meta description. They are the “blonde hair, blue eyes, loves long walks on the beach” part of your content strategy.
What exactly is a Meta description?
To get a good feel for what a Meta description is and how it works, here is an example:
Search results will return a title, a link, and a few short lines telling the searcher exactly what they will get should they choose to click that link. Well, at least that’s what those lines should tell them. When posting a blog, the Meta description is often overlooked which can end up being the difference between a click-through or a scroll-by. And none of us want to be a scroll-by.
How Does It Work?
Notice that some of the wording in the Meta description is bold. Those words are an exact match to the keywords the searcher typed into the search engine. Pretty cool, huh? Written correctly, your Meta description will work hard to drive traffic to your site and it has two main jobs to do:
Keywords: The Meta description needs to be an accurate description of what your article is about so that the reader gets exactly what they were looking for when they click through.
Attention Grabber: The Meta description needs to hook the searcher; the more engaging these 3 lines are, the more likely they will want to know more.
Using the 3-sentence format
The tricky part is to create an effective Meta description within the character limits. You could just make sure your keywords are visible – but will that actually get the click-throughs that are needed to get visitors to your website? Probably not. Take another look at the example:
In just three simple sentences, the Meta description was able to:
- Ask the question that matches the question asked by the searcher. In this case, suggestions for SEO plug-ins for WordPress.
Tell the searcher exactly what they are going to get when they click-though.
- Relay a fun call-to-action that actually has something to do with that particular plug-in. (Yoast uses a green/yellow/red light system to show SEO strength.)
- Now that you have the 3-sentence format in your toolbox, writing your Meta descriptions for future posts should be easier and less time consuming. No more struggling with what to say and how to say it.
Get An SEO Boost
To help improve your SEO, take time to go through past blog posts and take a peek at your Meta description wording. Check to see that it follows the 3-sentence format and includes the keywords you have selected for your post. Not only can this small tweak bring increased traffic to your site but it will be the right traffic for your website.
Has this taken the mystery and intimidation factor out of Meta descriptions? When used consistently and correctly, it is an awesome tool. Want a quick and easy way to start applying SEO to your website? Take the 5 Minute SEO Makeover. See how 5 minutes and 3 easy steps can have big impact! Download your copy today and start getting noticed.