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SEO Basics: Mistakes To Avoid When Writing Meta Descriptions

Enhancing your meta descriptions is a paramount aspect of search engine optimization (SEO). Often, meta descriptions are overlooked because they are not a direct ranking signal, but you should not make the same mistake because they are an important piece of SEO marketing. Properly optimized meta descriptions help get visitors from search engines to click on your links. They produce miniature ads that can drive customer action and increase the click-through rate (CTR).


If you are ready to take the time to improve your meta descriptions, be aware of these six common mistakes with meta description optimization:
  1. Duplicate Meta Descriptions 
  2. Character Count Obsession
  3. Not Using Keywords 
  4. Not Optimizing Rich Snippets 
  5. Avoiding HTML Tables for Direct Answer Inquiries
  6. Boring Writing and Unimpressive Copy
Duplicate Meta Descriptions:
Duplicates will not penalize you, but you should put together unique meta descriptions for every page. Because they are a short blurb that accurately describes the content of your page, they are like your sales pitch to the user on whether your site provides the information they are seeking.

Your meta descriptions should be used to control the narrative of your site. The better message that you can deliver, the better the chance for increased traffic to your page and increased CTR. If each page has a similar meta description, they could be misleading and will not be as insightful to the users.

As a shortcut, remember to use templates to generate meta descriptions for more or less similar pages. It is important to understand how these SEO tools work so that you can improve your website in the most efficient manner.

Character Count Obsession:
Historically, SEO basics found that 135-160 character meta descriptions were the most efficient. However, that statistic changed in 2017 when Google meta descriptions were able to be 320 characters.

As a practice tip, do not waste time obsessing about the perfect number of characters for your meta descriptions. Worry about content and your pitch.

Not Using Keywords: 
Every meta description should include keywords that fit correctly with what is presented. It is heavily suggested for you to use keywords that are “relevant to your page’s content” and that “your customers are looking for.” If you produce meta descriptions that are not relevant to your page, search engines will not be able to pull your content.

When searching online, Google and others will pull the first sentence or word that your search. Make sure your meta description is creative and looks like a title. Your pages should be aligned with the page’s title and relevant to the page’s content.

Not Optimizing Rich Snippets: 
You should focus on structured data optimization. With rich snippets, your meta descriptions will stand out. There are a variety of scheme types you can use for optimization. Some of the most common include review, product, place, offer, local business, person, etc.

Avoiding HTML Tables for Direct Answer Inquiries:
To be aligned with Google’s mission, your website needs to provide direct answers to questions proposed by searches. HTML tables can help you gain ground on the competition.

An HTML table can produce a descriptive and easy-to-understand result. It provides a lot of information to the searcher without requiring them to read an entire article. These tables provide direct answers and convenience, and search engines, like Google, will always put them at the top of their search results.

To get started, you only need to gain an understanding of HTML table basics and be able to structure data markup.

Boring Writing and Unimpressive Copy: 
Dull and unimpressive meta descriptions are common, and most users do not even notice them anymore. However, a creative copy will help you stand out in the crowd and will increase CTR, traffic, and conversions.

Shown below, are five simple steps to follow for improvement:

  1. Keep your copy readable 
  2. Make your copy specific
  3. Use numbers, symbols, and special characters
  4. Keep your copy customer centric
  5. Include a CTA

Conclusion:
High-quality meta descriptions will improve your website. Although they do not directly impact your sites organic search rankings, they can help your business stand out among search results.
Start putting together value-packed meta descriptions that match your site’s content and you will reap the benefits because of your strong digital marketing strategy. Be careful to avoid the mistakes outlined in this article, and you will see higher CTRs, more traffic, and improved conversion rates.

For more insight or help in digital marketing feel free to contact us at 215-393-8700 so that we can start improving the SEO of your website.

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