Connect with us

MARKETING

How To Write Meta Descriptions

Published

on

How To Write Meta Descriptions

I’ll be the first one to admit it: the first time I wrote a blog post, I had a lot of new terminology to learn.

Specifically, I didn’t know the purpose of a meta description and why adding one to a blog post was so important. After all, wouldn’t Google highlight the most relevant part of my blog in search results? Not quite.

This post will show you why meta descriptions are important and how to write effective ones. Before all that, though, let’s discuss what a meta description is.

What is a meta description?

A meta description is the snippet of information below the blue link of a search result. Its purpose is to describe the contents of the page to the searcher.

Any words that match the search term are bolded in the description. The end goal is to convince and persuade the searcher to click through to your website.

Here is an example of a meta description as it would show up on a search engine results (SERP) page:

example of a meta description on a serpNotice that, because the query is “What is inbound marketing?”, the two words are bolded in that meta description.

Also notice how the meta description gives a clear and concise snapshot of the topic, which signals to the reader what they can expect.

To remain visible within Google, you should keep your meta descriptions somewhere between 140-160 characters in length.

Why are meta descriptions important?

Meta descriptions are important because they let Google know what your webpage will be about. If Google can read and comprehend the content of your meta description, they will have an easier chance of ranking your page to answer search queries.

🧡 TL;DR: Meta descriptions increase organic traffic and bring more eyes to your webpages.

If you don’t include a meta description, Google will display a snippet of text from the first paragraph of your page. If there’s a search keyword in that text, it’ll be bolded. While this isn’t a bad thing, not including a meta description means missing out on the chance to personalize the message you deliver to browsers.

Meta Description Examples

Meta descriptions should be quick, one- to two-sentence summaries of the content within your web page. They should tell the reader what they can expect to find after clicking on your link. For example, here’s a meta description for a data-driven marketing report:

This meta description accurately describes what will be found in the report, who is presenting the information, and why the content will be helpful to readers. If browsers were typing in queries such as, “SEO trends in 2021,” it’s likely that this meta description will appear in their results.

Meta descriptions follow a few simple rules: They’re short, descriptive, and use keywords. But after that, you have free reign to play around with what they will say. Use this to your advantage when you’re creating your meta description:

Screen Shot 2022-04-13 at 4.21.44 PM

If you know that your webpage will present content that’s usually considered a bit dry, the way to engage browsers is to make a compelling meta description, like the one above.

Readers often check only the first page of results for their search queries. Because of this, where you rank on a webpage matters. Even though meta descriptions aren’t the be-all, end-all that determines your rank, (you’ll want to fully optimize On-Page SEO for that), they sure do help.

A great meta description has the potential to appear on the first page of results, and a great one might even be first, like this example below:

real estate search results

The meta description told Google how their page will fix the challenge of the query.

Now, you may wonder if there’s a secret key or formula to writing a perfect meta description, besides the rules above.While the secret key hasn’t been located yet, there are some tips and tricks you can follow when writing your meta description. Let’s talk about a few, next.

Meta Description Tips

Google suggests that a meta description should tell users what that web page is about. Based on the information in a meta description, the search engine ranks results on relevancy.

Think of meta descriptions as a pitch for your webpage. Communicate why the page will be helpful to the reader, and make sure it accurately reflects what’s on the page. If a reader doesn’t find what the meta description promises, they’re probably going to click away.

Let’s get into some tips for writing an amazing meta description.

1. Answer the question.

It’s likely that people are on Google searching for an answer to a question. Try to get into their heads and think about what they’re looking for that your content can help with.

Use your meta description to answer that question with a solution or benefit. For example, let’s say your web page provides readers with a free template for writing standard operating procedures.

The question audiences will most likely Google is “What is an SOP?” Your meta description, then, should tell readers that they can use your guided template to learn how to write one. For instance, this would be my meta description if I were to write one to answer this query:

💻“Learn everything there is to know about writing a standard operating procedure (SOP), and find out how to write one that’s amazing.”

This meta description answers the question and provides a little detail about the rest of the contents of the post.

2. Mention a solution to the challenge.

Provide a solution to the challenge your readers are looking to solve. For instance, if you’re writing a blog post that’s a listicle roundup of helpful CRM software, mention how many items are in the post and why that post will be valuable to readers.

If I were to write a meta description for a roundup, in this case, I would go with something like this:

💻“Discover the 15 best CRM software options for your small business and learn why they’re great for simplicity, customer retention, and organization.”

Remember, meta descriptions are the elevator pitch of your page — sell the content of your post in a way that will get readers to click. This description tells readers how many options they will read about and why they’re important to know.

3. Keep the description concise.

The body of your page is where you’ll educate your audience, so the meta description doesn’t need to be lengthy. Provide a quick summary of the page — or the point of the page that will stand out to readers. Meta descriptions should be under 160 characters long.

A good way to check the length of a meta description is to draft a tweet. Twitter limits you to 280 characters and lets you know when you reach your limit:

meta description tweet checkIf your description fills more than half of the circle in the tweet box, you should think about trimming it down. Meta descriptions should serve as a snapshot, not the body text of the post — save that for when the readers access your page.

4. Don’t overuse the keywords.

While your meta description should have keywords, it also should read naturally to the reader. If you overuse keywords just to get a high rank, readers might not understand your meta description. A tough-to-follow description could turn a browser away from your page.

For example, let’s say your webpage is delivering a content offer for interview materials and the primary keywords are “interview success,” “tips for great interviews,” and “interview preparation.”

You could write a meta description that reads along the lines of, “An interview success offer that’s free to download to be successful in preparing for interviews.” However, this reads a little clunky and is hard to follow, right? Instead, try going with something more smooth:

💻“Learn the tips and tricks for acing interviews with this downloadable job seeking kit.”

This description still uses two keywords but also makes sense to the reader and gives them the background information they need to know how that offer page will help them.

5. Be engaging and unique to readers.

If you can, make your meta descriptions fun and engaging to read. Something eye-catching that will stop the reader from scrolling through a SERP. This is especially helpful if your webpage content is meant to be engaging and unique.

Match the tone of the content in your meta. Let’s say the content for your webpage is a blog post about funny workplace memes. Your description of this could be straightforward and accomplish everything a meta description should, such as, “These 20 workplace memes are funny, timely, and shareable.”

A description like that covers all of your bases, but it leaves the personality out. The post sounds like it was fun and interesting to put together, so that shouldn’t stop with the body text! Instead, try this more compelling approach:

💻 “Brighten your work day with these fresh, fun memes that any professional can relate to. Cat videos, anyone?”

A description like that sells your content, tells readers what they can expect, and still manages to be interesting in just two sentences.

6. Entice readers with a call-to-action.

If you want to persuade the reader to take action — or create a sense of urgency — try tacking a call-to-action at the end of your description.

Let’s look at this example from Neil Patel:

Screen Shot 2022-04-13 at 3.51.52 PM

There are plenty of CTAs to choose from — for example: Learn More, Sign Up Today, or Start a Free Trial. Context matters here, so choose one that works with the content you’re providing.

7. Avoid duplicate meta descriptions.

While Google won’t actively penalize you for duplicating the meta descriptions on your site, it’s still bad for SEO. Why? If you have too many identical descriptions, search engines may flag some of your content as low-quality or redundant, thus impacting your ranking.

Instead, make it meaningful, easy to understand, and descriptive — like it’s an elevator pitch for your blog post.

Back to You

Your meta description is your chance to win over readers. Be sure to create an engaging meta description for your website that persuades people to choose your content first. After all, if your webpages are made to be helpful and valuable to browsers, so should the content that’s describing it.

evaluate your website's SEO for free

Source link

MARKETING

The Ultimate Guide to Product Marketing in 2023

Published

on

The Ultimate Guide to Product Marketing in 2023

Product marketing is essential, even if you only sell one or two products at your organization.

(more…)

Continue Reading

MARKETING

3 email marketing shifts to make in 2023

Published

on

3 email marketing shifts to make in 2023

Whew! We made it to 2023! As we closed in on the end of the year in December, the finish line seemed awfully far away. Many marketers told me they were busier than ever. 

I myself was fielding calls for strategy help, working on business deals and managing the chaos all the way to the eve of Christmas Eve, something that rarely happens in my 20-plus-year career. 

Look back and celebrate, then move on

The first business for 2023 will be to step back, clear your head and take stock of all the great things you accomplished in 2022 despite the odds (i.e., coming out of COVID, going into a rebound and COVID round 2, moving into supply-chain shortages and other hiccups, facing down a potential recession) and how they affected the work you did to succeed.

And now it’s 2023. I hope you got your budget request approved and you’re ready to move ahead with a clean slate and new KPIs to hit. You’re probably wondering, “What can I do now to grow my program?

3 directional changes to grow your email program

Naturally, every marketer’s goals will be unique. We have different audiences, challenges, resources and goals. But I’m focusing on three major directional changes with my clients this year. Which of these could help you succeed this year?

1. Stop sending so many emails

Yeah, I know. That sounds strange coming from somebody who believes wholeheartedly in email and its power to build your business. But even I have my limits!

Email during this last holiday shopping season was insane. In my 20+ years in the email industry, I cannot remember a time, even during the lockdown days of COVID-19, when my inbox was so full. 

I’m not the only one who noticed. Your customers also perceived that their inboxes were getting blasted to the North Pole. And they complained about it, as the Washington Post reported (“Retailers fire off more emails than ever trying to get you to shop“).

I didn’t run any numbers to measure volume, isolate cadences or track frequency curves. But every time I turned around, I saw emails pouring into my inbox. 

My advice for everyone on frequency: If you throttled up during the holiday, now it’s time to throttle back.

This should be a regularly scheduled move. But it’s important to make sure your executives understand that higher email frequency, volume and cadence aren’t the new email norm. 

If you commit to this heavier schedule, you’ll drive yourself crazy and push your audience away, to other brands or social media.

If you did increase cadence, what did it do for you? You might have hit your numbers, but consider the long-term costs: 

  • More unsubscribes.
  • More spam complaints.
  • Deliverability problems.
  • Lower revenue per email. 

Take what you learned from your holiday cadence as an opportunity to discover whether it’s a workable strategy or only as a “break glass in case of emergency” move.

My advice? Slow down. Return to your regular volume, frequency and cadence. Think of your customers and their reactions to being inundated with emails over 60 days.

2. Stop spamming

In that Washington Post article I mentioned earlier, I was encouraged that it cited one of my email gripes — visiting websites and then getting emails without granting permission first. 

I could have given the Post a salty quote about my experiences with SafeOpt and predatory email experiences (“Business stress is no excuse to spam“) for visitors to its clients’ websites. 

Successful email marketers believe in the sanctity of permission. That permission-based practice is what you want to be involved in. Buying a list means you don’t hire a company to sell you one, whether it’s a data broker or a tech provider like SafeOpt. 

Spamming people doesn’t work in the long term. Sure, I’ve heard stories from people who say they use purchased lists or companies like SafeOpt and it makes them money. But that’s a singular view of the impact. 

Email is the only marketing channel where you can do it wrong but still make money. But does that make it right? 

The problem with the “it made us money” argument is that there’s nowhere to go after that. Are you measuring how many customers you lost because you spammed them or the hits your sender reputation took? 

You might hit a short-term goal but lose the long-term battle. When you become known as an unreliable sender, you risk losing access to your customers’ inboxes.

Aside from the permission violation, emailing visitors after they leave your site is a wasted effort for three reasons:

  • A visit is not the same as intent. You don’t know why they landed on your site. Maybe they typed your URL as a mistake or discovered immediately that your brand wasn’t what they wanted. Chasing them with emails won’t bring them back.
  • You aren’t measuring interest. Did they visit multiple pages or check out your “About” or FAQ pages? As with intent, just landing on a page doesn’t signal interest.
  • They didn’t give you their email address. If they had interest or intent, they would want to connect with your brand. No email address, no permission.

Good email practice holds that email performs best when it’s permission-based. Most ESPs and ISPs operate on that principle, as do many email laws and regulations.

But even in the U.S., where opt-out email is still legal, that doesn’t mean you should send an email without permission just because somebody landed on your website.

3. Do one new thing

Many email marketers will start the year with a list of 15 things they want to do over the next two months. I try to temper those exuberant visions by focusing on achievable goals with this question: 

“What one thing could you do this year that could make a great difference in your email program’s success?”

When I started a job as head of strategy for Acxiom, I wanted to come up with a long list of goals to impress my new boss. I showed it to my mentor, the great David Baker and he said, “Can you guarantee that you can do all of these things and not just do them but hit them out of the park?”

Hmmmm…

“That’s why you don’t put down that many goals,” he said. “Go in with just one. When that one is done, come up with the next one. Then do another. If you propose five projects, your boss will assume you will do five projects. If you don’t, it just means you didn’t get it done.”

That was some of the best advice I’ve ever received and I pass it on to you. 

Come up with one goal, project or change that will drive your program forward. Take it to your boss and say, “Here’s what I’m going to do this year.”

To find that one project, look at your martech and then review MarTech’s six most popular articles from 2022 for expert advice.

You’ll find plenty of ideas and tips to help you nail down your one big idea to drive growth and bring success. But be realistic. You don’t know what events could affect your operations. 

Drive your email program forward in 2023

The new year has barely begun, but I had a little trouble getting motivated to take on what’s shaping up to be a beast of a year. You, too?

I enjoyed my time off over the holidays. Got in some golf with my dad and his buddies, ate great food and took time to step back and appreciate the phenomenal people I work with and our amazing industry. 

What gets me going at last? Reaching out to my team, friends and you. Much of my motivation comes from fellow marketers — what you need, what you worry about and what I can do to help you succeed. 

If you’re on the struggle bus with me, borrow some motivation from your coworkers and teammates, so we can gather together 12 months from now and toast each other for making it through another year. 

It’s time to strap on your marketer helmet and hit the starter. Here’s to another great year together. Let’s get the job done!


Get MarTech! Daily. Free. In your inbox.



Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.


About the author

Ryan Phelan

As the co-founder of RPEOrigin.com, Ryan Phelan’s two decades of global marketing leadership has resulted in innovative strategies for high-growth SaaS and Fortune 250 companies. His experience and history in digital marketing have shaped his perspective on creating innovative orchestrations of data, technology and customer activation for Adestra, Acxiom, Responsys, Sears & Kmart, BlueHornet and infoUSA. Working with peers to advance digital marketing and mentoring young marketers and entrepreneurs are two of Ryan’s passions. Ryan is the Chairman Emeritus of the Email Experience Council Advisory Board and a member of numerous business community groups. He is also an in-demand keynote speaker and thought leader on digital marketing.

Source link

Continue Reading

MARKETING

Promote | DigitalMarketer

Published

on

Promote | DigitalMarketer

Up until now, any “promotion” your customers have done has been passive. But in the promotion stage, your customers actively spread the word about your brands, products, and services. They tell stories, make recommendations, and share your offers because they truly believe in them.

Active promotion may be an affiliate or commission relationship—or just a free offer for sending some new customers your way. The point is, it’s a win-win for both of you.

One thing worth mentioning before we dive in; Happy customers don’t promote, SUCCESSFUL customers do. 

Our biggest question in the Promote stage is: How are you going to turn your BEST customers into your marketing partners? 

If you don’t have a referral program, an affiliate program, or a valued reseller program … who is willing to drive your message to the organization you need to build out these programs? This is word of mouth marketing, and it is very important so start thinking about how you want to build this. 

Look to your most successful customers, they’re going to be the people who actively promote for you. But then, let’s think about our customers who already have our prospects but are offering a different product or service. 

At DigitalMarketer we are a training and certification company, we are not a services based company. What that means is we don’t compete with agencies or consultants. This also means that there is an opportunity for us to work with agencies and consultants. 

When we realized this we decided to launch our Certified Partner Program, which you can learn more about at DigitalMarketer.Com/Partner. This program lets us work with the largest segments of our customer base, who have customers that we want but they’re providing a solution that we’re not providing. 

When we train our customers, they are able to use our company frameworks to work with their clients. If their clients want to learn to do their marketing themselves? We’re the first education company they see.

So who is that for you? Remember, it’s not the happy clients that refer, it’s the successful clients. If you want to create more promoters, make sure that you’re doing everything that you can as a marketer to ensure that you’re marketing great products so you can see great results. 

How can our example companies accomplish this?

For Hazel & Hems, they can add an ambassador program to grow their instagram following and increase credibility with viral posts. 

Ambassadors can earn affiliate commissions, additional boutique reward points, and get the chance to build a greater following by leveraging the Hazel & Hems brand.

For Cyrus & Clark, they can offer discounted rates to their existing clients if those clients are willing to refer them to their strategic partners. 

For construction companies, this could be a home builder recommending Cyrus & Clark services to the landscapers, real estate developers, and interior designers that they work with to serve their customers.



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending

en_USEnglish