What The Growth In Meta Description Length Means For Your Business.
Stop the presses: Google has increased the length available for your website’s Meta Descriptions and it has an immediate impact on your business.
Below I’ve explain what a Meta Description is, how long it is now, and what you need to do about it. Worried? Don’t be.
What’s your Meta Description?
Your Meta Description is an HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) tag and this is how it looks in HTML:
Every web page has (or should have) a Meta Description, and you’ll see it in every SERP (Search Engine Results Page) that you make. Using the example of a search for HTML, I’ve highlighted below how a Meta Description appears in your SERPS:
Why is your Meta Description so important?
While Google doesn’t use your meta description to decide where your website will rank in its SERPs, the goal of your meta description is to take advantage of your rank in Google’s SERPs. How? Let me explain.
The goal of your meta description is very simple: it is designed to win you click-throughs to a specific web page – it’s the sales pitch to convince the searcher that your web page provides the answer(s) they sought when making their search.
So it doesn’t matter where you feature in Google’s SERPs if your meta description doesn't cut it, because you won’t get people to visit the website for your business if you can’t sell its benefits in a few characters. Speaking of characters...
How have the lengths for your Meta Descriptions grown?
Previously you were allowed up to 160 characters for your meta description. In November 2017 Google changed the number of characters available to use in your meta descriptions, with a growth from 160 to 320 characters.
Why did Google make this change? This is what one of their spokespeople said:
What does the growth in Meta Descriptions mean for your business?
Doubling the length of characters available to use in your Meta Descriptions has a direct impact on one of the most crucial factors in the online success of your business: your click-through-rate.
Your click-through rate (CTR)
Your CTR is how you measure the success rate of your meta description (the more people that click through to your website, the better your Meta Description is). There are two ways your CTR could be affected by taking advantage of the additional characters you have:
- If you include a longer description it might give the searcher the answer they want without needing to click-through to your website
- A more in-depth description could convince your customers to chose your website because you can sell even more of its benefits to them
If your CTR drops then your revenue will drop – less people on your website = less people to buy your goods and services (it’s as brutal as that). But just because you have more characters to play with, does that mean you should grow the length of your meta descriptions?
Should you grow your Meta Descriptions?
It’s still early days, however, SEO industry leader SEMrush have looked at the outcome of increasing the length of your meta descriptions. They found that by increasing the length of your meta descriptions you could increase your CTR by 36%.
But that doesn’t mean that you should max out your characters just because you can; the ideal length for your meta description is now between 230 and 300 characters.
If you don’t change your meta descriptions now then you risk lowering the click-through-rate of your business and increasing the click-through-rate of your competitors.
How you should now write your "Metas"?
To make sure that your meta descriptions sell the value of your brand, increase CTR to your website, and drive up revenue for your business, there are a few essentials that you need to be doing immediately:
- Use a length of 230-300 characters
- Match your Meta Description to the content on your web page
- Include your key words
- Use the problem/solution/outcome principle
- Problem: What problem does your searcher have that they’re seeking an answer to
- Solution: How does your web page solve your searcher’s problem
- Outcome: How is your searcher’s life improved by your business
- Make your Meta Descriptions unique
- Add a Meta Description to all of your web pages, and unique for each page on your website
Tools to help you write the best possible Meta Descriptions
There is plenty of software available to help you guarantee that you are writing the best possible meta descriptions for your business.
Smart Meta Fields is made by WebDesk Solution and is the “most advanced meta app.” It allows you to do some great things for your business:
- Increase your sales
- Customize your meta descriptions
- Bring your product descriptions to the next level
If you’ve built your online store using Shopify, you can add Smart Meta Fields to your site today and guarantee that you’ll be writing the best possible Meta Descriptions for your business.
If you’ve used WordPress to build the online store for your business, then you’ll want to use the Yoast plug-in. It’s an established leader in the meta description field and lets you:
- Maximize your meta descriptions
- Improve the SEO for your business
- Make the most of your title tags
So, get the right tool for your business today and start writing Meta Descriptions that convert.
Meta Descriptions are hugely important to your business.
They’re your chance to sell the value of your brand to web searchers and if you get them wrong your CTR will be affected.
Google’s growth in Meta Description length means that your Meta Descriptions need to be 230-300 characters long. So make sure they are and start selling more goods and services to your customers.
This guest blog post was written by Victoria Greene, a branding consultant and freelance writer. On her blog, VictoriaEcommerce, you’ll find actionable tips on everything from web design to marketing.