The humble description tag offers powerful ways to influence web searchers
If you enter the keyword phrase ‘google seo guide’ into a search engine, chances are it’ll bring up their own PDF tutorial: ‘Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide’.
Open it up and you may notice the third heading is titled ‘Make use of the description meta tag’. This may surprise some people, as the common wisdom seems to be that Google takes no notice of the meta tags at all these days. So if this is the case why does Google make such a thing of the description tag in this guide?
Offers something difficult to achieve any other way
In truth the meta description tag offers something that is almost impossible to achieve in any other way. What it offers is a way to manipulate the page description that will be written on the search engine results page (SERP), to your benefit. And to my knowledge there’s no other easy way to achieve this.
But it goes even further than that. Being able to create and edit text that appears on the SERP opens up another unique opportunity to craft the text so it can increase the chance of someone clicking on your link rather than your competitor’s.
So how do you go about writing the description text in this way? Over the past few year’s I’ve monitored how different writing styles for the description text can affect the chance of people clicking on page results links and have found, not so surprising really, that if you write the description a bit like an ad, it offers the best chance of getting more clicks coming through.
How to write meta tags that drive clicks
First you need to cultivate the right impression you want to leave with people after they’ve read the descriptions. Rather than just give basic information in these tags you need to make them informative about the page they represent, and make everyone aware of the how much benefit the page will offer them.
The way I achieve this is by writing the description tag like I would write an ad, say for instance a pay per click ad. So you have an introduction (this can be achieved by the title tag to some extent), an outline of the benefit and a call to action.
Here’s an example in action:
Below is an example of my SEO tips paperback book page title tag and meta description tag as appears on the Google results page.
As you can see it is very focused on letting people know what the product is, what it offers to them and how they can get it themselves. If I hadn’t gone to the trouble of writing these tags, Google would simply have picked out snippets from the page, which would offer a much lower chance of people clicking on the link.