Optimize Meta Descriptions To Triple Your Traffic

by | Sep 23, 2016 | Actionable SEO Tips, On-Page SEO Tips

40% of web searches result in no clicks at all – Rand Fishkin, MozCon 2016

computer search on screenAttracting people to your website is an important first step to getting them into your funnel and ultimately getting a conversion to start the relationship. We spend a lot of time and resources creating killer content and optimizing our websites so the best content shows up in search results. Getting your content to show in search engines isn’t good enough, however. You need to entice people to click.

In paid search, the ad headline and ad copy are vital in getting impressions on your landing page. Organic search isn’t any different. You need to have a meta title (headline) that grabs attention and you need a relevant meta description (ad copy) under that heading to entice searchers to click through to your site. Below you’ll see a search for “Retire in Costa Rica”. You can see the blue link with red outline is the meta title while the paragraph underneath (green outline) is the meta description.

meta title and meta descriptions

Meta descriptions need to be three things: unique to each page, consist of a short summary of what the page is about, and need to encourage the reader to click through to your website.

Your title should be between 50 and 60 characters with the optimal format being Primary Keyword – Secondary Keyword | Company Name.

There’s a great emulator tool, here. You can use it to see what your title will look like in Google search results.

Your meta descriptions should:

  • Be around 135 to 160 characters in length.
  • Be actionable and contain a call to action. Think of it as a free advertisement in the search engine results page. You’re competing against 9 other organic results on the page, up to 4 ads at the top, the ever increasing Google search features such as the knowledge graph, and featured snippets.
  • Be unique. Duplicate meta descriptions confuse search engines. It’s better to leave your Meta Description blank and let Google pull it from your page than having duplicate descriptions throughout your site.
  • Contain keywords for the page. Google bolds your search term in meta descriptions. See the retire in Costa Rica example above.

AIM TIP: Ask your content writers to provide a meta title and description for the content they write, going forward. Just give them the specifications to work with.

If you haven’t been optimizing meta titles and descriptions on your site, there’s no need to panic.

You can start now by looking at the pages that are already ranking. The pages that are getting tonnes of impressions in search results, but have low click through rates. Test the effect optimizing meta titles and descriptions has on these pages. It’s quick, and easy.

A Quick & Easy Way to Get More Visitors To Your Site

Even though the words quick and easy should to be avoided in regards to SEO, this particular change is both quick AND easy to implement. Go to your Google Search Console account.  Click into search traffic and search analytics.

search analytics in search console

Make sure clicks, impressions and click through rate are ticked.

clicks, impressions and CTR

Now, I want you to sort by impressions and take note of some relevant queries that are getting a lot of impressions in Google but have a low click through rate. Take note of ten pages. Optimize the meta titles and descriptions on these pages using the pointers above.

Depending on how often Google crawls your site, these changes will take anything from a few hours to a few days to go live and appear in search results.

Check back on the ten pages you optimized in a month’s time. Did your click through rate increase? Did the conversion rate, on that page increase?

Four out of every ten user searches result in no clicks at all. By optimising your meta titles and descriptions you will increase traffic to your site. Meta descriptions don’t have any impact on rankings but are extremely important in gaining click through from SERP results. It’s your opportunity to advertise content to searchers, and to let them know that your page contains the information they’re looking for.

Once you see the positive effect this has made, it’s time to start optimizing more titles and descriptions.

Thanks for reading,

Colm O Sullivan Sig

Colm O’Sullivan
SEO Specialist, AIM

P.S. AIM offers an array of SEO services, from website reviews and site audits to ongoing optimization and everything in between. Reach out to us today to discuss how we can help you grow your business.