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How To Create Awesome Meta Descriptions

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How To Create Awesome Meta Descriptions


Meta descriptions have always been an essential optimization. Even though they do not help rankings, they do help with other goals such as improving click-through rates by tempting people to click on your listing over others that may not be quite as interesting.

Meta descriptions are considered an indirect signal, in that they do not directly influence search rankings.

But does this mean that you should ignore them as part of your SEO efforts? Absolutely not!

Here, you’ll learn how to create awesome meta descriptions that help search engines understand your page’s content and inspire searchers to click through and visit your website.

What Is A Meta Description?

The meta description is an HTML tag that provides search engines and searchers a description of what the page is about. It is displayed on search engine results pages (SERPs) underneath the title of the page.

Meta Descriptions Vs. SERP Snippets

Some people mistakenly use the terms “meta description” and “search snippet” interchangeably.

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But meta descriptions and search snippets are two different things.

The meta description is an HTML tag that you control. You can create and optimize your own meta descriptions.

Search snippets are the descriptions Google shows for your webpages. It could either be the meta description you have created, or it could be something completely different. Google controls this.

Why wouldn’t Google use your meta description? Depending on the search query, Google may generate a description for your webpage that is entirely different from the meta description you created.

This is nothing new. Google automated this process many years ago.

According to a recent in-depth study performed by Yoast:

  • Google rewrites many search snippets on its own, to help match the searcher’s query more accurately.
  • In two-thirds of cases that they examined, Google used sentences from the first paragraph to create the search snippet. Of course, this doesn’t mean Google will do the same for your site, but the indication is there that an article introduction should at least consider whether it would make a good alternative to the meta description.

The distinction between meta descriptions and search snippets is an important one, especially when Google makes announcements – such as when Google expanded the length of search snippets (only to shorten snippets about six months later).

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Why Are Meta Descriptions Important For SEO?

As many other ranking factors have come into play, meta descriptions have become less impactful and are no longer used at all in ranking. In fact, Google confirmed in 2009 that while meta information had been used by search engines in ranking in the earliest days of Google, it had been devalued long before even then.

So how are they used today?

Meta descriptions can help drive clicks, traffic, potential conversions, and revenue by:

  • Increasing a site’s CTR in the SERPs: There have been studies over the years that support the idea that well-written and properly optimized meta descriptions can increase your CTR. Sistrix released a report that showed when a SERP includes a featured snippet, the CTR for position one dropped an average of 5.3%, for example.
    Screenshot taken by author, December 2021
  • Higher quality traffic: The higher up in the SERPs you are, the more likely you’ll get clicks which in turn result in more higher quality traffic. Zero Limit Web revealed that 81.3% of searches resulted in a page 1 Google organic click. And the results from 6 to 10 only accounted for 3.73% of clicks.
  • Potential conversions: Crafting a well-written meta description that is closely related to the topic of the page, is interesting to users, and is highly optimized for user intent can increase conversions from search to your site significantly.

What Is The Recommended Or Ideal Meta Description Length?

It has been considered a standard SEO best practice for years to keep meta descriptions at around 160-165 characters maximum (or 156-160 characters, depending on who you talk to).

The reasoning behind this is that this optimization helps to avoid the truncation of the meta description in the SERPs and as a result, helps to limit bounce rates.

Do your own testing. Find out exactly what works for your site.

7 Meta Description Writing Tips & Best Practices

Research Your Competitors

Regardless of your industry, SERP research will help you see what works for your competitors – and that’s who you need to beat.

Monitor relevant SERPs over the next several days, weeks, and months.

Assess exactly which meta descriptions appear in the top positions, where you want to rank.

To do SERP research effectively:

Step 1: Research The SERPs For Your Targeted Keyword

It’s easier said than done, I know. It can be time-consuming to manually go through every search result and identify what, exactly, is your competition’s kryptonite.

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The reason why we were looking at the competition is because usually, the competition implements techniques that are currently working.

Step 2: Research The SERPs For Your Competition And What They’re Doing

Here, you take a look at your competition and figure out exactly what they are doing for their brands.

Step 3: Put Them Together In A Spreadsheet, And Track Them

Using the SEO Quake Google Chrome extension, you can export Google SERPs to an Excel Spreadsheet quite quickly and efficiently. This will let you keep a running tally of your competition and track them easily and efficiently on a monthly basis, without enormous monthly costs.

Map Your Customer’s Journey

Identify your target audience’s optimal buying journey and what happens at each stage of the marketing funnel.

The marketing funnel can vary widely depending on your target market, so sharing an exact funnel to follow here would be fruitless.

Target and tailor your meta descriptions according to your findings.

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Use Your Brand’s Unique Tone And Style

Every brand should have a unique tone of voice, consistent with its brand identity; this is how the brand appears online to users.

Each meta description should be uniquely crafted and tailored to how that tone of voice amplifies itself across the brand’s ecosystem.

You wouldn’t use the same tone of voice for a corporate law website as you would for a daycare website, would you?

So why would you use a tone of voice that’s exactly the same from page to page?

The main benefit of tone of voice is that it reaches different personas targeting certain keywords.

By targeting personas with user intent and combining keywords with this research, it is possible to reach your target audience with a level of sophistication and optimization that truly resonates.

Include Keywords Your Audience Actually Searches On

Google continues to maintain that they don’t use keywords in the meta description for ranking purposes. But when you perform SERP research, what is it that you see? Highlighted keywords in the meta description.

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This is not conclusive evidence that Google uses it, but it is something that can draw your reader into the most relevant result that will satisfy their query.

If your meta description satisfies their intent better than any other result that appears, you’ll win the click.

Take Advantage Of Trending Social Headlines

As a connoisseur of social media, you’re most likely on the up and up in your industry when it comes to identifying exactly what’s trending and what isn’t passing muster for your audience.

Following influencer accounts and industry firms should already be a part of your strategy.

Taking it a step further, assess which topics are currently trending in your space and see what meta descriptions appear for the highest-ranking results.

Google Trends, BuzzSumo, and Trending Topics on Twitter are all good places to check and see what might be trending that’s relevant to your industry.

Target A Specific Search Intent

Generalized meta descriptions and hollow phrases such as “best widgets” and other sales-speak can turn off prospective customers.

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It is important to inspire confidence that your result is something that will satisfy their user intent for the query.

You want to speak about what your readers are really after, not attempting to persuade them into your own sales funnel.

Refresh Your Meta Descriptions On Older Content

Refreshing stale content on a website can be a boon for the site and is a great way to get new traction for older pages.

Also, by refreshing your meta descriptions, it is possible to get more traction from social media as a result. You can re-share and grab more visibility from older posts if you perform a systematic refresh of all of your meta descriptions.

Examples Of Great Meta Descriptions

So what does a great meta description look like?

Here are a few examples:

“Pain and suffering are very real to the victim in a personal injury case. Learn more about how to reduce discomfort from our personal injury attorneys in this latest blog post.”

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“By thinking clearly about your needs, it is possible to find a computer that will help you do all the things you currently love, and more. Our technicians explain.”

“What are you looking for in a widget? Our widget technicians can help you find the best one for your needs. These are the things you should look out for in widgets.”

Not every meta description type will work well for each industry. This is where testing, assessing your results, and making changes based on those results come in.

Tailor your meta description to the website and down to the page that is designed for your users. And always keep user intent in mind while integrating the optimizations above.

Optimizing Meta Descriptions Requires Striking A Balance

All of this has to be done while also observing character limits, proper branding and tone of voice, and targeted optimizations for specific pages.

It is a delicate balance that must be maintained while also interweaving common SEO elements.

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If there is only one thing you take away from this chapter, I hope it is this: always write your meta descriptions from the perspective of improving user experience and providing helpful information.

That’s what meta descriptions do best.

They will not help you rank higher in search, but can help you win more clicks from search by demonstrating to users the value that your page has to offer.


Image Credits

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal
All screenshots taken by author





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DuckDuckGo, Ecosia, Qwant Pen Open Letter On Fair Choice

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DuckDuckGo, Ecosia, Qwant Pen Open Letter On Fair Choice


In an open letter released on July 5, 2022, the three search engine chief executives outlined 10 principles to enable internet users to change their default search engine effectively.

The release, entitled “10 Principles for Fair Choice Screens and Effective Switching Mechanisms,” comes on the same day the European Parliament adopts the Digital Services Act (DSA).

This groundbreaking political agreement aims to protect consumers by establishing a new standard to hold dominant online platforms, or gatekeepers, liable for illegal and harmful content. Companies designated as gatekeepers include Google, Meta, and Twitter.

Fair Choice Seeks to Break Away from Gatekeeper Defaults

The letter, signed by Gabriel Weinberg, CEO of DuckDuckGo, Christian Kroll, CEO of Ecosia, and Corinne Lejbowicz, president of Qwant, calls for a set of 10 “common-sense” principles that will improve online user experience.

The executives state in the letter:

“Choice screens and effective switching mechanisms are crucial tools that empower users and enable competition in the search engine and browser markets. Without strict adherence to both clear rules and principles for fair choice screens and effective switching mechanisms, gatekeeping firms could choose to circumvent their legal obligations.”

The principles outlined suggest that users should have a choice screen for search engines, web browsers, and virtual assistants upon initial platform use. They also call for these screens to be offered periodically, at any time when “users are in the mindset to change core services, and major software updates can reset or affect gatekeeper-controlled search and browser default settings.”

It also stressed switching services should be applied across access points, be prominently displayed as top-level settings, and be free of charge.

Adoption Could Cut into Google’s Market Share

Should these principles be adopted, it could lead to the signatory companies and other search engines claiming a more significant piece of the search engine market. Google currently accounts for more than 90% of all internet searches worldwide.

This could have rippling effects through the search engine optimization and digital marketing industries, as optimization tactics would have to be adjusted for these other algorithms.

However, one of the conditions of the DSA is to enforce increased transparency measures on online platforms, including revealing how algorithms work for recommendations. The goal is to create a more level playing field between gatekeepers and smaller companies.

Additionally, as the three signatories, along with other smaller search engines, do not collect personal data about users, digital marketers would be required to find other means of targeting display ads, PPC, and other campaigns that rely on Google data.


Source: DuckDuckGo

Featured Image: VectorMine/Shutterstock





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Google Ads Diagnostic Insights On Overview Page

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Google Ads Diagnostic Insights On Overview Page


Google Ads has added the diagnostic insights on the Insights and Overview page of the ad console. Diagnostic insights help you identify common reasons why your campaign may not be serving or getting conversions.

Google announced this saying the reason they added this was because “it can be difficult to identify and troubleshoot these issues in a timely fashion.”

The diagnostic insights will highlight when a given campaign’s ads are not running due to all ad groups being paused, account suspensions, or low Ad Strength, among other diagnostic checks.

After you submit a campaign, diagnostic insights are an easy way to see where you’re at in the campaign serving process. In addition, they can automatically identify issues that range from ad policy, billing, budget, bids, and more. Clicking on “Show all campaign diagnostics” gives you a more detailed breakdown for the following:

  • Account status
  • Billing status
  • Policy review
  • Conversion tracking
  • Campaign budget
  • Bid strategy target
  • Campaign status
  • Ad strength

This tool was available in April 2022 but not on the overview or insights page.

Forum discussion at Twitter.





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6 Best WordPress Review Plugins For 2022

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6 Best WordPress Review Plugins For 2022


If you want to increase traffic to your WordPress site, boost your SEO, or bring in more sales from your WooCommerce products, you will benefit from installing a WordPress review plugin on your website.

By having reviews for your services or products and increasing social proof, you’re more likely to draw new customers to your business and retain existing ones.

Reviews are one of the most powerful sources of marketing and the best part is, they’re also free!

Collecting reviews from your customers and clients is also a great source of feedback.

This will allow you to make changes and improvements to your products and customer experience as well as form a relationship with your customers.

Not only does this increase the chance that they will become a repeat customer but they will also be more willing to recommend you and your services or products to others.

Choosing A WordPress Review Plugin

As with choosing any plugin, you want to make sure the review plugin you install on your WordPress site is going to be reliable and safe.

Before installing a review plugin, first, make sure that it has good reviews and ratings.

When browsing plugins, you will see a star rating and in brackets will be the number of reviews.

The higher the star rating and the number of reviews, the better.

You also want to check how many active installations the plugin has.

Again, the higher the number of active installations, the better, as this means that more people are using the plugin on their website.

And lastly, make sure the plugin has been tested with the latest version of WordPress.

Screenshot from WordPress, June 2022
ratingsScreenshot from WordPress, June 2022

Here are my top six WordPress plugin recommendations. These will provide an attractive and easy-to-use review process for your website.

All of the listed review plugins have been tested with WordPress 6.0 and have excellent ratings among over 20,000 users.

1. WP Review Pro

WP Review Pro pluginScreenshot from mythemeshop.com, June 2022

If you are looking for a truly comprehensive review plugin, you cannot go wrong with WP Review Pro.

WP Review Free includes all of the basic features, but it is well worth the $67 to upgrade to the pro version for unlimited sites to unlock the full feature set.

With WP Review Pro, you get unlimited color selections, and a variety of rating options, such as stars, percentages, thumbs up/down, points, or a circle rating.

The plugin supports 19 rich snippets and works seamlessly with Facebook, Google, and Yelp reviews in order to extend your reach.

Highly customizable pre-defined designs make it easy to match your branding or other popular review platforms.

2. Site Reviews

Site Reviews pluginScreenshot from WordPress, June 2022

Site Reviews is a simple review plugin that allows users to leave a review through a customized form.

Reviews use a 1 to 5-star system and are filterable.

You can also pin favorable reviews to the top so that they are the first reviews that customers see.

Site Reviews can also be used with WooCommerce via a free add-on to replace the WooCommerce Reviews with Site Reviews for the products in your WooCommerce store.

The plugin can be used as a shortcode, custom Gutenberg block, or widget and it supports native Elementor widgets to accommodate various theme and builder types and is free.

3. Plugin For Google Reviews

Plugin for Google Reviews pluginScreenshot from WordPress, June 2022

Plugin for Google Reviews specifically displays ratings and reviews from Google, using a public Google API.

The free version will limit you to displaying five Google reviews while the Business version, which runs $85/year for a single site, uses an API for your Google Business account, allowing unlimited Google Reviews.

The upgrade will also give you unlimited Yelp and Facebook reviews and will sync your accounts for automatic updates.

You can also mix and match reviews and customers can leave a review through your website for the other platforms.

Want to put your best reviews at the top?

Use the filter feature to display reviews in the order you want.

Five themes are available and reviews can be displayed using a widget, shortcode, or Universal HTML/JavaScript.

4. Customer Reviews For WooCommerce

Customer Reviews for WooCommerce pluginScreenshot from WordPress, June 2022

The Customer Reviews for WooCommerce plugin allows customers who have shopped in your store to leave written reviews and photos to increase your social proof and bring in more customers.

You can have an email automatically sent when a customer makes a purchase asking them to leave a review. You can even send coupons to those that do leave a review.

The plugin also integrates with a service to verify the authenticity of reviews.

Customer Reviews for WooCommerce uses ratings and voting review types, as well as customer-submitted photos. Reviews can also be filtered.

There is a free Basic version but for more customization and professional features, you will want to consider the Professional version for $49.99/year.

5. Starfish Reviews

Starfish Reviews pluginScreenshot from Starfish Reviews, June 2022

The Starfish Reviews plugin uses a funnel system to sort positive and negative reviews.

The plugin is set up in the WordPress dashboard and can link to Google, Yelp, Facebook, and a number of other third-party review platforms.

In the first step of the review, a positive or negative review choice is shown.

If the positive review is chosen, you give the customer single or multiple options of where they can leave their review.

If a negative review is chosen, the feedback will be sent back to you and they can be prompted for more information.

Depending on the restrictions of the review platform(s) you are using, you can choose not to allow them to post a negative review or allow it.

A very limited version of the plugin is available for free on wordpress.org and Starfish Reviews also has multiple paid tiers starting at $37 per month.

6. Taqyeem

Taqyeem pluginScreenshot from codecanyon.net, June 2022

The Taqyeem WordPress Review Plugin creates beautiful custom reviews that can be added to pages, posts, and custom post types.

You have unlimited color and review criteria customizations with a choice of over 500 Google Fonts to match a variety of branding.

Rating styles are points, percentages, and stars and multiple options are available for the rating image. Reviews can be displayed by Best, Recent, and Random.

The Taqyeem plugin uses Google Rich Snippets for optimal viewing through search engines.

The plugin has a one-time purchase price of $29 through CodeCanyon, which includes six months of support. Additional support can be purchased.

Choosing The Best WordPress Review Plugin In 2022

With over 1,000 WordPress review plugins available to choose from, it can be hard to know where to begin.

When choosing any plugin for your WordPress site, be mindful of the star rating, reviews, active installations, and compatibility with the latest version of WordPress.

There are plenty of free review plugins for WordPress that are reputable and reliable, but paid review plugins may offer the additional features that you require.

Displaying reviews from customers and clients on your website is great for marketing and establishing trust with your audience so it’s worth taking the time to choose a review plugin that is going to work seamlessly on your WordPress website.

More resources: 


Featured Image: Jirsak/Shutterstock





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