How To Write The Best Meta Page Description

Originally Published December 2013 | Updated October 2019

In a digital world governed by a long list of clever Search Engine Optimization (SEO) rules, you have to write the best meta description and website content in order to boost the online visibility and profitability of your business. However, what does this optimization process actually involve? In one word: everything.

From your headlines, to your body copy and meta descriptions, every single element present on your webpage should be honed. Keep reading to find out how you can easily write killer meta descriptions for your webpage, designed to improve your conversion rates and bring your business into the spotlight.

Man jotting down notes next to a computer

How to Come Up With Google & People-Friendly Meta Page Descriptions

If you want to rank higher in search engine results, you have to comply with Google’s set of rules and recommendations. Google is lending users a hand by providing a series of helpful guidelines on how to write compelling meta descriptions. According to the info provided by Google, developers should:

  • Create a unique, relevant meta description written in sentence format for every single page.
  • Include tagged facts in their page descriptions.
  • Write descriptions that are not mere strings of keywords.
  • Come up with descriptions providing diverse, useful, human readable information.

It is useful to note that Google does not use Meta descriptions for its ranking algorithm; however, the description is shown as a rich snippit to the users when they search.

Tips on How to Write Result-Oriented Meta Page Descriptions

Excellent meta descriptions serve a clear purpose: they give website owners a much-needed competitive advantage in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), maximize click-through rates and turn more visitors into actual buyers. Here are a few great tips showing you how to write compelling, user-oriented meta descriptions.

  1. Keep it short and simple: Write short, concise descriptions that do not exceed 155 characters.
  2. Highlight your unique value proposition: Accentuate the unique features and benefits of your products or services and differentiate them from the ones provided by your competitors.
  3. Make your meta description welcoming: Is your meta description a courteous doorman or a rude bouncer? Remember that you write for people, not for machines, and make sure your page descriptions are inviting and user-oriented.
  4. Include a powerful call to action.
  5. Name dropping may be helpful: Listing the names of some important clients or partners could accentuate your qualifications and boost your credibility; just don’t overdo it.
  6. Experiment, monitor, and improve: Don’t be afraid to experiment! Roll out the first version of your page description, evaluate its results, and make changes if necessary. The key is to understand exactly which elements work better for your website and for your entire niche.

Meta Description Real-World Examples

Example #1

“The experienced aviation lawyers of the Washington, DC based law firm Kirstein & Young, PLLC, have extensive experience with antitrust litigation, aviation litigation and counseling and federal administrative matters. Call 202-331-3348.”

The problem: the meta page description is too long (counts no less than 236 characters-way too many for a “robot-friendly” website) and doesn’t highlight the services provided by the law firm

Proposed Page Description: “At Kirstein & Young, PLLC, we protect our clients’ best interest in litigation, administrative and federal regulatory issues.”

Example #2

“Home Page”

The problem: description is too short (only 9 characters) and not descriptive at all.

Proposed Page Description: “We go the extra mile to provide roadside assistance tailored to your unique towing needs.”

Example #3

“Our goal at Boston Dental is to exceed patient expectations and be at the leading edge of the dental arena while providing modern, state of the art dental care.”

The problem: Meta description contains too many characters (161), plus the plus the description relevancy to webpage content is terrible (estimated at only 3%).

Proposed Page Description: “Our certified dental professionals specialized in cosmetic and implant dentistry make clients smile with pride and confidence.”

Example #4

“Our professionals are trained to perform work in the home or at the office. Greater Boston Plumbing & Heating can handle everything from garbage disposal clogs and replacement, leaking toilets, faucet replacement to water heater repairs and installations. Call 617-872-8704 for more details.”

The problem: The description is too long (290 characters)

Proposed Page Description: “We have the fastest, cheapest, most-effective solution to your commercial and residential plumbing problems. Check us out.”

Example #5

Joe’s Bar, joes on weed, joe’s on weed, joe on weed, joes on weed st, joe’s on weed st, joe on weed st, joes bar chicago, sport bar, sports bar, country music, live music, march madness, private events, private event, private parties, private party, cover bands, cover band, beer garden, bachellorette parties, bachellorette party, bachelorette parties, bachelorette party, alumni parties, alumni party, pizza, thunder chicago, thunder from down under, thunder show, male entertainment, male stripper, male strippers, male revue, drink specials, cheap drinks, quarter beers, then again, rum runners, hairbangers ball, hairbanger ball, sixteen candles, 80’s cover band, 80s cover band, outdoor patio, patio, alumni club, steelers, bar and grill, bar & grill, game watch, concert tickets, concert venue, cornhole, illinois, illini, indiana, hoosiers, georgia, bulldogs, bulldog, dogs, dawgs, oklahoma, sooner, sooners, ucla, bruins, auburn, football, basketball, doggy happy hour, happy hour, dog friendly”

The problem: this incredibly long meta description is actually a mere string of keywords; the developers are relying on keyword stuffing, one of the shadiest SEO practices penalized by Google, to rank higher in SERPs

Proposed Page Description: “Joe’s bar invites you to enjoy fabulous drinks and snacks in a great ambiance. Book a table to discover the artistic approach to local entertainment.”

All in all, Google-friendly Meta descriptions are actually very easy to write, as long as you follow a basic set of rules.

  • Keep it simple and concise (by all means, don’t exceed the 156 character limit; otherwise Google will just truncate it for you). Here’s an extra tip:  use to count the characters of your meta description.
  • Add a compelling call-to-action
  • Highlight the best features/benefits that make your company unique in your niche
  • Incorporate one or two relevant keywords, but without jeopardizing the meaning and the logic of your Meta description
  • Write with your readers in mind (think about it this way: what type of information would make you click on a competitor’s site?)
  • Don’t get overly technical, use a friendly tone and everyday words to make yourself understood by a larger audience
  • Describe your page in a natural, accurate manner
  • Build your message around highly trafficked keywords
    • Make sure every single page has a unique, short, compelling Meta description. Google is not a big fan of duplicate content, so the highest level of originality is a must-have. If you want to please Google, note that it is better to leave your page description blank than to post duplicate page descriptions.
    • Mention your company; even if the name of your company is mentioned in the title, don’t hesitate to include it in the meta description. This will help your readers find your webpage faster and easier.

Bottom line: a massive load of jargon and a plenitude of stuffed keywords shouldn’t pass as an ideal meta description. The best page descriptions focus on the needs, demands, and expectations of the targeted audience and are concise, compelling, and intriguing.