The meta descriptions for your Web content could be just about the most powerful marketing tool at your disposal.

You're almost certainly underusing meta descriptions, yet they won't cost you a thing.

Let me explain... As a savvy marketer, you know how important SEO is. You're aware that ranking highly for commercially valuable keywords is crucial to the digital health of your business.

However, the human element of SEO often gets overlooked. The fact is that we need to tailor our marketing strategies for people as well as machines.

The trouble with SEO is that it's sometimes easy to focus too much on the techie side of things. And as it turns out, there are a lot of traditional marketing techniques that we can apply to an SEO action plan.

The Case With Google

For example, Google requires us to have good sales skills.

The company recently revealed that it uses click-through rates as a ranking factor in searches.

It's now no longer enough just to get your business to page one. Now, you also must show that you're a popular search result when you get there.

Let's say that you rank in fifth position on page one for a certain keyword. Google will monitor how many people click on your page.

If your Web page hoovers up a lot of clicks, Google will probably bump your page up the search results.

The reverse is true. If no one clicks on your page, your ranking is likely to drop like a stone. (And, if it gets an appropriate level of clicks in relation to the other pages on the SERP, it'll probably stay where it is.)

From a strategic point of view, this approach makes total sense for Google. After all, it's Google's job to deliver the most suitable search results. A CTR can really tell Google a lot about how relevant your content is.

Remember, reaching page one of Google is only part of any ongoing digital marketing battle—that won't translate into profit on its own.

The Importance of Excellent Meta Descriptions

You need good meta descriptions for the next phase. For your SEO to be successful, you need people to head to your website and learn about your brand.

Meta descriptions are marketing ammunition. They're powerful sales weapons.

It's been hard enough to get your site in front of eyeballs, so now you've got to ensure that you clinch the deal.

So, the question is, how do you write a good meta description?

Well, at the moment, you've only got about 160 characters to play with. That's not a lot of room, so you'll have to make your point quickly.

The only rule is that, from an SEO point of view, all your meta descriptions should be unique.

Here are a few techniques that some of the biggest brands in the world use. Meta descriptions should...

  • Include a latest offer or discount
  • Reaffirm a brand promise or slogan
  • Tease in readers with some sort of clever hook
  • Include contact details (so users don't have to click on any links after making their search)
  • Include fun facts about their product or service (to stand out from the crowd)
  • Mention a free download or lead magnet (that will appeal to their target audience)
  • Include a relevant keyword (not for SEO gains but to reassure searchers)
  • Allude to a popular pain point that their company's product or service helps with (creating desire)

There are endless possibilities with your meta descriptions. There's no right or wrong answer; the trick is to test different methods and measure the results.

Ultimately, put yourself in your customers' shoes. If you were looking for a particular product or service online, what would convince you to click?

And if you're still to be convinced about the importance of meta descriptions, just consider how many people use PPC ads.

Businesses and agencies agonize over the copy for PPC ads because they need searchers to click on the website in question. Searches must click through or the campaign fails. It's as simple as that.

The meta descriptions for organic results are no different. And in fact, because people have a real trust issue with sponsored ads, the descriptions for natural search results take on greater significance.

Meta descriptions are your one and only chance to convince people that you're their best option. The rest of your SEO strategy is clearly working. Now, it's time to tick that final box.

Meta descriptions are the one true crossover between traditional marketing and modern SEO. So embrace the human element of SEO and let everyone know the value of your web page.

Don't give Google a chance to nullify any of your SEO gains. As powerful as SEO is, you still need to market your business before you've sold anything.

The little details matter.

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You May Be Overlooking the Most Powerful Marketing Tool at Your Disposal

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image of Matt Press

Matt Press is an experienced copywriter who has written for some of the UK's biggest brands, such as Sky, Three, and Vodafone. He runs his own content marketing company, Splash Copywriters.

LinkedIn: Matt Press