How to write meta descriptions [with examples] to boost click thru rates

Written by Fraser McCulloch.

Home : SEO : How to write meta descriptions [with examples] to boost click thru rates

Learn how to write meta descriptions for your pages and products wth these 5 examples to boost click through rates.

What is a meta description ?

A meta description is an html element (or short paragraph) this provides a summary of your page that users see underneath the title of a page in Google’s search results.

meta description example

What does the meta description look like in the SERPS?

Here’s an example of what a meta description looks like in the search results on a mobile device.

And here’s what the description looks like in a desktop device.

What character length should the description tag be ?

There is no perfect meta description length since search results appear in hundreds of different browser sizes.

I use a preview tool which recommends that you use under 916 pixels long for the meta description tag.

meta description length under 916 pixels

Yoast suggest you use between 120 and 156 characters.

As Google now use mobile results to rank your pages I would recommend previewing the mobile version of the description you wrote about your page.

Use testing tools such as Meta Tags or the WordPress seo plugin, Yoast, to help you keep your description within the character limit.

Are meta description tags a search engine ranking factor ?

Meta descriptions are not a ranking factor but they can impact and encourage more users to click your page result in the SERPs.

Google rewrites 63% to 71% of meta description tags

There have been a few research studies done highlighting that Google are rewriting the majority of meta descriptions in the search results.

According to Ahrefs, Google rewrite 62.78% of unique page descriptions.

Whilst Portent found that 71% of meta descriptions on page 1 mobile results are rewritten.

Google explained that they are rewriting the meta descriptions to make the pages more information.

I wrote that Google are trying to use the meta description are to give users an answer so they don’t have to click onto the page results.

So perhaps the meta description is becoming a featured snippet ?

Nevertheless, you should still write a meta description of your page as it can be useful when the page is previewed across multiple channels.

Here are 3 steps to writing great meta descriptions.

Step 1 : An extension of your title tags

If you’ve already written your page title then you are half way to writing a good meta description.

In this example, I’ve written the page title but forgotten to write the description.

This tool has scraped my page and previewed the title.

The title was written as follows : keyword my page is targeting followed by the user intent followed by the outcome the user gets after reading the page.

Step 2 : Target keyword at the start

Write the target keyword near the start of the meta description.

Step 3 : Include Target keyword + user intent + benefit or call to action

Use this formula to guide you writing the page meta description

  • Target Keyword near the start eg: SEO Campaign
  • User intent : eg: Launch
  • Benefit or call to action : in this example, there’s a template to use but the call to action for a product page may be “free delivery” or “10%”

How can you boost click through rate ?

At the time of writing I have a page at number 4 in the search results and Google has rewritten my page description.

And the meta description is awful; in my opinion.

So perhaps I need to rewrite the paragraph of text they have scraped and rewrite my meta description.

If you look at the difference in CTR from position 3 to position 4, a better meta description could significantly boost my organic traffic.

Examples of meta descriptions

Home page examples

The description is an extension of the page title; except they have bolded FREE as the call to action.

They could remove “to see what’s hot and what’s not, and” to place their seed keywords nearer the start of the description.

They explain the key benefit of their products with a good call to action; free shipping and return.

I discovered this company as they sponsor a football team; the first sentence describes exactly what they offer.

A nice welcoming and interesting way to describe what they do.

The description is too long and gets cut off at the end; they remove “the perfect combination”.

Another brand that start their page description with their brand and product proposition.

First sentence explains the benefit of their app and closes with a strong call to action; get started for free in 2 minutes.

Product category example

The description for a genre of music; but they don’t include the correct genre in the description; a good call to action; download and listen.

The first part of the sentence is rather odd for a golf like me; but they still mention the benefits of their product; distance, speed, forgiveness

Good description for a product category that includes “buy” and “free shipping”.

“Browse” is a great action verb for a product collection page. Thereafter they repeat the product category from the title in the description.

I wrote this page title and description for the client about 6 months ago.

The target keywords are at the start, followed by who the products are aimed at ie: hair type.

Good call to action; “try it today” followed by a benefit “stay fresh all day”.

This description follows by formulae; keyword (mens eyeglasses) followed a call to action; “browse”.

Product page examples

A description of the product along with how to use it.

No price or call to action here; surprising poor description.

My son got this screen from Santa; the screen size is important and they’ve introduced a benefit; competitive edge for gamers.

Service Page examples

The keyword they are targeting is included “Perth accountants” plus a good signal “award winning team”.

Keyword they are targeting at the start plus the benefit of the product “loan used to buy a home with savings from family”

Blog Post examples

The description doesn’t include the page title; I don’t think it’s a bad description but a call to action would help.

The description doesn’t include the page title text and when I read the full description I’m not sure the page will actually answer my question.

Google have scrapped the first way to write copy “emphasise benefits over features instead of using the actual meta description.

This description that Google have scraped is just a mess that bears no relation to the benefit the user will gain from reading.

This description is alright; sounds like someone with experience will guide me and answer my question.

I like this description as it explains that Pantone is.

The first part of the sentence explains what matched betting is and the keyword being targeted.

First sentence matches the title and the second sentence highlights a key, alarming statistic that could prompt the user to take action.

This is what your see when searching “online business ideas UK”.

Linkedin examples

Notice how Linkedin don’t preview the description so images are really important.

If I was this page in Linkedin with this image I’d feel confident this company are really professional.

Facebook examples

Notice how the description is cut off; hence you need keyword and either a benefit or call to action near the start.

The description is cut off here too; but “award winning” and “Perth accountants” are loaded to the front.