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      How to Write Meta Descriptions That Get Clicks (5 Key Tips)


      Search engines can make or break websites. Getting your site to show up on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) often isn’t enough. You also have to get people’s attention, so they’ll click on your links over the hundreds of other options.

      At their core, meta descriptions give potential visitors an overview of what kind of content they can expect. They tend to be just a few lines long, so small differences in the way you write your meta descriptions can be enough to boost your click-through rate significantly.

      In this article, we’re going to talk about what meta descriptions are, why they’re necessary, and what elements they should include. Then we’ll walk you through five tips to ensure that your meta descriptions hit home every time. Let’s get to it!

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      An Introduction to Meta Descriptions

      Meta descriptions are the snippets of text you see underneath the title within SERPs, as in the example below.

      Two examples of meta descriptions.

      The main goal of a good meta description is to give you an idea of what the page is all about. Naturally, titles also play a vital role here, but there’s only so much information you can fit into a single headline.

      Meta descriptions provide you with up to a couple of sentences to expand on your page’s content. You can either write them yourself or have search engines generate them automatically based on each user’s search query.

      As convenient as having search engines do the work for you sounds, however, we strongly recommend that you write your own meta descriptions. That way, you get full control over what shows up on the SERPs and on social media sites while also increasing your chances of engaging users.

      Let’s take a look at some meta description examples for a specific line of shoes. You can tell the meta description below was generated automatically, and it doesn’t give you much to go on.

      An example of an unoptimized meta description.

      Here’s another result for the same product search, this one using a stronger meta description.

      An example of an optimized meta description.

      It’s important to understand that meta descriptions only give you a limited number of characters to play with. On desktops, that can be up to 158 characters, whereas mobile users will only see 120 of them. Roughly speaking, that means you get about two lines of text.

      Why Meta Descriptions Are Important

      Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is all about competition. You compete against every other site that appears within the results pages for a given search, each hoping to get the lion’s share of the clicks.

      When it comes to the SERPs, several factors determine how many views your links get, including:

      • The title you use
      • Whether it’s a rich snippet or not
      • If it appears within an answer box
      • The position of your pages
      • Your meta descriptions

      Out of all those factors, you get full control over three of them: your title, schema markup, and meta descriptions. It’s only logical that you should optimize those elements as much as possible.

      If you take another look at the previous section, you’ll notice just how much of a difference a good meta description can make. Letting search engines generate yours will often result in descriptions that look like gibberish.

      What to Include in a Meta Description

      Two lines of text aren’t much, but more often than not, it’s enough to cover a few key elements. Most often, this should include:

      • What your page is about
      • How it can benefit the reader

      If a meta description is too vague, then you’re not selling users on the idea of visiting your website. You’ll still get clicks, of course, but not as many as you might have otherwise.

      Let’s say, for example, that you wanted to write a meta description for this article. Here’s a not-so-good example:

      Have you ever wondered what meta descriptions are? Wonder no more, because we’ll tell you everything you need to know.

      While it hits on the article’s primary topic, it doesn’t do a good job of previewing the page’s actual content. Now let’s give it another go, keeping in mind the fundamental elements we want to include:

      Meta descriptions are key to any site’s SEO. In this article, we’ll break down why and help you optimize your own descriptions. Read on to find out more!

      This is short and to the point, and we even had enough characters left over to include a simple Call to Action (CTA). It may not win any literary awards, but it will get the job done.

      How to Write Meta Descriptions That Get Clicks (5 Key Tips)

      At this point, you know the basics of what a meta description should include. However, if you want your descriptions to really hit home, here are five tips to help you optimize them further.

      1. Use Relevant Keywords

      If you’re reading this, you’re probably familiar with the concept of keywords. Ideally, you’ll use them organically throughout all of your content, and that includes metadata such as your descriptions.

      Let’s say, for example, that you’re writing a recipe and you want to optimize it for the search term “how to cook a healthy lasagna.” That’s an easy to term to work into a meta description:

      Learning how to cook a healthy lasagna is easier than you might imagine. Let’s go over a recipe you can cook in under two hours!

      Including keywords within your meta descriptions is a smart SEO practice. It gives search engines a better idea of what your content is all about. However, as always, make sure to work those meta keywords in organically. That means not stuffing your descriptions full of keywords; make your description still reads like something a human (not a bot) would write.

      2. Don’t Obsess Over the Character Count

      So far, most of the examples we’ve shown you have come in well under the maximum character count for the major search engines. You want to get some mileage out of your meta descriptions, but in practice, obsessing over the character count isn’t as serious as you might think.

      To build on our earlier example of a healthy lasagna recipe, you could easily expand on its description to cover more information:

      Learning how to cook a healthy lasagna is easier than you might imagine. For this recipe, we’re substituting meat with eggplants, which means it will cook faster and feed up to four people.

      That example goes over the character limit for both desktop and mobile meta descriptions in Google. In practice, it would get cut off and look something like this:

      Learning how to cook a healthy lasagna is easier than you might imagine. For this recipe, we’re substituting meat with eggplants, which means it will cook …

      That snippet still provides plenty of information, so you don’t necessarily need to change it. What matters is that you include the essential details early on, so whatever does get cut off is just supplementary information.

      3. Optimize for Rich Snippets

      Most search results look pretty dull — a sea of titles, meta descriptions, and URLs. However, in some cases, your results will look a bit more lively.

      Three examples of carbonara recipes with rich snippets.

      Those are examples of rich snippets. To create them, you add structured data markup to your pages, providing more information on what their content includes. Search engines can recognize that information and structure your results accordingly.

      This practice offers two key benefits:

      1. Your pages will look more engaging within the SERPs.
      2. You get to add a ton of extra information to your results, without needing to count characters.

      For a real example, let’s take a look at the results for “how to cook a healthy lasagna.”

      Two healthy lasagna recipes with rich snippets.

      Two of the top results are featured snippets. Without even clicking on them, you can see an image, cooking time, rating, and even the number of calories in the recipe.

      Keep in mind that not all types of content lend themselves well to rich snippets. However, they’re pretty easy to implement, once you know how to add the right structured data markup to your pages.

      4. Avoid Duplicates

      When it comes to meta descriptions, there are two kinds of potential duplicates. It’s good practice to avoid both of them:

      1. Mimicking other sites’ descriptions
      2. Having several of your pages use the same description

      Overall, duplicate content is almost always bad news when it comes to SEO. Moreover, it can hurt your click-through rate if you have several pages competing for the same search terms.

      For practical purposes, there’s no reason all of your pages shouldn’t have unique meta descriptions. If it takes you more than a couple of minutes to write one, then you’re probably overthinking it.

      5. Use Interesting Words

      Most meta descriptions are pretty boring, at least linguistically speaking. The need to cover so much information in such a limited space doesn’t lend itself well to innovation.

      One way to make your meta descriptions stand out is by using compelling language. To do that, take a look at what other websites are writing for the keywords you want to rank for. Let’s say, for example, that you’re looking for a cast iron pizza recipe.

      A lot of the content will be similar, which means their meta descriptions will share elements as well. However, not all descriptions are equally effective.

      Some examples of cast iron pizza recipes.

      Some of our favorite hits from the above example include the words ‘crispy,’ ‘buttery,’ and ‘chewy.’ There are five results here, but the first and last stand out due to their word choices.

      Think about it this way — if you’re staring at that page trying to decide which recipe to follow, you’ll probably pick the one that sounds more delicious. At that stage, you don’t know how good the recipe will be, so your only indicators are the title tag, picture, and word choice in the meta description.

      Search Result Focus

      When you boil it down, SEO is a competition. You’ll never be the only website within a niche, so you need to look for ways to make your pages stand out in the SERPs. Fortunately, an informative, unique meta description is a great way to catch potential visitors’ eyes.

      Are you looking for a hosting plan that can handle all the traffic your improved meta descriptions will send your way? Check out our shared hosting options!



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      How to Write Product Descriptions That Really Sell: 8 Simple Tips


      Congratulations! You’ve done the hard marketing work to lead your target customer right to your product pages. They are currently reading through a product description to decide whether or not they will purchase something from your e-commerce business.

      The million dollar question: will they buy what you’re selling?

      The answer, in large part, depends on how much time and effort you put into your product description. It may seem drastic to weigh product descriptions so heavily, but stats show that a well-written product description is a surefire conversion tool. Here’s a closer look:

      • 87% of consumers ranked product content extremely or very important when deciding to buy.
      • Millennials are 40% more likely than other adults to say product content is extremely important to their purchasing decisions.
      • Consumers purchasing clothing and online groceries ranked product descriptions as the second most influential factor in their decision to buy — just after price.
      • 20% of purchase failures are potentially a result of missing or unclear product information.

      The stats don’t lie. If you want to increase sales, it’s time to polish your e-commerce product descriptions.

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      8 Ways to Write an Excellent Product Description

      But what actually makes a good product description? In this guide, we’re giving you eight tips (along with winning examples) that provide a comprehensive look into what makes an effective product description. Let’s go!

      1. Identify Your Buyer Personas

      It can be difficult to write a product description if you don’t know who your target audience is. To successfully write about product features that resonate with your potential buyers, you have to know who they are.

      This means you need to reference your buyer persona(s)  — a fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research. If you don’t already have a buyer persona to guide the copywriting on your website, the time to create one is now.

      A buyer persona should answer all of the following general questions:

      • What is the demographic information of your buyers?
      • What are their interests?
      • What is their native language?
      • What kind of language appeals to them? (e.g., Does industry jargon appeal to them or turn them off?)
      • How do they spend their free time?
      • How do they find your website?
      • Why are they interested in your store?

      If you have the luxury of big data at your hands, collect data on your current customers to also understand:

      • Product preferences
      • Behavioral patterns
      • Purchasing patterns

      Access to this data will help you fine-tune your buyer personas. Once you know who you are selling to, it will be easier to write product descriptions that resonate well with them.

      2. Focus on Product Benefits and Features

      As crucial as it is to speak the language of your buyers, your buyers don’t come to your page to connect. They come to learn precisely what your product can do and how it will meet their needs and fulfill their pain points. To accomplish this, you need to write an extensive list of your product’s features and benefits.

      Start with the features. For example, if you sell shoes, include size information, material, color information, the weight of the shoe, etc. Your features section should be comprehensive and tell consumers everything they need to know about what makes your product special.A list of features is a great start, but it’s only half the battle. Potential customers also want to know the benefits of your particular product. And, this is where your product description can shine.

      With the shoe example, benefits would include things like comfort, flexibility, odor-resistance, wet and dry traction, etc.

      Allbirds does a fantastic job showing off the benefits of their shoe without being verbose. Their advantages are spelled out in short, sweet blurbs that get right to the point.

      Allbirds product benefits.
      Allbirds clearly identifies its products’ main benefits for customers.

      Benefits are your main selling points, your differentiators, and the reasons why customers will end up selecting your product over your competitors. Don’t neglect clearly identifying them.

      3. Stay True to Your Brand’s Voice

      If your brand’s voice is professional, your product descriptions should be professional. If your brand is snarky and sarcastic, then your product descriptions should match. Is your brand funny? Be funny when writing your product descriptions.

      Everyone is familiar with the hilarious Poo-Pourri advertising videos. You know, the videos that took Poo-Pourri from a $10 million company to a $30 million company almost overnight?

      Poo-Pourri has a unique brand identity and tone of voice, which they stay true to even when describing their products.

      Poo-Pourri product description.
      Poo-Pourri stays true to their brand’s unique voice in product descriptions.

      4. Tell a Full Story

      Every good story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Unless, of course, you’re one of the writers on Game of Thrones, but I digress.

      With product descriptions, the formula for good writing is no different. You need to present a complete story that engages your readers. This doesn’t mean you need to write a novel, but at the same time, your product description shouldn’t just be a list of features and benefits either.

      Instead, show (not tell) your customers how the product will improve their lives. Help them visualize a real-life scenario where your product solves a problem. The goal is to create a narrative arc in which the reader is the hero and your product is the tool that enables them to succeed.

      For example, check out the impressive product storytelling of Malicious Women Candle Co.

      Customers aren’t just buying a candle at Malicious Women Candle Company. They are purchasing a product that promotes empowerment with a side of hustle and energy. Now that’s a product story.

      5. Use Active Language to Persuade Buyers

      Your mom was right; the words you use make a difference — especially with product descriptions. The truth is that some words are just more persuasive than others. In fact, experts have roadtested all kinds of language to come up with 189 words and phrases that actually improve conversion rates.

      Consider these 20 tried-and-tested words recommended by David Ogilvy, the proverbially ‘Father of Advertising’:

      • Suddenly
      • Now
      • Announcing
      • Introducing
      • Improvement
      • Amazing
      • Sensational
      • Remarkable
      • Revolutionary
      • Startling
      • Miracle
      • Magic
      • Offer
      • Quick
      • Easy
      • Wanted
      • Challenge
      • Compare
      • Bargain
      • Hurry

      The common theme? Persuasive words encourage consumers to take action.

      Jon Morrow of SmartBlogger.com has his own list of 600 power words that will tap into your customer’s emotions, making them more likely to engage with your message.

      Sample of Jon Morrow’s 600-word list
      Sample of Jon Morrow’s 600-word list

      Since many companies use awe-inspiring (see what we did there?) power words in their product descriptions, it’s easy to find good examples — even for seemingly bland products. Here’s one about shaving cream from Ulta Beauty.

      Ulta Beauty product description.
      Ulta Beauty utilizes power words to make shaving cream seem swanky.

      When writing product descriptions, take a moment to scan through your copy and make sure each word is pulling its weight.

      6. Make Text Scannable with Bullet Points

      Making your text scannable is one of the most critical elements of writing a good product description. Studies suggest humans have an attention span that’s shorter than that of a goldfish — a bleak eight seconds.

      This means it’s essential to make your content easily digestible. The solution to packing a narrative punch in a relatively small space? Create a bulleted list.

      J. Crew does this well. Customers can click on a picture to see the item of interest and quickly read the scannable bullet points for more information.

      J. Crew product description with bullet points.
      Bullet points make it easy for J. Crew customers to scan the fine print.

      The more you can do to make a product description scannable, the better.

      7. Optimize Copy for Search Engines

      Copywriters have a unique challenge when it comes to writing product descriptions. They must persuade readers, but there’s another audience to keep in mind too: search engine algorithms.

      Search Engine Optimization (SEO) — including identifying and using the appropriate keywords for your products — should be a critical part of your product description writing process.

      The SEO world is constantly changing, along with Google’s algorithms, so what works one day might not be ideal the next. However, there are still some keyword strategies that stand the test of time, such as avoiding duplicate content and including keywords in the following places:

      • Page title
      • Product title
      • Meta descriptions
      • Alt tags
      • Product descriptions

      The keywords you use in your copy help Google and other search engines identify what the page is about. This information then used to determine how to rank your site on the search engine results page (SERP) so that relevant results to served up to people imputing related search queries.

      For example, when you type “shaving cream” into Google, Google offers a list of products.

      Google search result for 'shaving cream'.
      Google displays popular products when you search for ‘shaving cream.’

      There are literally hundreds of shaving cream products on the market today, but these five products have the best SEO keyword strategy.

      Take Cremo Shave Cream, for example. When visiting their product page, it’s clear they have maximized the use of keywords, such as shave cream and shave.

      Cremo product descriptions focused on keywords.
      Cremo focused on incorporating keywords into its product descriptions.

      Additionally, when you check out the page source, you can see the back-end (e.g., alt tags) are optimized with the keyword as well.

      8. Add Images and Video

      It should go without saying that a great product description must include images. If you need extra persuasion, remember that 63% of consumers believe good images are more important than product descriptions.

      If your e-commerce store can afford to hire a product photographer, awesome! If not, there are lots of DIY product photography tutorials to help get you started. Of course, good photos start with good equipment, including:

      • Camera
      • Tripod
      • Nice background
      • White bounce cards made of foam board
      • Table
      • Tape

      Once you’ve gathered your gear, you’ll need some tips on how to actually take stellar photos. This guide from Bigcommerce provides beginner-friendly tips at budget-price: how to shoot exceptional product photos for under $50. Suggestions include:

      • Using a light-colored backdrop so it’s easier to touch up images.
      • Creating your own lightbox to distribute light evenly.
      • Using a tripod to steady your camera.
      • Retouching images before posting them.

      If you don’t think a smartphone will do the trick, think again. All you need for affirmation is to take a gander at some of the DIY photographers on Instagram. Jennifer Steinkop of @aloeandglow, for example, uses an iPhone 8 Plus, the Lightbox app, and some of the tips mentioned above to create gorgeous beauty shots.

      @aloeandglow Instagram account
      @aloeandglow Instagram account

      Looking for a more corporate example? iRobot has excellent product photography on its website. The company includes at least four images and often a video (bonus!) to show consumers exactly how the product works.

      iRobot’s Roomba i7 product page.
      iRobot’s Roomba i7 product page.

      With a few clicks of a button in a second or two, consumers know exactly what they are getting when they buy a Roomba.

      Another tip courtesy of iRobot: consider adding customer reviews to your product description. In addition to quality imagery, social proof can be hugely motivating for prospective buyers.

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      How to Create a Product Description Template

      While we’ve just outlined eight tips for writing product descriptions that really sell, it’s important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. That’s because all products have different features, benefits, and selling points.

      However, if you have a list of similar products and you don’t want to start from scratch every time you write a product description, it can be beneficial to create a template.

      There are lots of handy product description template examples you can download from e-commerce websites. To really maximize their value, though, we’d recommended you focus on the 8 tips we outlined above. Start by asking:

      • What are your buyer personas?
      • What are the pain points of your customers?
      • How does your product solve customer pain points?
      • What power words can you use in your copy?
      • Do you have a unique story or brand voice?
      • Is your language accessible and free of industry jargon?
      • What are the main features and benefits of your products?
      • Do you have an image and video library?

      Once you’ve answered these questions, you can tweak your template and test it with your audience. If you find a specific template is outperforming others, then you’ve found your winner.

      Your Products, Our Hosting

      Ready to revolutionize the way you write product descriptions and how you display them on your website? At DreamHost, we offer low-cost shared WordPress hosting, and a variety of other resources to help you build the perfect custom website for your online store. Check out our shared hosting plans today!





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