First, let’s discuss the obvious: What is a meta description? Even if you’ve never heard the term, chances are you’re already extremely familiar with them. So here’s the quick and simple answer: A meta description is the short block of text that appears on search engine results pages under each website link. Many people (perhaps you included) skim these meta descriptions when trying to decide if a website link is worth clicking on, and for this reason it’s extremely important that you equip your financial institution with a meta description that effectively drives traffic to your site.
Arguably the most important step in writing an effective meta description is also the most ironic one: Ignore the word “description.” Too often people see this word and proceed to write an informative sentence about their bank or credit union – when in fact they should be approaching the meta description as a sales pitch for their website. This distinction is important. For instance, here’s what a meta description might look like when approached simply as a “description”:
ABC Bank has been serving the financial needs of its customers since 1972 – providing a full range of products and services along with trusted guidance.
Conversely, here’s what a meta description might look like when approached as a sales pitch:
Discover how ABC Bank can lead you to financial success! Click to view rates, products, services and our comprehensive financial resource center.
If you’re like most people, you probably found the second example to be much more compelling than the first. Here’s why:
•It starts with a verb. Beginning the statement with a verb instantly inspires action and encourages people to click on your website link.
•It answers the all-too-important question, “What’s in it for me?” By informing readers that ABC Bank can lead them to financial success, prospective accountholders are motivated to learn more.
•It succinctly lists the information found on the website. People don’t want to waste time going to your website if it doesn’t contain the information they’re searching for. A brief list of content captures their interest and wipes away any hesitation they may have about clicking your website link.
•It is less than 155 characters. You’ve probably seen meta descriptions that trail off at the end with an ellipsis. This is because the description exceeds the available space. Prevent this from happening to you by sticking to 155 characters or less.
For more information about writing effective meta descriptions, check out Ramesh Ranjan’s article, “How to Write an Effective Meta Description (Yes, They Still Matter).” And don’t forget to share your meta description tips and tricks in the comments section below!