Since Google does not draw on the content of the meta-description when calculating the ranking in the SERPs, the “optimal” meta-description is often in the eye of the beholder, or rather the searcher, as the meta-description is their first indicator of what the website is about.
Due to this the meta-description of a website can be beneficial to the CTR (click-through-rate) of searchers and should therefore be selected with care.
To make the most of your meta-description in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) you should stick to the following “rules”:
- do not use more than 156 characters (incl. spaces)
- more than 156 characters will be truncated by (…)
- if the website contains a “published on” date or a product listing (1-25 of 250) it is highly likely that this information will show up at the beginning of the meta-description
- if this is the case, it is advisable to use no more than 139 characters (incl. spaces)
Best practice examples of a optimised meta-description
The meta-description should be created as a brief content summary, while keeping to the AIDA-principle (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action). Every page (URL) should have a unique meta-description.
Here is an example:
What does AIDA mean and how can I use the AIDA-principle?
- [ATTENTION] The first sentence “cheaply buy printer cartridges” piques the searcher’s interest. The usage of the checkmark “✓” evokes a subconscious encouragement and subjectively strengthens the central message of the sentence.
- [INTEREST] The second sentence, “cheaply buy printer cartridges & ink cartridges from the test winning tintenalarm.de” prompts the (buying-)interest.
- [DESIRE] & [ACTION] The third and last sentence “more than 500,000 happy customers!” triggers the desire and, at best, the action/click of the searcher.
Tool for your meta-description optimisation
Optimise the title and the meta-description of your page to generate as many clicks for your search result as possible. The SERP Snippet-Generator gives you a preview of how other users see your page in the search results.
Video explanation by Matt Cutts / Google on this subject
Should I tweak my titles and descriptions to improve my CTR?
Tweaking the meta-description and title of your websites URLs could improve your click-through-rate.