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What does the optimal meta-description look like?

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)
To be technologically precise, it is important to note that the maximum length of a meta-description is not defined by the amount of characters, but based on pixel width. You have a width of ∼ 500 pixels available for your meta-description.

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:

Optimised meta-description of the homepage of tintenalarm.de

Optimised meta-description of the homepage of tintenalarm.de

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.

Remember

Die The meta-description (and title) are the first points of contact of your website with the searcher. You should therefore make an effort to encourage the searcher to click on your result.

Tool for your meta-description optimisation

SISTRIX SERP Snippet-Generator

SERP Snippet-Generator

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?

https://www.youtube.com/embed/THYguer_JrM

Tweaking the meta-description and title of your websites URLs could improve your click-through-rate.

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