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8 Tips to Writing Killer Meta Descriptions to Increase Your CTR

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8 Tips to Writing Killer Meta Descriptions to Increase Your CTR

There are two ways to get more people to your website – the first is by improving your rank in the search engines, and the second is by improving your click-through rate (CTR). While most people focus on the former, the latter can yield huge payoffs, especially considering how little effort they require.

Here are eight killer strategies to increase your CTR that I’ve collected over the years.

1. Copy Paid Ads

Most SEO’s don’t like paid ads because they need to pay for traffic, however there is a lot to learn from the PPC space and this is one that applies to everyone.

What most people don’t realize is people who runs paid ads are constantly testing (at least those who know what they are doing). And when they’re done testing, they test more. This means that their ads are optimized.

Furthermore, since there are only so many characters you can put in a Google Ad, you better bet the keywords they are putting in are ones that are important to the customer.

Example:

In the example below, two ads mention the word “payment plans”. It sounds like having a flexible payment plan might be important for someone who is looking for a dentist, so I’d start adding it to your meta description if you’re a dentist.

Paid Ads 1

Another example is for a home inspector. They mention Thermal Imaging. I don’t know much about home inspections but this sounds like another feature people looking for home inspectors could be interested in.

Paid Ads 2

You see within two to three minutes we’ve already found some key phrases that will boost our CTR, and best of all you can do this with EVERY niche.

2. Copy Your Organic Competitors

You’ve copied the paid ads now, but don’t stop there. Copy your organic competitors too (not word for word, of course). Find out what kind of buzz words or phrases they have that you can incorporate. What benefits or features are they emphasizing?

Remember, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel all the time. There are nine other listings on the first page that I’m sure have something you can take away from.

3. Invoke Curiosity

People are naturally curious, and if you can peak their curiosity, you’ll get them to click. A good example is the “you’ll never guess what happens next…” line we always see on Facebook. Sure it’s overused, but it’s overused for a reason – because it works! You can also use less click-baity titles that still invoke curiosity.

Facebook Curiosity Post

At it’s core, lines like these work because you’re curious what actually happens next. That line doesn’t always work as a meta description, but there are a ton of other ways to get people wondering.

Some go-to examples we use at our agency are:

  • “Find Out How…”
  • “Discover How…”
  • “Ever wondered…”
  • “What would you do if…?”

4. Features Tell, Benefits Sell

Here’s another one stolen from working a lot with Adwords. In fact, Perry Marshall, one of the most well-known online marketing strategists, taught me this one.

He recommends you start your ads with benefits, followed by features. Again, if it works with Adwords, there’s no reason why it wouldn’t work as a meta description.

Remember, benefits demonstrate what your customers can gain (i.e. Make more money, Have sparkling white teeth), while features are distinct attributes of your business (i.e. Free Consult, Certified Home Inspector)

5. Use Numbers

Using numbers in titles is a highly effective way to get clicks. This applies not only to meta descriptions, but it generates clicks whether you’re using Adwords, Facebook, YouTube…you name it.

Here’s an example, which title are you more likely to click on?

“Learn how to get more backlinks to your website”

“Learn how to get 26 backlinks in 32 minutes by sending only 60 emails”

I hope you chose option two.

The reason why the second option is so much more enticing is because it’s more specific, and using numbers helps you achieve that.

Here’s another example for the search “Improve SEO”. The top five sites use specific numbers in either the title or meta description.

Numbers in Titles/Description

In case you hadn’t noticed, I also used numbers in the title of this post 😉

6. Mention Your USP

Your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) is what makes you different from your competitors. Put it down if you have one (which you should).

Maybe it’s that you offer free shipping, or your CEO is a Nobel Prize winner. Whatever it is, you need to make that distinction early on to separate you from the pack.

Consider this example. Zappos’ USP is that they are the most convenient and consumer friendly online store for buying shoes. They’ve managed to achieve this by providing free shipping AND returns. That means customers can pick up five pairs of shoes to try on and return four if they don’t like.

When I made a quick search for “winter boots”, Zappos was the first one to show up and guess what, right away they highlighted their USP in both the title and description.

Zappos

Any consumer searching for winter boots already sees how Zappos is different, and that’s why they’ve done so well as a company.

7. Use Your Keywords

We’ve talked a lot about getting more clicks by writing an enticing description, but don’t forget to put your keyword in there. If your page is meant to rank for the term “dental implants Toronto”, then make sure to use that same phrase in your meta description. Of course, don’t keyword stuff it but sprinkle it in, as this will help you rank higher.

Another added benefit of using your keywords is that it gets highlighted in Google. This helps the searcher see that your page is relevant to what they are searching for and more likely to lead to a click.

use keywords

8. Mix & Match

The best part about all the tips I’ve laid out above is that you can combine them and use them all at once (or as many as you can fit into 160 characters). Mix and match them and track your CTR in your analytics to see what works for your business and what doesn’t. SEO is an ongoing process that you will keep learning from over time. So track your results, keep tweaking, and keep improving!

I hope these points inspire you to polish up your meta descriptions and help skyrocket your CTR. Have any tips on writing meta descriptions that weren’t covered here? Please share in the comments below.

 

Image Credits

Featured Image: ShutterStock
All screenshots taken April 2015

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Hin Lai

Hin Lai

Founder and CEO at Search Highway

Hin is the mastermind behind the digital agency Search Highway where they help local businesses grow their online presence. In ... [Read full bio]

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