Everything You Need to Know About Writing Meta Descriptions

first_img Originally published Mar 13, 2019 8:05:00 PM, updated March 14 2019 To echo Sullivan’s insight, above, there is no perfect length to meta descriptions, because the length displayed depends on how “useful” Google considers each description. However, staying within 155-160 characters will ensure your meta description isn’t cut off with a mysterious ellipsis (learn more about that in the following section).Meta Description ExamplesJust as there isn’t a perfect length for meta descriptions, there isn’t a perfect meta description, either. What you write in your meta description depends entirely on the topic of your article, blog post, or webpage.Of course, just because there isn’t such a thing as a perfect meta description doesn’t mean there aren’t good models for how to write your own. Here are a few meta description examples — the good and the bad.Good Meta Descriptions1. The entire keyword is included in the meta description.Keyword: “how to plant a tree”Meta descriptions are not an official ranking factor in Google search results, which means what you put here doesn’t directly affect your ranking. However, they do affect how many clicks you get, which does affect your ranking. Including your entire keyword in the meta description can tell people right away that your webpage answers their question.2. The meta description teases the answer to a question.Keyword: “best time to plant a tree”While some good meta descriptions incorporate the entire keyword to get people’s attention, others can do so by adding an element of mystery to entice their audience to learn more. In the example above, readers know the answer is related to seasons, but they don’t yet know which season is best for planting.Bad Meta Descriptions1. The meta description is too hard to follow.Keyword: “how to plant a tree”Meta descriptions like the one above simply don’t use time wisely — the short time they have to convince a reader to click on their content. In the example above, the text opens with an “old axiom,” but it’s hard to immediately understand the connection it’s making with how to plant a tree.2. The meta description is too long to appear in full.Keyword: “best time to plant a tree”This is one of the most common misfortunes in SEO, and many times it’s out of our control. If your meta description is deemed too long for Google’s liking, it may get cut off, and the tail end of a sentence can get replaced with an ellipsis (“…”) that can cost you a searcher’s interest in clicking through. Remember, 155-160 characters (including spaces) or less is best.Picking an SEO-Friendly Meta DescriptionFor every blog, webpage, and piece of copy we write, we follow the best practice of creating a corresponding meta description. Now that you know why you should write a meta description, here’s the how.1. Write compelling content.Write a short sentence previewing the content or telling the searcher why they should read your post. Give them a clear benefit of clicking through and reading your post, if necessary. This is your chance to sell them on what you have to offer: informative, valuable content.2. Use one or two keywords in your meta description.You might already include keywords in a webpage’s body copy and title. But the meta description should also include keywords that help describe the content of the webpage. Focus on one or two unique keywords in the meta description of each webpage you publish. Don’t stuff these keywords anywhere you can — make sure they fit naturally and help explain what people can expect to see if they click on your link.3. Aim for 155-160 characters.I know I said the number of characters that make up your meta description is important, and it is. But when actually displaying this meta data, Google doesn’t measure by characters — it measures by pixels. That is, it’ll cut off a meta description after a certain width. The reason we say 155-160 characters is to give marketers a benchmark to abide by.4. Eliminate “non-alphanumeric” characters.Ampersands (&), plus signs (+), em-dashes (—), and other special characters might appear just fine on your computer screen, but search engines can’t read these symbols as easily. These are known as “non-alphanumeric” characters, and you should avoid using them in your meta descriptions. Some of them don’t appear in search results the way you intend for them to. Others can ruin the entire snippet: Any time double quotation marks are used in a meta description, for instance, Google removes it from the search result.To sum up the makings of a truly powerful meta descriptions, I’ll leave the final words to Google:”Use quality descriptions … make sure your descriptions are truly descriptive. Because the meta descriptions aren’t displayed in the pages the user sees, it’s easy to let this content slide. But high-quality descriptions can be displayed in Google’s search results, and can go a long way to improving the quality and quantity of your search traffic.” – Google Meta descriptions — sounds complicated, right? If someone asked me about a meta description two years ago, I would’ve assumed they were trying to talk nerdy to me. It sounds like code, and way over a marketer’s head.I’m happy to report that’s not the case.Meta descriptions, despite their reputation, can be broken down in a fairly simple way. The more content you create and the further you dig into inbound marketing, the more you’ll discover how important meta descriptions are to the traffic and leads you expect your content to generate.Access Now: 22 SEO Myths to Leave Behind This YearWhat is a meta description?A meta description is the brief snippet of text that appears below the blue link in a search engine result. This description summarizes the content of the webpage linked above it, and although it is not an official ranking factor in Google search results, it can be edited to encourage people to click through to the webpage.A meta description is basically what helps the searcher decide whether or not to click the link to an article or webpage. A meta description helps convince or persuade readers to choose your site. Oh, and the bolded words within a meta description — as shown in the screenshot below — indicate which words match those in the search query. Nothing too complicated, right?Do I Really Need a Meta Description?Now that we’re on the same page and you know what a meta description is, let’s answer another common question: Do you really need one? The short answer is yes. Here’s why:1. Increases Clickthrough Rates & Visits from Organic SearchThere might be 10 blue links per search engine results page (SERP), but they don’t all get clicked by an equal number of people. The higher up the result ranks, the more people who will see it and, in turn, click on it. To get your result to rank well, however, you need people to start clicking on it. Meta descriptions are your opportunity to entice people to click on your link instead of someone else’s.2. Gives the Right People the Right Information at the Right TimeAlthough meta descriptions do not directly influence your website’s rank on Google, they can benefit you when people conduct an Advanced Search. These types of searches allow searchers to enter more criteria for what words they want the results that follow to include. These criteria are known to affect your meta description, and can therefore determine if your webpage shows up at all.3. Increases Visits from SocialGoogle isn’t the only website that displays your meta description when you publish a piece of content. Social networks like Facebook use what’s called an “open graph” to present the most important data on your webpage when you share it with your followers. This open graph includes a meta description. In other words, your meta description doesn’t just drive search engine traffic (also known as organic traffic) — it drives social media traffic, too.Meta Description LengthThe ideal length of your meta descriptions is, well, not so lengthy: no more than 160 characters, including spaces. But that ideal length has also changed somewhat in the last few years.In December of 2017, SEO experts all over the world noticed something different about how much meta text Google’s search results were producing on each results page. Results were increasingly showing upwards of 300-character meta descriptions. Marketers took notice and began to adapt, but not before Google’s Danny Sullivan confirmed a retraction from the change it originally made: Topics: Our search snippets are now shorter on average than in recent weeks, though slightly longer than before a change we made last December. There is no fixed length for snippets. Length varies based on what our systems deem to be most useful.— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) May 14, 2018center_img The ExceptionAs I get older — and wiser, hopefully — I find there is an exception to every rule. Meta descriptions are no different. As I’ve noted above, conventional logic agrees it’s wise to write a good meta description for any given page.But for webpages that are targeting three or more major keywords, according to Moz, your best bet might be to let Google’s artificial intelligence extract the text it thinks is most relevant for a meta description. After all, you can’t address all three keywords in the same meta description, and there is always some risk that Google doesn’t care what you put in your content management system’s meta description box.If you have a page that lists several articles (think a blog or newsletter archive, or something like “your cart” if you’re ecommerce), it might be okay to forego the meta description. When in doubt, spend time writing an engaging sentence or two, and feel confident the right people will find the right information from you, at the right time. On-page SEO Don’t forget to share this post!last_img read more

Sarfaraz Ahmed retained as Pakistan captain, Babar Azam named vice-captain for Sri Lanka series

first_imgSarfaraz Ahmed retained as Pakistan captain, Babar Azam named vice-captain for Sri Lanka seriesBabar Azam has been named as vice-captain for Pakistan for the home series against Sri Lanka, which will be held from 27 September to 9 October whereas Sarfaraz Ahmed has been retained as captain.advertisement India Today Web Desk KarachiSeptember 13, 2019UPDATED: September 13, 2019 19:36 IST Sarfaraz Ahmed has been retained as Pakistan captain for Sri Lanka series. (AP Photo)HIGHLIGHTSSarfaraz Ahmed has retained Pakistan captaincy for limited overs home series against Sri LankaBabar Azam has been named as vice-captainSri Lanka tour of Pakistan is in jeopardy after the SLC board was warned over terrorist threatsSarfaraz Ahmed has been retained as Pakistan captain while Babar Azam has been named as vice-captain for three ODI and three T20I home series against Sri Lanka, following recommendations made by Pakistan head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq and the PCB Cricket Committee.PCB chairman Ehsan Mani confirmed the appointments. Azam had previously captained Pakistan in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2012. He has been a regular member of the senior side since 2015.In April 2016, Sarfaraz was appointed Pakistan captain for the T20Is before being elevated as ODI captain in early 2017. He was then named captain across all formats following the 2017 tour of the West Indies. To date, Sarfaraz has captained Pakistan in 13 Tests, 48 ODIs and 34 T20Is, winning four, 26 and 29 matches respectively.Babar Azam is ranked 16th in Tests, third in ODIs and No.1 in T20Is, and has previously captained Pakistan in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2012. He had also featured in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2010 before breaking into international cricket in 2015 and since has been a regular feature of the side in all formats.Sarfaraz Ahmed said: “I feel humbled and honoured to have been awarded extension to my captaincy term. I have enjoyed captaining the Pakistan cricket team and look forward to improve my leadership qualities under the new set-up of Misbah-ul-Haq who also has a proven record as captain.”I have played most of my cricket under Misbah and we know each other pretty well. I think we will make a good combination, which will contribute to improved performances of the side across all formats.advertisement”I am aware we have not done justice to our potential in ODIs, which has disappointed us as well as our fans. I am hopeful we will be able to turn things around in the coming season and in this relation, I remain committed to stepping up to the challenge with my performances and captaincy.”I have complete faith in my team, which has time and again shown the talent, class and charisma it possesses. The only thing missing has been consistency, which Misbah and I would like to focus and improve across all departments of the game. I assure all our fans we will not leave any stone unturned in our preparations for the forthcoming assignments and will do our best to translate these preparations into solid performances.”For sports news, updates, live scores and cricket fixtures, log on to indiatoday.in/sports. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for Sports news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byAnita Jat Tags :Follow Sarfaraz AhmedFollow Misbah-Ul-HaqFollow Babar Azam Nextlast_img read more

Womens swimming Ohio State faces first conference opponent of season

The OSU women’s swimming team takes off during a meet against Ohio Nov. 9 at McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion. Credit: Lantern file photoAfter a successful weekend at the University of Cincinnati, the Ohio State women’s swimming team is looking forward to another road trip this Friday to face conference opponent Michigan State, followed by a home meet against Akron and Pittsburgh on Saturday.After competing in their fair share of races against teams outside of their conference this month, the Buckeyes are looking forward to getting a taste of some Big Ten competition on Friday.“It’s going to be a really good opportunity to have team building, and hopefully come back with a few wins,” senior Taylor Vargo said. “Michigan State is a Big Ten team, and it’s always exciting to go and compete against someone that we’re going to be competing against at the end of the season.”In addition to racing the Spartans, Vargo said she and her teammates are looking forward to their nonconference competition on Saturday as well. The team will race the MAC champions, Akron, and Pittsburgh from the ACC, so the weekend will be full of good competition, Vargo said.A change of scenery can prove to be rather challenging at times, but is necessary in preparing them for the future.“Away meets are necessary in helping us develop adjustment methods when swimming in facilities other than our own,” said senior Chantel Wynn. “It’s always nice to swim in our own pool, but I think it’s important to swim away once in a while heading into Big Ten’s at Purdue.”Wynn and her teammates are also using this away meet as an opportunity to spend more time team building before their trip to Purdue next month for the Big Ten Conference Tournament.“Traveling back and forth in a small period of time can be a little tough,” junior Meg Bailey said, “but we treat that time on the bus as more than transportation, but as time to bond as a team.”Aside from the challenge of traveling back and forth, the team looks at the meets this weekend as additional opportunities to improve their skills, techniques, and individual times before the conference tournament.“Every chance you get to race is an opportunity to perfect something or work on something that needs to be done before Big Ten’s,” Vargo said. “Each meet is just a practice run for our Big Ten meet.”Wynn explained their aspirations as a team for Friday and Saturday.“This weekend, our goal is to carry out each of our race plans, hone in on our technique, support each other, and have some fun,” Wynn said. “As we head into conference, I am confident that our team will execute with increased focus and excitement. Get ready to see some fast swims.” The competition on Friday is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m., while Saturday’s competition is scheduled to begin at 12 p.m. read more