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Month: December 2014

Writing Killer Meta Descriptions

So, how do you unleash a click-through-compelling meta description?

Be Descriptive. The language in your meta description should introduce the user to what the page is about. In general terms, sketch out the page’s content. If the user is going to the trouble of clicking on it, he or she wants to make sure that the page really is about what they are interested in.

Be Persuasive. Great meta descriptions involve a touch of the persuasive. To get clicks, go ahead and tug a little bit. Some SEOs advocate using a call-to-action in the description. I’m not convinced that this is necessary; I do, however, recommend that you create a meta description that invites a response, even if it doesn’t directly call for it.

Inspire Curiosity. One of the most persuasive things you can do with your meta is to spark curiosity. This is particularly true for informational queries (as opposed to transactional queries). By the time a user finishes reading your description, they should be curious about what the page will say about the topic. You need to provide just enough information to explain what the page is about but not so much that it ruins the curiosity factor.

Use The Right Words. The keywords may not matter for search engines, but they do matter for users. In order to be compelled to click, the user needs to see relevant words. These words should be associated with his or her query. The right words in the right places make the difference between a SERP entry that gets overlooked, and a SERP entry that gets a click.

Make Them The Correct Length. If you write a meta description that is too long, Google will truncate it. The standard accepted length is 159 characters long.

Website Ranking (Positioning) Doesn’t Matter

You’ve probably heard this before: “We don’t care about ranking. Traffic is what we measure.” While there is truth in this, it’s also a bit deceptive.

Sure, there is no true top 10 anymore. With geo-location, personalization, and other factors, you can no longer pull up a definite top 10 and know you are seeing what anyone else is seeing.

In fact, my agency no longer calls it ranking, we call it positioning because ranking has definite numeric order and stop and end points where positioning is a more loosely defined placement within the SERPs.

That being said, and as much as relevant, converting traffic is the most important metric when measuring the ROI of you investment dollars, the difference between 1st and 5th and 5th and 10thgreatly affects the flow and amount of that traffic, so even if we can’t be sure how everyone is seeing the site in the SERPs, we can have a good idea of the opportunities for traffic increases and where drops and where these are happening if we follow the keyword positions.

Position does matter. Rankings maybe not.

SEO Isn’t Voodoo

Remember a few years back when SEO was considered “voodoo” or “black magic” by anyone who didn’t understand it?

Really, SEO is based on the rules of a mathematical algorithm. This means the site meets or doesn’t, certain points on a mathematical scorecard and your site is then adjusted accordingly.

Though we haven’t been given these rules by the search engines, we can test against the algorithm and do things we know work because a + b = c. Math is predictable, testable, and somewhat verifiable.

So yes, even though Google does still suggest that SEO is… well, um, “bovine feces” – it really isn’t. As long as you’re doing it right.

If You Build it, They Will Come

This is a favourite mantra of the content marketing. Just build an amazing website with even more amazing content and watch the traffic roll on in.

Really? Well, no.

If it were that easy, all SEO professionals would be writers or out of work. Unfortunately, while great writing and great content is a large part of SEO and something your site definitely needs, it also needs links, a strong technical base, fast page downloads, and the list goes on and on.

Create content, but other SEO tactics are needed unless you want to be sitting all alone in a big field.