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5 Meta Description Tips To Help Your Content Get the Clicks



5 Meta Description Tips To Help Your Content Get the Clicks

In its early days, USA Today was dubbed “McPaper” for its very short stories.

Unlike their peers at other newspapers, USA Today reporters had to digest big news into just a few paragraphs. Many in the profession criticized USA Today articles for their brevity. But I think those critics missed the talent required to synthesize and write concise copy.

It’s a skill that content marketers can appreciate, especially now that every piece of digital content needs a meta description. Our task is even more difficult than the one USA Today journalists face. We must summarize the content – no matter how long it is – in 156 characters.

And meta descriptions can’t just be short – they also have to compel readers to action. They’re one of just two factors searchers use to decide if your content is worth their precious click. (The other is the title or headline).

I’ll share some tricks for packing the biggest punch into a tiny space. First, though, let’s look at a few real-world examples.

Meta descriptions need to pack a big punch in a tiny space, says @AnnGynn via @CMIContent. #ContentMarketing Click To Tweet

A look at real meta descriptions

I know you know what they look like on SERPs, but I wanted to provide a visual reminder. So, I snapped the results from a search for “what are meta descriptions.” Yep, it’s a meta example.

(Of course, I can’t be sure each of these is the meta description. Google ultimately decides what appears in the results. It might choose a snippet from the page if it thinks the meta description as detailed in the HTML tag isn’t a good assessment of the content. But for the purposes of this article, let’s assume they are meta descriptions.)

The image shows four search results, each with meta descriptions below the page title.

The image shows four search results, each with meta descriptions below the page title. Each description ends with an ellipsis to indicate there’s more text ready to read. Interestingly, the visible descriptions are less than and more than 156 characters, so if you’re writing a meta description that you hope Google will use and fit in total, go for fewer than 156 characters or put the most important text early in the sentence.

Here’s how to make the most of the words that do fit.

1. Consider the searcher (aka why would someone search for this content?)

Think about why your audience would search for this topic. First, identify the targeted keywords for the article – this helps you understand who the target search audience is.

For example, consider Search Engine Journal’s meta description (for its article on how to create meta descriptions): “The meta description is an HTML tag that provides search engines and searchers a description of what the page is about.”

While BrightEdge describes its page this way: “A meta description is the information about your page that appears in the search engine results below the title/URL of the page.”

Both explain a meta description. However, by using the phrase “HTML tag,” Search Engine Journal indicates its page serves an audience that wants to learn about SEO technicalities. On the other hand, BrightEdge wrote its article for a more general audience, which makes sense because it targets general marketers.

Make sure your meta description fits your targeted searcher’s intent.

2. Include keywords, even if they’re already in the headline and SEO title

You’ll find plenty of writing advice that says you should avoid repeating a word in one sentence that was used in the previous sentence. You might interpret that counsel to mean that you should avoid repetition in your title and meta description. Please don’t.

Crafting a compelling meta description isn’t about the perfect flow. It’s about getting people to read and click on your content. That often takes a more promotional approach.

Crafting a compelling meta description isn’t about the perfect flow. It’s about getting people to read and click on your #content, says @AnnGynn via @CMIContent. #SEO Click To Tweet


3. Entice the click – unless you don’t want one

It can seem like there are only two options for a meta description:

  • Answer the search query directly
  • Give just enough to pique searchers’ curiosity, so they click the link to read the full story on your website

If your sole purpose is to deliver the answer, answer the query directly (but expect fewer clicks). If you only want clicks, take the curiosity route.

In most cases, it’s probably best not to go one way or the other. Consider a combined approach for your meta description – give an answer (even if it isn’t the answer) and still pique their interest to read more.

You can do this by writing a meta description that explains what they will get when they choose to read your content as opposed to anyone else’s.

Use your meta description to explain why searchers should read your #content (rather than any of the other options on the SERP, says @AnnGynn via @CMIContent. #SEO Click To Tweet

Let’s look at the HubSpot meta description as it appears on the search results page for the query “what are meta descriptions”: “Apr 28, 2022 — A meta description is the snippet of information below the blue link of a search result. Its purpose is to describe the contents of the page to …”

Its meta description reads much like every other result. But if you click through to the article, you’ll find it provides examples to go along with the basic explanation. What if HubSpot revised its meta to be specific to its content and differentiate itself from the rest?

“Apr 28, 2022 – A meta description is the snippet below the blue link of a search result. In these examples, see how they describe the contents of a page …”

See the difference? Now, the searcher knows they’ll find examples of meta descriptions if they click on the HubSpot link.


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4. What about including the company name in the meta description?

If your company has sufficient brand recognition and awareness in your industry, use its name in the meta description (or title). It brings a credibility factor that other results may not.

In the SERP screenshot I included above, HubSpot, Google, and BrightEdge use their names in their page titles. In some cases, that’s not feasible. Perhaps you need the real estate to capture the article better, or maybe your organization’s name is long.

The latter is the issue for the Content Marketing Institute – it’s 27 characters. Though CMI has good brand recognition, it’s not so valuable that it’s worth taking more than one-third of the recommended title length. Instead, we include the name in meta descriptions when we can, usually at the end (“ – Content Marketing Institute”) since it’s not the most important part of the description but could be seen and helpful to some degree.

5. Don’t avoid punctuation, even though it counts toward the 156 characters

It can be tempting to save every possible character for words. In most cases, you should avoid that practice. Searchers scan the results to understand the context of the content – they rarely read the meta description word for word at first glance. So make it easy to understand at a glance.

As you write, think about how the description will appear. Is it easy to pick up the keywords and points when scanning? Or would searchers have to read closely to get the gist? If it’s the latter, rewrite it using fewer words and more sentences or breaks.

Adding a little breathing room to your description also helps it stand out among a sea of results – especially those that seem to cram in everything possible.

Bring the power to your meta descriptions

Compelling meta descriptions benefit from powerful writing more than most content elements.

To power up yours, avoid (or at least limit):

  • First-person references
  • Weasel words
  • Qualifiers
  • Intensifiers
  • Prepositions
  • Passive phrases (which almost always consume more characters than active ones)

By adopting the “McPaper” mindset, you can serve up nuggets of meta descriptions designed to sate your target searcher’s appetite.

How do you approach writing meta descriptions? Share what works for you in the comments.

Want more content marketing tips, insights, and examples? Subscribe to workday or weekly emails from CMI.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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What is Employee Engagement? [+11 Data-Backed Benefits and Strategies]



What is Employee Engagement? [+11 Data-Backed Benefits and Strategies]

If you’re playing along with buzzword bingo, you’ve heard the term “employee engagement.” But it would be a mistake to dismiss it as just a buzzword. Ignoring engagement costs the global economy 8.1 trillion dollars each year, according to a study by Gallup.


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How Can You Improve Your Blog’s Content with a Paraphrasing Tool?



How Can You Improve Your Blog’s Content with a Paraphrasing Tool?

Paraphrasing tools are getting extremely popular, especially among bloggers. The reason is that these tools allow them to rewrite some of the old stuff with very high accuracy.

Uniqueness is the most important factor that determines the search engine ranking of your website. Most search engines determine the worth of your site by looking at the content that you post.

This is why you need to make sure the material you write in your blog contains zero plagiarism. For this purpose, you can use paraphrasing tools. These tools allow you to come up with unique ideas, words, and phrases that you incorporate into your blog to increase readability as well as reader engagement.

What is a Paraphrasing Tool?

A paraphrasing tool can be used to generate new text to explain existing ideas, concepts, or themes. These tools take minutes to convert your old text into an entirely new form having new phrases, words, and synonyms while keeping the original theme intact.

These tools improve the readability, grammar, and other key aspects of your text to make it coherent and consistent. These tools use AI technology to make your content unique and to improve the tone, style, and other features.

There are many reasons to use these tools and in this next section we will take a look at some of these

1. Complete Analysis of Your Content

Before rephrasing your content, these tools analyze it completely to determine a few key things. These include word count, readability, spelling and grammar mistakes, and the main theme and tone of the content.

This complete analysis allows these tools to generate highly accurate content that you can post on your blog without fearing plagiarism.

These tools are very accurate when analyzing your content and that allows you to trust these completely to perform paraphrasing for you.

2. Changing Content Tone

The tone of your content is what separates it from others and engages your audience. Paraphrasing tools can rewrite your material while giving it a pleasant and consistent tone.

These tools can make adjustments that make your content easy to read, understand, and digest. By working on the tone of your text, these tools make it SEO-friendly which leads to better search engine ranking.

3. Better Content Flow

When writing content for your SEO or blogs, you need to make it seem like it’s connected and flowing in a consistent manner. Writing about different stuff randomly makes it seem all over the place which leaves a bad impression on your readers.

Paraphrasing tools can help you improve the flow of information that you provide in your content. This makes it more concise and understandable.

Some Ways in Which Paraphrasing Tools Can Improve Your Blogs

Paraphrasing tools are really a blessing for bloggers and general content writers. These tools save time and offer very high accuracy.

Here are some of the main ways in which such tools can help you write plagiarism-free blogs

1. Replacing Words with Synonyms

The main reason these tools are effective is that they offer a number of synonyms for every word in the content. You can use these tools to replace single words, phrases, sentences, or even paragraphs.

The paraphrase online turns your entire text into something new which makes it free from plagiarism of every type.

2. Improve Spellings and Grammar

Paraphrasing tools improve the grammatical errors and inconsistencies in your original text. These tools highlight lines that need to be changed and you can use some other tool to eliminate these errors.

These tools also identify and remove spelling mistakes as well. The final content that you get from these tools is immaculate in every way. It is consistent with the main theme and each sentence flows from the last one.

3. Save Time and Energy

Paraphrasing without a tool can take so much of your time and energy. You need to consult various sources to learn new words and ideas to incorporate into your text which is very time-consuming.

Paraphrasing tools help you save a lot of time by rewriting more than 1000 words in a matter of a few minutes. Doing this yourself can take several hours which you can spend on something more important.

4. Cost-Effective

Hiring content writers to write unique content for your blog is quite expensive. You have to spend a lot if you hire someone else to rewrite content for you and there is still no guarantee that the contest will be plagiarism-free.

You can find several free paraphrasing tools online to do that for you. These tools require no registration or login which means you can just go online and convert the text instantly.

5. Creative Writing

Most paraphrasing tools can help you write creative content. These tools take your words and phrases as prompts and use AI to write creative material that you can post on your blog.

This is especially helpful for a writer suffering from writer’s block. These tools can inspire them to look at things from a different perspective. This improves their skill as a writer and enhances the quality of their content.

Final Thoughts:

So, these are some of the few ways in which paraphrasing tools can help you improve the content of your blogs. These tools can help you write better material that has zero grammatical errors and is more engaging.

Without these tools, you will only be wasting your time and money with little to get in return. Paraphrasing tools are being used both by academic and non-academic persons who often find it hard to rewrite stuff due to having limited vocabulary and a grasp of grammar.

Now you know what are some of the major benefits of using paraphrasing tools when writing content for your blogs. These tools can lead to better content for your blogs that is both search engine friendly and engaging.

We hope this stuff helps and we suggest you to use these tools for improving your skills as a blog writer.      

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The keys to digital marketing transformation



The keys to digital marketing transformation

As digital marketers face a rapidly growing market and higher competition, the structure and effectiveness of paid advertising campaigns become more complex. Optimization, visibility and improving processes matter now more than ever.

But, it can be easy to lose visibility over what needs to be done and how those campaigns perform. This can lead to subpar results and a lack of understanding of how to improve your next campaigns. 

In this informative SMX Advanced session, Nadiia Sharipova from Wrike, now part of Citrix, addresses three keys to digital marketing transformation:

  1. Why optimization and visibility matter
  2. How to reduce your competition in key areas
  3. Critical processes that help improve CRO

Join the session to learn better visibility and workflow for your search engine initiatives, how companies like Hootsuite optimized their workflows to reduce complexity and the essential tools and strategies you need to do your best work. 

After watching the presentation, you’ll be able to:

  • Identify pitfalls negatively impacting your search campaigns 
  • Discover solutions for establishing better visibility over assets and results 
  • Streamline SEM/PPC campaign workflows and optimize collaboration

About The Author

Wrike, the world’s most versatile collaborative work management solution, has transformed the way marketing teams work together. Bringing everyone into a single digital workspace makes it easy to monitor progress, identify dependencies, and keep collaboration and projects on track. With Wrike, marketers can increase agility and velocity by automating workflows to achieve aggressive growth goals. Create and launch complex, integrated campaigns at scale across multiple channels and geographies knowing you’re maintaining visual brand consistency and quality. Improve external and internal customer experience no matter how complex your campaigns are or how many marketing channels you’re operating. Wrike accelerates creative production, increases on-time delivery, and makes maintaining brand consistency easier. 

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