Meta descriptions are often over looked, even SEOmoz have theirs automated, Meta descriptions are annoying, you finish a blog post that has taken you a few days to write and then there is 150 is characters of hell left to go.
Meta Descriptions - The Basics
The Meta description sits within thetags of a page....yawn..
Length 155 is characters, slightly less if its a blog post due to the date stamp...stay with me..
Meta descriptions should be short and punchy, describing what the page is about and end in a strong call to action, for example "click here now d!$%head!" Only joking :)
Getting More Advanced
Ok so first of all we are going to construct a carefully crafted Meta description for ultimate click through. To set the scene lets say we have an online fruit shop and almost all revenue comes in via our award winning, hand picked apples and just for arguments sake all visits come through the homepage.
Now what? Now we break our product down into specific categories.
Category one (colour)
Category two (offer)
- buy one get one free
- buy 7 get 7 free
Category three (type)
- Granny Smith's
- Golden Delicious
- Pacific Rose
- Red Delicious
The lists go on..
Now we want to take our categories and start writing out 70 character descriptions; one about red apples, one about Granny Smiths apples, one about buying 7 aples and getting 7 apples free and so on.
So we take all our 70 character descriptions and and start running PPC campaigns and begin gathering the data!
Once we have gathered the data (this will depend on the amount traffic your keywords drive, it might take a day to gather the data or a month - it's your call) we what to see which ones performed the best in terms of click through and sale conversion, we might get something like this:
This is obviously a basic example and depending on your product you will likely have dozens of categories to choose from, in this case we can pull each category and prioritise it by conversion or CTR, in this case we might come up with something like this.
And I still have around 25 character to play with. yay!
Dynamic Meta Descriptions
I first read about these over at sharkseo and decided to give it a try and see if it works, I set up two separate test the first being with two separate Meta description tags and the second with two descriptions within the same tag.
I have had some success with the latter method where the Meta description in coming up as a partial match, this is good for for getting the keyword bolding effect within the SERPs but it's not ideal as it doesn't always read properly. The other, I actually tried on this site and so far it looks like Google has ignored the second tag all together.
I'd recommend doing this on your main money pages only.