So you want to learn how to write a captivating meta description? You’ve come to the right place! We understand that you’re trying to optimize your Shopify store so that you can drive traffic and make more sales.
Meta descriptions are an important part of SEO and are mandatory for improving your overall ranking on search engines.They might seem a little tricky at first, but the good news is that writing meta descriptions isn’t very hard at all!
Don't worry, we’ll teach you everything need to know.
Watch our Instructional Video
In this quick video, we'll tell you everything you need to know about meta descriptions and how to get started.
We'll also show you some actual examples of how other stores write their beautiful meta descriptions to rank higher on Google. Lastly, we'll cover where in the Shopify admin panel you can go to find these settings so you can start writing your meta descriptions.
What the heck is a Meta Description?
A meta description is a little description that appears on search results and lets people know what your page is all about. These descriptions appear under the title of a page. Meta descriptions often contain the keyword you’re trying to target.
When people search for a phrase or word into Google (or any other search engine) they are trying to find something. This may be to quench their curiosity about a product they need or want.
The entire goal of a meta description is to get people to click on you. Your page will most likely get clicked if you write a description that is full of information about your product or service.
For websites that offer services, they can use their meta description as a space to explain what they can do and how the person can benefit from reading their article.
If you were to Google your own Shopify store, you can see how your business appears in search results.
[caption id="attachment_985" align="alignnone" width="1024"] An example of search engine results for the term 'active wear.' Which description looks most attractive to you?[/caption]
Let’s look at an example. If we type in “active wear clothing” into Google, we’ll be confronted with a search results page. This search engine results page (SERP) lists lots of different companies that offer clothing for working out.
The bold blue words that stand out are called “Title Tags.” Underneath the url, you’ll see a short description explaining what you can expect to see on their site if you click on the link. This is the meta description. It can only contain 155 characters which means it needs to be short and sweet!
The Art of Clicking on a Home Page
Most people don’t even realize they are scanning and deciding on which link looks best to them, but that is exactly what they are doing. If you were to search for something on Google, you would look over the results and decide on which one to click on.
What made you click on that one over all the others? It might subconscious or well calculated, but most people will click on a listing because it looked like the best option.
More often than not this is because the listing offered more information than any of the other results.
It could also be that the listing was exactly what you were looking for. If you searched for “Coffee Beans” and found a store like Death Wish Coffee selling coffee beans online, you would probably click on them because you know you can buy what you’re looking for.
Meta descriptions are extremely short which means they can be tricky to write. You don’t have much space, so it’s important to get right to your selling point. You want the person reading your description to know exactly what you are trying to sell.
Analyzing a Real Life Meta Description
Let’s take a look at a real meta description for Tattly. All in all, it’s a total of sixteen words. They were able to compress everything their company stands for into one tiny sentence.
The description is short and to the point. It tells you exactly what the company is about, what they sell, where their designs come from, where the company is based and even addresses safety concerns. The words flow together and the overall message is communicated clearly in a way that anyone could understand they sell temporary tattoos.
[caption id="attachment_995" align="alignnone" width="1024"] This is the search result listing for Tattly, a Shopify store that sells temporary tattoos[/caption]
Immediately, you know right off the bat they are from Brooklyn, they sell fake tattoos made by artists and their tattoos are safe for everyone (including children).
They’ve used their keyword “fake tattoos” in their meta description which is ideal for ranking higher on search results.
The words “made by real artists” backs up the message that they’re an indie company that works one-on-one with artists. Also the word “non-toxic” positions them as an online store that cares about your health and creating products that don’t harm your skin.
[caption id="attachment_1001" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Image Credit: Tattly[/caption]
Simply put, they have a terrific copywriter!
The description looks simple because they spent a lot of time making their meta description easy to read. Creating amazing copy means you go the extra mile. Leave out everything that isn’t important! Basically, you need to get down to the meat and potatoes (the stuff that counts).
Notice how this description can be read with one quick glance? It only occupies one line. This is perfect for people scanning Google's search results page for temporary tattoos.
Meta Descriptions for Product Pages
The meta description for your product page should explain what your product is all about. When someone is browsing search results, and lands on your result, they should be able to read your description and quickly understand what you are trying to sell.
It’s important to remember that the person reading your description is a potential customer.
Use your meta description to tell your potential customer what kind of benefits they can reap from buying your product.
- Glow in the Dark Cat T-shirt - You’ll be the coolest person in town wearing this original cat t-shirt. Perfect gift for a child or adult!
- Non-stick Baking Pan - Never burn your pies! Create picture perfect baked goods that will impress your friends and family.
- Lightweight Yoga Mat - Carry it anywhere in the world with you! Perfect for traveling. Stay fit on the go! Now you can work out from the comfort of your own home and save money on gym memberships.
The goal is to convince your potential customer to click on your website. This means you need to use persuasive language.
How can your product make their life better? In the above examples the t-shirt will make them look more stylish, the baking pan will help them bake better, and the yoga mat will save the money.
How to Convince Your Customers You're The Best
So Worth Loving starts off their meta description by saying that the t-shirt is unisex and fits anyone. This is a great point because it tells the potential customer that they can buy this for a women or a man. By removing gender from the equation, you can increase your customer reach by 50%.
[caption id="attachment_993" align="alignnone" width="1024"] An example of a product page for So Worth Loving, a Shopify store that sells clothing with a positive message[/caption]
Another benefit of wearing this t-shirt is that it is cozy and it fits well. People want t-shirts that fit well and are made with a comfortable fabric. For these reasons, the t-shirt is probably made with a high-quality fabric such as 100% cotton.
Moreover, this t-shirt is decorated with beautiful typography that reads “You are so worth loving.” This t-shirt has a positive message that is going to make you feel better and remind you that you deserve to be loved.
They successfully use their meta description to persuade the potential customer that they need to buy this t-shirt because it will literally improve their life.
[caption id="attachment_997" align="alignnone" width="1024"] The actual 1995 Tee, just to give you a visual idea of the kind of product they sell (Image Credit: So Worth Loving)[/caption]
The end of the description keeps the reader interested and wondering how else this t-shirt will benefit them.
When writing meta descriptions for your product pages, make sure to list what makes your product different than the competition. The custom text on this t-shirt is unique and you can’t find this t-shirt anywhere else.
Each word counts! Use up all 155 characters if you can because this is your chance to make an impression on the reader.
Writing a Compelling Meta Description
When you’re writing a meta description, you need to answer a couple questions. First, you need to tell your reader what kind of product or service you have for sale. Secondly, you need to tell them how they can benefit from using your product or service.
- What are you selling?
- Why should they choose your company?
If you were stuck in an elevator and you needed to tell the person next to you what your product is and why they should buy it, what would you say? How can you convince them that your online store is the place they should buy from?
Your homepage meta description needs to convey what your company is all about. It needs to tell the reader what your company stands for and what type of products you offer.
Writing meta descriptions for product pages is a little easier because you can be more specific (and offer less information about your brand).
In all of your meta descriptions, make sure to be very straight forward. Tell them the main thing you want them to know about your product or company.
People don’t like spending their time guessing or filling in the blanks. If you have missing information or an unclear message, people are more likely to skip over your listing and move on to the next search result.
Keep in mind you only get one chance so try to impress your reader! Use your very best copywriting skills, check for spelling errors, and try writing a couple drafts.
Optimize with Keywords
A keyword is a specific word or phrase that is targeted for SEO. Keywords can have a incredible impact on your overall traffic. For one thing, including a keyword in your meta description enables Google to understand what your website is all about.
Focusing on a single keyword is ideal because it shows Google that you’re focused. If you offer too many keywords for your homepage or product page, then you risk confusing Google.
They will have a more difficult time understanding which competitive word you are trying to rank for, and they might not display your page in search results.
Prioritize Certain Product Pages
Most Shopify stores have hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of products listed. Understandably, you can’t go back and write thousands of meta descriptions for all your products.
Psst! This is when prioritizing your product pages become a very helpful asset.
Here's a pro tip: Try to prioritize your products that sell more. If you focus your attention on optimizing the product pages for your most popular items, you can dramatically increase traffic to your storefront.
Where to Write your Meta Description
Step 1: To write a meta description, scroll down to the “Search Engine Listing Preview.”
Step 2: Moving forward, you’ll need to click on “Edit website SEO.”
Step 3: Next, write an extremely persuasive meta description that makes the reader realize that you are the best pick among all of the options they’re faced with.
Here are five main goals to try and achieve.
- Do the words flow together cohesively? - Smaller words work better. Don’t attempt to use fancy extensive vocabulary that no one will understand. Keep it simple.
- Is your message clear? Be frank. Emphasize what you offer and why you’re the best. It’s okay to repeat yourself if it drives the point home.
- Did you include a keyword? Don’t forget to focus on a keyword for your product or company homepage! This is a valuable opportunity to rank for a word that you’re targeting.
- How does your meta description look visually? Take a look at how your meta description looks in the preview.
- Are you using the full 155 characters - Pay attention to how many characters you are using. There’s nothing wrong with using all of the available characters.
New 2018 Meta Description Length - Latest Update
There has been much discussion lately about what the "real" meta description length actually is. Why? In 2017, Google expanded the meta description length to 300 characters. However, Google recently changed their minds. They are now reducing the amount of characters that they will count towards a meta description.
This change was semi-announced by Google's Public Search Liaison, Danny Sullivan in May 2018. He said the change to revert back to a shorter meta description is now in progress.
Danny tweeted "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."
So what's the correct length to use when writing a meta description? This is sort of up in the air currently, but here at Adolab we recommend writing 155 characters for a meta description.
This isn't the end all, so don't worry if you go over but just try to aim for this. Basically, you want your meta descriptions to be able to look readable even if they were cut off at 155 characters.
Google is being a bit mysterious when it comes to meta descriptions, and hopefully they'll have more official announcements on their website. For now, just stick to the 155 character rule and you'll be A-OK.
Get More Clicks with an HTML Sitemap
If you're having trouble increasing your SEO, Sitemap Builder can help.
Sitemap Builder instantly generates an HTML sitemap for your Shopify store in just a couple seconds! An HTML sitemap lists every product, page, collection and blog post on one convenient page.
The best part is that customers can easily find what they are looking for. It also helps to improve your site's navigation and creates a better shopping experience.
[caption id="attachment_6398" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Sitemap Builder instantly creates an HTML sitemap for your Shopify store[/caption]
Not to mention, Sitemap Builder can also increase your site's SEO (search engine optimization). Google can easily crawl and index your HTML sitemap which can potentially boost your ranking on search results.
Google can also decide to display your products in search results if your item matches the query. Having an HTML sitemap can increase your chances of getting clicked on more frequently and drive more traffic to your store.
Thanks so much for reading our guide to writing captivating meta descriptions.
As you can see, meta descriptions are important for improving your overall SEO and driving traffic to your website. If a potential customer has no idea what your page is about, they aren’t going to click on you.
Your more likely to get more clicks if you write convincing meta descriptions that sell them on your product (list the benefits and point out why you’re top notch).
For more information on boosting your rank, make sure to check out 5 Quick SEO Tips for your Shopify Store.
We hope you've enjoyed our guide on how to write meta descriptions and increase your SEO!