How important are meta descriptions for ecommerce websites?

 

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Everyone knows that search engine optimisation (SEO) is a crucial element when we look at how we all market our businesses online.

At a very basic level, your ecommerce SEO strategy will involve you going through your website looking to include key phrases within your content, which you think potential customers will be searching for. All with the overall aim of claiming that coveted top spot on the first page of Google.

However, there is a lot more to a successful SEO strategy than this, and any new website should have a clear plan in place for targeting specific pages of your website towards certain key phrases. The first step is actually investigating what people are searching for so you aren’t guessing.

However, from our experience handing over websites to clients, not much time is taken to ensure the meta descriptions have been carefully thought-out for any new content that’s been added—whether it’s new products, articles or blog posts.

So in a nutshell, yes, meta descriptions are really important for any website, not just ecommerce websites.

Let’s get into some of the detail and give you some tips so you can make the most of your meta descriptions.

 

What are meta descriptions?

In short, they are the summary of the content of a web page made up of around 158 characters. They sit underneath the website title when your site is shown in a Google search as depicted below:

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If you search for “plant pots”, you can see from the screenshot below that Google has highlighted parts of the meta description to show the relevance of the page:

If not explicitly set, the meta description for your page will just be pulled through from the first snippet of content Google sees when it spiders your page. This isn’t ideal.

Explicitly setting the meta description for each page of your site is crucial if you want to make the most of an SEO opportunity. Through a meta description you have a chance to create an enticing intro to encourage people to click on your search results, AND to reinforce the key phrase you are trying to get found for.

Coming up with these meta descriptions can actually be some of the trickiest copy that you’ll ever have to put together, due to the character limit.

The more successful meta descriptions not only give you an overview of the web page you’re about to view but also coerce the reader to choose your site over the many others displayed. It can actually give you the competitive edge over rival companies, which is why meta descriptions are so important. More clicks equals more sales for your ecommerce store.

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Every page on your website has the ability for you to explicitly set a meta description, so if you’re an ecommerce website owner, you’ll want to go through ALL your product pages and make sure you really optimise the meta description for each one.

Unfortunately, it’s a time-consuming job, we won’t lie, but well worth it if you want your individual products to stand a chance at ranking in their own right on Google.

 

Tips on writing meta descriptions for your product pages:

So now that you’re on board with the importance of meta descriptions, here are some tips to help you write them for your ecommerce website.

 

1. Test your meta descriptions’ effectiveness

Your meta descriptions are potentially some of the first words that potential customers will read about your business so it’s really important to make a great impression and get it right.

Monitor your impressions vs your click-through-rate (Google Search Console can do this for you) and if you’re not getting as many clicks, but your number of impressions are high, try rewriting your meta description and see if it boosts your click-through rate.

Keep doing this and checking back until you see positive results. It might take a couple of drafts, but it’s well worth the results!

 

2. Definitely include the product name again

Pretty obvious, but you’ll want to repeat your product name within your meta description as this is likely going to be the main key phrase people are searching for.

 

3. Keep the focus on the reader

Tell the user what they’re to do on the page. E.g. Browse, Buy, Join, etc.

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Talk about what effect this product will have on a customer’s life should they purchase it and other benefits which will entice them into clicking through to the product on your website.

 

4. The formatting matters

Think of other ways in which your meta descriptions could be formatted to stand out against your competitors. Perhaps try capitalising part of them, but not all of the text, as you don’t want to be too in your face. Just try something innovative.

 

5. What makes the product unique?

Give a few reasons as to why your product is the best and what differentiates it from any of your competitor’s products. Is it waterproof? Is it more durable? Does the battery life last longer? Is it organic? Is there an offer? All of these factors are selling pieces which can be utilised in your meta description to help convert potential customers into tangible sales.

 

6. Leave them wanting more

Intrigue the reader so that they have to click on the link to find out more. Whether it’s to find out what the other colour variations you offer are or the other applications which the item could be used for. Try and lure them in with the promise of more information if they click on your link.

 

7. Use all of the characters within your character limit

You only get between 120-158 characters, so make them all count. On desktop, Google shows up to 158 characters or 920px. We like to use a tool like Spotibo’s SERP preview tool to check description length and appearance. It’s important to bear in mind that mobile users see fewer characters, 120 / 680px. So, a more concise description isn’t a bad idea.

 

8. Write meta descriptions for every page of your website

Your ecommerce website is made up of numerous pages and it’s important that you explicitly set a meta description for every one of those pages—not just your homepage. If you don’t do this, Google will create one for you, which is one big wasted opportunity.

 

BONUS TIP: Make your result stand out

If you’re working with a developer, ask them to look at implementing “structured data” on your product pages. This allows Google to pick out ratings and reviews like this result below, which will definitely get you more clicks.

Not crafted your meta descriptions?

There is definitely an art to writing successful meta descriptions, but it’s undoubtedly worth investing in the time to make sure that you’ve carefully tailored them across your whole site.

Most importantly, don’t forget to use Google Search Console to evaluate your click-through-rate vs. your impressions (the amount of time your site gets seen in a search) as this will tell you how successful your meta descriptions are.

Your meta descriptions should essentially be persuasive, include the key phrase(s) you want that page of your site to be found for, and leave someone wanting more so that they click through to find out.

We hope this has helped you see the importance of meta descriptions. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or need help to better optimise your ecommerce website.

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