You already wrote your content for the website, blog post, and other landing pages but it is not being optimized when plugging in key words or phrases in the search engine.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is designed to help build relevancy and authority to get your brand noticeable. SEO is the practice of optimizing your brand’s web pages to have them positioned higher on the list during search results from Google or other search engines, so you get noticed.
SEO focuses on helping you improve ranking organically. If you have a website and you want to get more traffic, this should be part of your marketing efforts.
In this blog, my focus is to help you with tips to manually write SEO meta descriptions based on your intended keywords and focus on your unique value positioning that help you organically elevate and stand out from the crowd.
SEOs drive user awareness to your brand, helps users evaluate your brand, and guides them to make an actionable decision about your brand. Basically, search engine marketing.
As small businesses we want that marketing traffic to affect gaining more subscribers or sales by improving our organic search presence. The goal is to get noticed and gain more traffic and increase conversions, organically.
SEO is important to you and your site visitor because it demonstrates relevance and authority.
The keywords and content relevancy and the authority the brand has in the marketplace are what boost rankings. The authority is built by other websites mentioning the brand content. This is what helps build credibility and trust over time.
That blog, written by another brand, about me and my book, on someone else’s website, has been seen over 10,000 times so far. [Grateful!]
Most people write their content message first – be it website landing pages, blogs, and other related activities like event announcements – then they focus on user intended search keywords and SEO meta descriptions afterwards, make modifications, and see how they can get things to rank.
That might not be the best approach but that is the reality. For example, imagine having a 30-page website. You are probably not going to spend time going through the keyword research for key phrases for each landing page prior to building content, unless you feel like you have the luxury of time on your hands. You want to start designing, building, and add content to each of those pages knowing you will be modifying and adjusting as you go along.
Most businesses have a message and rather just dive into crafting the content and publishing instead of properly spending time researching and planning. Even though they know that is critically important to do and the right way to go about things. Usually, they decide they can go back to add the SEO meta description and other related content in the back end at a near later time, to get the search pages to demonstrate authoritative ranking. Why is this the case? Because we all know that SEO ranking on search pages is a long-term strategy and building content and publishing it provides immediate gratification.
I even admit, I am guilty of this myself.
I did not create a massive, long list of keywords and key phrases to then highlight which are priorities to then plan around. I was focused on the content and the difference my messaging would make and then went back to figuring out how to optimize my existing content to reach my desired audience.
Regardless of your approach, the goal here in this blog is for me to show you that there are a few things that can be done to increase optimization and higher ranking no matter what approach you take.
For example, imagine you have a grilling blog, and you are passionate about sharing some of your favorite summer tips and tricks. Optimizing a post for a term such as [grilling] is not a good approach. Why? Because it is very general and there is a lot of competition. Searching the word [grilling] on Google resulted in 248 million results.
Instead think what your niche is. What makes your tips and tricks unique? What outcome are you trying to achieve? Maybe you compete with McCormick food company and sell seasoning.
So, the keyword niche could be [Mediterranean kabob grilling] which brought the search results down to nearly 12 million. You can drill down your niche more to [Persian kabob grilling] which results in 1.6 million. You can go even further with [Persian kabob meat grilling] or [Persian kabob chicken grilling] or [seasoning for Persian kabob grilling]. You get the idea.
Now that you know being specific works towards your advantage, let us focus on getting clear about the user outcome.
There are two users here: your targeted audience and your business brand (you)!
Focusing on you first, what search terms do you want to be found for and why? What are you trying to accomplish? What is the targeted result for you?
In our example above, the company is trying to sell seasoning while competing with McCormick.
Next, ask yourself, how do you want to stand out from the competition? Again, using the example above, by providing educational and shareable fun videos to boost the brand.
Then get clear on your target audience and imagine what their journey is to find your brand. In the example above it would be to watch your videos and share them. Think about what your audience wants to achieve through their search.
For example, [cultural grilling the whole family will enjoy].
This process is called search intent.
Every single day, Google processes billions of searches. Each one of those queries begins with a single person’s search intent. What is it that they are looking for? Search intent is defined as the purpose someone has when conducting a search on Google or similar search engines. It typically begins with either the desire to answer a question or because they are looking for a product, service, or place.
There are three key types of search intent. Most search engines will utilize algorithms that take into account these four common types of search intent.
This form of intent is most closely related to the verb phrase “Google it.” In this day and age, we are able to turn to popular search engines like Google to get a quick answer to questions such as “how do fitness trackers work?” or “How do I improve my SEO?” When we search for information such as this, it is categorized as “informational intent.” We are searching for information.
Google’s algorithm is impressively intelligent and can actually determine what you are looking for better than you can in some cases. For example, if you search “apple pie” it can deduce that you are probably looking for a recipe and not the illustrious history of the dessert. Unless of course you add on “history of.” Then it will adjust the information you are looking for.
Informational intent can also tie into their desire to know more about a commercial product. For instance, they might search “best fitness trackers.” In this case they are looking for commercial information. It can also tie into looking for reviews on a particular fitness tracker or even reviews for local physical trainers.
Keywords for an informational intent search:
This form of a search refers to when people turn to a search engine looking for a specific website, product, or service. They might be searching for some variation of the name if they cannot remember the exact name, or they might just find it easier than typing the whole website name into the search bar. These searches are usually simple and very targeted. Like if someone Googles “Fitbit” only, they are likely just looking for the Fitbit website or a retail site. If they want information, they would likely add informational key words to the search, indicating that they have a different search intent.
Trying to tie yourself to a Fitbit search alone will probably prove fruitless because the searcher is looking for that particular site. However, you would want to target an informational intent about Fitbit.
As the name suggests, these are searches looking for a product or service. The user wants to buy something. This can occur in multiple ways. The searcher could be at the store looking to see if the product they are holding is cheaper online and if it’s worth the wait for shipping. For example, they might search for a specific fitness tracker that they are trying out at Best Buy. On the other hand, the searcher might also be looking for a specific product that they cannot find in local stores such as a fitness tracker not sold at their local electronic store. Or they might be looking for a coupon. If they are an exclusive online shopper, they might just be looking for an online retailer for the product.
This also ties into services. A searcher might look for “physical trainers near me.”
If you’re selling a product or service, you’re going to want to be sure you are easily found through a transactional/purchase intent search.
Keywords for a transactional intent search:
During the creation of your post, you will want to be conscious of various elements in order to get the best SEO results. That means putting careful consideration into the headings, subheadings, title, and even the meta description. When done correctly, these will all be accurate representations of your page or post and help bring in more eyes through various search engines.
When writing your content, you want to be highly aware of your word choice. There are going to be keywords that you’re going to want to hit on. Key-word optimization is going vary depending on what type of user you are targeting. As mentioned above, an information intent search is going to utilize different keywords than a purchase intent search.
For instance, if you want to create a post about the three best fitness trackers, then your primary focus would be informational intent searches, so you would aim for words like “best,” “most reliable,” and “compared to.” These would be words that would likely be a part of a search for this type of information, but that doesn’t mean you should overload your post with the same word.
Synonyms will not only be helpful for hitting more searches, they will also add better variety to your work. Synonyms being different words that have the same meaning. “Best” and “greatest” would be an example of this. This will help you reach peak search engine optimization.
Do keep in mind that just because your blog or article is SEO-friendly does not mean that it is at peak optimization. But when done correctly, your audience will be able to pick up on the main idea of the page just glancing at the meta description on a Google search. Using the key words in your title and meta description will increase the visibility of your post.
The meta description is what the user will see under the title when you pop up in a Google search. If you don’t make a custom meta description, the system will pull random pieces from your page, which can turn away potential traffic.
Most people will make a snapshot decision of whether they want to click on your post or not. That is why having a strong title and a strong meta description are so vital. They are your first impression a reader will have with your material, and with all the content coming at everyone every day, you have to really stick out. If you don’t stick out, that visitor may have already moved on before you had the opportunity to bring them in.
The battle does not end once they have come to your site, after that, it is about keeping them there. That is where attractive and easy to navigate headings and subheadings come in. In addition, other visually appealing organizational methods such as bullet points and lists help keep them engaged and allow them to move through the information more quickly.
This is another area where the use of keywords and phrases are going to be an ally to you. Making them easy to spot to your visitor’s eyes will make it easier for them to locate the information they deem most important.
Meta descriptions should be unique to every page on your site. Having them overlap decreases your chances of visibility. It will also give users a better idea of which page they want to go to.
We all want to understand SEO meta descriptions and what the best mindset approach to write them is, quickly! Let us look at an example of what they are.
Imagine you want to join a virtual event to learn about gemstones. What would you type in the search engine field box like Google, Bing, Yahoo, or others? Let us try [learn about gemstone via Zoom]. This is an example of search intent, as described above.
In my example screenshot below, you will see 2 million plus results populated. At the very top of the list are those links that are relevant and present authority on the search topic; the two focused factors of SEO I described above.
Studying the result of my gemstone example, notice how the text below the title is very short in length and has call to action (CTA) words like learn, get, join, and see.
CTA words are important in SEO meta descriptions because it boosts your click-through rate by guiding people to decide on an action which helps you stand out from your competition and gets you results.
As you can see, SEO meta descriptions are snapshot snippets of that specific landing page or blog post that is less than 160 characters long (make sure it is not less than 120 characters), summarizing the content for what that page / post is about through HTML tags.
In this next section, I will cover tips on how to write SEO meta descriptions when they are landing pages and posts that are beyond the home page and “about us” pages. I call those the description pages. Instead, I am focusing on pages or posts where you want the visitor to have an outcome. That outcome could be signing up for an offer, joining an event program, registering for a new course, or applying for a job. The outcome pages and posts focus more on the visitor than bragging about the brand and the people behind it.
When it comes to outcome pages or posts, my mindset approach to writing the first sentence of the SEO meta description is to focus on what would get the visitor to say, “Yes, that is me!”
This helps me optimize by increasing my rank level, so my site is seen by more people by my intended target audience and the likelihood of visitors clicking through my link is higher.
To get to that “yes” point, I focus on the outcome that the visitor wants to achieve. These could be overcoming a pain point, these could be elevating lifestyle choices, this could be having better relationship connections, and so much more. I start the sentence with phrases like:
Second, I add the outcome the visitor will obtain when visiting that specific page or post.
Next, I make sure to add my key phrase about that site page or post content. It could be an offer (product), notice (event), or answer (solution). Asking myself, what is the intent of the outcome of that specific page or post?
Then I help guide the visitor with a reasoning to get them to say “yes” by adding the words “because” or “so that” to help them decide and justify their actions.
Why is this last step important?
A second experiment was done adding the reasoning for why she needed to use the Xerox machine. Asking, “Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I have to make some copies?” This simple add resulted in an overwhelming 93% saying “yes.”
This tip was conducted in various ways among different people in different industries and was founded to have great persuading results.
So, the breakdown formula for the first sentence would look like this:
[Want / Are you / Deciding on / Stuck with / Other] ______________[outcome]__________________ [key phrase] _____________ [because / so that / other] ___________________?
The second sentence is where I focus on the call to action (CTA) phrases where I am guiding the visitor to the outcome of the page or post once they click through. Will they be learning, joining, buying, getting? What will the result be in exchange for clicking on the page or post? The reaction I want to get is, “oh cool, yes, let me check this out”
Search engines show search results when the searched intent phrase is within the description. That is why it is important to try to get into the mindset of your targeted audience’s way of thinking to get to your brand and that specific page or post.
There is always room for improvement. First look at your length. If you need more character spacing there are things you can do to shorten the sentences.
For example, you can change the first sentence from a question to a statement:
Next make sure you are aligned with your target audience’s search intent and the goal – which is giving you the opportunity to attract more visitors. Check and make sure your sentences are compelling and informative. Think about the needs of your visitors and why they should be coming to you. What makes you stand out and be unique?
Maybe you need to go back and revise the content on the page or post itself. In other words, going back to the drawing board.
Finally, do not assume all visitors know who you are. Make sure you write SEO meta descriptions for all types of audience, repeat and new ones.
For example, looking at our second [learn about gemstone via Zoom] Google search result, assuming the focused key phrase is gemstone, how would you re-write the SEO meta description?
Here is our take. A meta description is essentially an advertisement. It’s the first thing an online user would encounter after your title. In the above example we see that there are upcoming webinars and events and that you can join via zoom. It even sets up who will be conducting the webinar, Dr. Sara Hazel and Sydney Songer. This can be useful information, but it’s only useful for those familiar with those names and Gemisphere in general. This does not tell the reader what to expect from these webinars or why they should even attend.
The above example is not the best use of a meta description. The most useful information is being cut off, “Learn how you can use Dark Green…” This doesn’t allow the reader to really get an understanding of what to expect. Google has changed the meta description length maximums multiple times, so typically you want it short and sweet to avoid being cut off as this example shows.
A better meta description would be:
“Learn how to use Dark Green gemstones from Dr. Hazel and GEM Practitioner Songer to improve and impact your life. Join this webinar today to get a free info sheet on healing stones.”
Because the page in this case is often updated with each new webinar, having a universal meta description will ensure that the visitor isn’t misled in what to expect. If the meta description advertises an element that is no longer relevant to that page, they can become frustrated and turn away from the page. If you plan to constantly update the page, it can save you time and energy to create a universal meta description for that particular page. Remember, each page should always have its own meta description.
To explain further, a universal meta description for the page would be like the example above. Rather than mentioning a specific element the current webinar will have, it is more helpful to stick to descriptions that can fit for the current and future webinars. The more open appeal will draw in larger audiences, especially if they do not know exactly what element they are looking for. Someone who is new to Gemstones might not know the exact terminology, but they will understand that they want to learn how those gemstones can positively impact their lives.
When you allow search engines to automatically generate your meta descriptions you might end up with confusing, unspecific, or outdated content. It is best to manually create a meta description, especially one that will remain relevant if the specific page will see updates, such as new webinar class subjects.
Getting visitors to your site is just the first step. You want to create content that will keep them on the website and, even more importantly, make them want to return to the website. There is a whole host of techniques that you can employ to get people to stay, engage, and remember your website.