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When first learning SEO, it’s easy to get confused about which on site elements will have an impact on your site’s rankings in the search engine results. Should I use the meta keywords tag? Do I need to stuff every variation of my main keyword into the title tag?

I need to achieve optimum keyword density on my homepage, right? These are all questions you may be asking yourself when you first realize that you’ll need to do some SEO work in order for anyone to ever find your site with search engine. (The answer to all of those questions, by the way, is ‘no’.)

Meta Descriptions Don’t Impact Rankings, but They Do Impact Click-Through Rate

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One other common misconception you may have as an SEO newbie is that your site’s meta descriptions impact your rankings. (If you’re asking yourself ‘what is a meta description?’ You can see this introduction from seoMOZ.  The truth, though, is that meta descriptions have no impact on a website’s rankings. What meta descriptions can impact, though, is whether or not a potential visitor chooses your site in Google’s results. So, rather than needlessly stuffing your meta descriptions with every variation of ‘best doorknobs New York,’ you should view meta descriptions as your chance to convey a message to potential visitors that will entice them to click-through to your site.

What Makes Your Business Unique?

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One way that you can use meta descriptions to make your listing stand out is to include a detail that makes your business stand out. For example, say that you are a construction firm in Phoenix that has been in business since the turn of the century. You could include that piece of information as a way of building trust that would encourage people to click on your site. Your meta description could be something like this:

Panella Construction in Phoenix can handle any job and get it done right. In business since 1904, we’re Phoenix’s oldest and most experienced construction company.

Inspire Action

Another great way to use meta descriptions to encourage people to click-through to your website is to include a call to action. A call to action should gently (or not so gently, if you’d prefer) nudge people to do something you want them to do. Let’s say you’re a custom guitar maker:

Our custom guitars are played by some of the top musicians in the world. Call us today so we can start building your dream guitar!

This meta description combines both elements, a characteristic that set’s your business apart (our guitars are played by top musicians) and a call to action (call us today to talk about the guitar you want).

Everyone Loves a Deal

One other possible tactic for luring people into your site is to offer a deal in the meta description. For example, you could offer 10% off of a customer’s first order.

We sell high-quality umbrellas for intensely fashion-conscious people.  All new customers receive 10% off their first order!

These are just a few examples of ways that you can use meta descriptions to bring in more visitors to your site. Be creative and try different things. While this won’t replace the SEO techniques that will get you ranking well, it can help you to bring in visitors once you’ve arrived on Page 1.

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Posted by Roger Panella

Roger Panella is an SEO Analyst at Digital Third Coast Internet Marketing in Chicago.  In his free time, he likes producing music in his brand-new home studio and trying out new vegan recipes that usually end up taking way too long to cook.

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