You can think of meta descriptions as supporting actors in the cast that is your search engine page results. In other words, they give online users a synopsis of what they will find on any given landing page before they click. Getting it right means driving shoppers to your ecommerce website. Getting it wrong means misleading potential customers and elevating your bounce rate.

This is how writing solid meta descriptions drives conversions for your ecommerce store.

It’s More About Clickthrough Than Ranking – Sort Of

While all major search engines say meta descriptions have no direct effect on a site’s rankings, there is an indirect one. Given that the role of meta descriptions is to encourage clickthroughs from a results page to a landing page, Google’s clickthrough-rate algorithm could be enticed to rank a site more highly if your meta descriptions are performing well. When they help you get more clicks than Google expects to see, you move up in the rankings.

Key Elements of a Good Meta Description

Effective meta descriptions contain between 135 and 160 characters, including spaces. Writing them in an active voice and including a call to action encourages users to click the link to your landing page.

Let’s say you’re searching for buying information on the Porsche Boxster when you run across this description:

Experts regard the $57,400 Porsche Boxster as the best sports car that amount of money can buy. Here’s how you can get your hands on one today-for much less!

If you’re looking for a Boxster to buy, that’s likely going to elicit a click. Here’s why:

Structured Content/Keyword: The description above contains structured content, including the assertion experts regard it as the absolute best in a given price range. It also features the focus keyword, which in this case is Porsche Boxster.

Matches Landing Page Content: It is absolutely imperative the content of the linked landing page is directly reflective of the description, or you’ll experience a high bounce rate. This will make Google rank your site lower.

Unique Description: Another factor to keep in mind is the uniqueness of the description. If you go with a free website template for your ecommerce store and choose to set it up yourself, give every landing page on the site a meta description all its own. If you duplicate them, your pages will look alike to search engines, which could be an SEO problem. If it’s too much trouble, you can always let Google generate meta descriptions based upon finding the keyword in the content. But why leave your site’s SEO to chance when you can have full control over it?

Implementing the Change on an Existing Site

OK, so you may be reading this and thinking, “Uh oh, I have 700 pages on my site, how am I supposed to get this done?” A good strategy is to begin creating unique descriptions for each product page going forward. Then, when you start working on your existing pages, focus first on high-priority items for your target customers that could be garnering more traffic with the right SEO. Google Webmaster Tools will help you search for duplicated meta descriptions on your site so you can correct them.

With all of these elements in place, visitors will be led to exactly what they’re looking for on your site. Assuming your store is optimized for the best user experience, this is how writing solid meta descriptions drives conversions for your ecommerce store.