My last post was all about how meta descriptions can help a therapist’s private practice website, but if your like most people, you’re left wondering what to do with the information. So, today we’re going to focus on the how. Here are 5 general tips that I give private practice owners trying to work on their website’s SEO.
5 Tips for Writing the Perfect Meta Description
Use the right keywords in your meta description.
The first step to improving any page’s ranking on search engines is to identify a few keywords per page. These are phrases that when someone types them into Google, your webpage will (with some work) be one of the first to show up. You can incorporate keywords in other places including headings, text, page title, etc. Therefore, not every phrase you want to rank for needs to be included in the meta description. However, I recommend including the top 2-3 keywords that you want that specific page to rank for. Because meta descriptions are supposed to explain what the page is about, search engines will give them a lot of weight when deciding how to rank your page. Including a keyword in your meta description is like pointing a big arrow toward your website saying “If someone is looking for this thing, PICK ME to be at the top of the page!”
Aim for 160 Characters.
Google will generally only show about 160 characters in search results. Some of your meta description won’t be seen (… will be shown in it’s place) if you write more than 160 characters. As a general rule of thumb, I try to write meta descriptions that are as close as possible to 160 characters without going over. To be honest, most of mine are right between 155-160 characters.
I highly recommend the Yoast Plugin for Word Press to make sure meta descriptions are the optimal length. When you are writing a meta description in Yoast, you’ll see a little bar filling up right below where you are typing and it will let you know if your meta description is too short, an ideal length or too long. A Square Space website (which calls these your “page description” in the SEO tab) counts down from 400 so you aim for getting as close to 240 as possible. If you use another platform, try writing your meta description in Word and using the “word count” feature to monitor your length.
Write a meta description that makes sense.
Remember, you are not only writing a little summary for google. You are also writing a description to convince real live humans they want to look at your page. One mistake I see is people trying so hard to cram a meta description fully of keywords that it no longer makes any sense. Not only will Google sometimes catch onto this, but your ideal client isn’t going to be enticed to click on the site if it does show up in their search results.
Communicate your value to potential clients.
Maybe this means asking a question that your ideal client will resonate with and want to click on your site to find the answer to. Another techniques is to treat the meta description as a small summary of the page. I’ve also said things like, “information about symptoms of PTSD” as part of my meta description for a service page or “tools and tips for getting to sleep faster” as part of a blog post meta description. Both of these are examples of ways I’m trying to communicate to potential clients the value of viewing my web page.
Consider a Call to Action.
I don’t always include a Call to Action in a meta description, but if there’s space I will. Something like “Learn more” or “Call today” at the very end of a meta description just to encourage people to take action.
Get Help Learning SEO
If this seems overwhelming, I’d love to work with you one on one. As an SEO Consultant, I can help you apply these tips and other SEO techniques to get your mental health website (counseling, psychiatry or other related business) to the first page of Google. E-mail me or just schedule a free consultation to learn more about how my SEO training packages or “Done for You” monthly SEO packages can help you get your website in front of more potential clients!