You might think that if your stiffest competition is a recognized name brand and you both appear in the SERPs then you’ll lose the war on clicks. That’s not necessarily true.
We all know reality. You can be No. 1 for your keyword and a name brand at No. 2, who do you think will get the most clicks? You’d think that it would be No. 2. People aren’t going to click the first result just because it’s the first result. Most people won’t anyway. Recognized name brands do have an edge, but they aren’t a shoe-in. You can beat a recognized name brand if you write your meta description correctly. It can actually sway the tide in your favor.
So what’s the correct way to write a meta description that appears in the snippet and steals thunder from the name brand? That’s not an easy answer and it certainly isn’t one that lends itself to an easy, flip response. But let’s analyze.
The bottom line on getting click throughs from SERPs is to give a searcher a reason to click. You want to entice them to click. That means 1) not giving away too much information; and 2) promising to answer their most pressing questions.
Start off by asking, “What question will be in someone’s mind as they type [this keyword] into the search box.” Everything else you do needs to be centered around answering that question.
For instance, a good meta description might look like this:
All the information you’ll ever need on buying the right kind of widget. Download our free widget guide.
Let’s say the searcher entered “widget guide” into the search box. It’s obvious they are looking for a widget guide. The above SERPs makes a promise to answer the searcher’s question if only they click the link. And it is likely to get a decent response even if the name brand appears on the same page of the SERPs. Here’s an example of poorly written meta description:
Free widget guide. Blue widgets, yellow widgets, red widgets, all kinds of widgets. Here’s what they do for you.
The description has the keyword phrase in it, but there’s not much information beyond that. No promise to answer a question, and a very weak benefit (“Here’s what they do for you”). The searcher knows that if she clicks the link the page will tell her what a widget will do for her. But what if she feels she knows that already?
Answer the searcher’s question in that meta description and you give yourself an edge over your competition, even your name brand competition.