Description Tags. Stories. Cliffhangers. How Long?

A description tag is the snippet of information underneath the blue title in a search result.

Google can pull the information from your web page or from how you write the tag in your web platform’s backend.

When I was learning to write description tags way back when, my online copywriting coach, Nick Usborne, taught me to write them as little stories and to leave a “cliffhanger” at the end to encourage folks to click through to the website.

Cliffhanger Description Tags

It is a simple but brilliant strategy.

For example on my own home page, I could have written:

Andes and Associates is a web content development company that specializes in developing online content for local small businesses …

Not very exciting.

Instead, this is my tag:

Like many owners, when you built your website, you brushed off web content development. It’s  easy to fall into that trap. Again and again your web developer …

The tag is telling a little story and, hopefully, it engages the searcher enough to click through to my website.

The above is how my tag would render on a desktop computer. Because a mobile search doesn’t have as much room available for the tag, that same tag will be cut off and look like:

Like many owners, when you built your website, you brushed off web content development. It’s  easy to fall into that trap. Again and …

Because I extended the cliffhanger text in the first version, the story-telling / cliffhanger effect still works with the truncated mobile version.

Desktop tags cut off at about 160 characters-with-spaces and mobile at about 130. Use your word count tool to determine the length.

Easy Web Tip #265: Write description tags that work for both desktop and mobile searches by putting your most important information in the first 130 characters and extending the cliffhanger.

Comments

    • Katherine Andes

      Oh, gosh, thank you, Roy. I wish it were my idea, but as I said in the column it was Nic Usbourne’s. Have fun rewriting!

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