SEO

Meta Descriptions for Ecommerce: A 2024 Guide to Writing Snippets That Convert

May 14, 2024

Meta descriptions for ecommerce are critical if you want to rank well in search engines and drive traffic to your product pages in 2024.

Yes, they're not a direct ranking factor. But they help the search engines understand what your page is about and affect click-through rates.

In the sea of pages on Google, you'd want to stand out and capture as many clicks as possible. This guide shows you how.

What Is a Meta Description?

A meta description is an HTML tag that describes the content of a webpage. It acts like a mini ad or elevator pitch for that page in the search results. The main purpose is to entice people to click the link when they see it.

To optimize meta descriptions, you want to clearly and concisely summarize what's on the page. Use compelling copy that gives the gist while leaving some mystery.

You'll also want to naturally incorporate relevant keywords and search phrases.

The best meta descriptions have a distinct voice that matches your brand and product. Be upbeat, enthusiastic and make it feel like a personal invitation to the reader.

Don't merely restate the page title. Summarize the key benefits and what's unique about that content. For ecommerce product pages, highlight special features, pricing deals or guarantees.

With a clear, compelling meta description, you can boost click-through rates from organic search and drive more traffic to your site.

Why Are Meta Descriptions Important for SEO?

It's Your Organic Ad Text

Meta descriptions act as your "organic ad text" on search engine results pages (SERPs). They provide a snippet preview of what's on the webpage to entice users to click through.

An engaging, benefit-driven meta description is key to boosting your page's click-through rate from organic search.

It’s A Way To Set Accurate Expectations

A clear and compelling meta description helps set expectations of what the user will find on the page.

For ecommerce product pages, include the product name, top features, pricing details or promotions like "free shipping." This gives searchers a taste of what they’ll see on the other end of the click.

It Helps You Stand Out in SERPs

Search engines like Google often bold the searcher’s keywords in the meta description when they match the user's query—like this.

A keyword-optimized, unique description helps your page stand out from competitors and appear more relevant.

It Influences Engagement Metrics

While meta descriptions don't directly impact rankings, they can indirectly influence key user engagement signals like click-through rate (CTR) and bounce rate.

Low CTR would signal that your page is less relevant to the search. High bounce rates could mean a disconnect between your meta description and page content.

Pages with low CTR or high bounce rates may get deprioritized over time for underperforming.

It Optimizes for Social Sharing

When your ecommerce pages get shared on social media, platforms often pull the meta description to display a preview.

An enticing, up-to-date meta description encourages more clicks and social engagement.

How to Write a Good Meta Description for Ecommerce

Meta descriptions take time and a lot of testing to get right. But there are best meta description practices that can help you start on the right foot.

Capture the Customer's Mindset

Crafting an effective meta description requires putting yourself in the customer's shoes.

  • What are they searching for?
  • What pain points or desires motivate their search?
  • What would they use the product for?

A good meta description should directly appeal to your target audience's state of mind, include relevant information and convey how your page will meet their needs.

In this example, Sunnystep highlights the feature, benefit and use case in this short snippet. If I were someone who stands and walks a lot, and if I feel pressure in my feet, I’d probably click on this. 

Stand Out with Unique Copy

Each page should have a unique meta description tailored to its specific content and offerings. Avoid duplicate meta descriptions as they can affect your SEO performance.

This is a good chance to showcase the unique selling points of your product and brand.

Even if your products seem extremely similar—e.g. black compression tights, breathable, sweat-wicking—it could still be using a special material, a limited edition color, or serve a different purpose.

Your brand voice and values can also bring flavor to your meta description. Inject some personality and use words that your brand stands for.

Optimize Length & Keyword Use

You’ll only have 155–160 characters to play with—Google would likely truncate the rest—so keep it concise. Cut out any words that are unclear or don’t add value.

Be sure to naturally work in high-value, high-intent keywords that align with how customers search for your products.

Include the most important content in the front part of your description to ensure it stays visible—just like this example. The meta description got truncated, but the main point remains clear. It’s the lightest double-wheel suitcase.

Use Actionable Language

A compelling meta description should motivate the user to click. Use active voice and add a clear call-to-action like:

  • Shop now
  • Learn more
  • Get yours today

You can also highlight urgency and scarcity with phrases like:

  • Limited stock
  • Sale ends soon
  • 30% off + free shipping

The CTA would depend on the intent and which part of the journey the user is at. Keywords that signal shopping mode could justify a “buy now”. But those that indicate a browsing behavior would do better with “explore collection”.

Consider Context

For homepages, focus on concisely summarizing your brand, top product categories, and unique value proposition.

Product page meta descriptions should spotlight key features, specs, and use cases.

Category pages can highlight the breadth of selection, price ranges, shipping offers, and top brands or best sellers. Test different approaches and monitor click-through rates to refine your strategy.

Tailor to your international audience

Different regions may have different search behaviors and intent. If you’re targeting specific regions, tailor your meta descriptions,  Besides translating, it’s important to localize them so they would make more sense in each context.

A few points to consider:

  • Local language and colloquialisms
  • Cultural references and values
  • Search behaviors and intent
  • Legal and regulatory requirements

Meta Description Length and Formatting

Meta Title and Description Character Limit

Keep those meta titles and descriptions nice and snappy. Aim for around 50-60 and 150-160 characters respectively. Anything longer risks getting cut off in Google's search results.

Optimize for Readability

Meta titles and descriptions are ad copy meant to reel people in. Keep your tone clear, benefits-focused, and straight to the point. Avoid jargon, fluff, and overcomplicated phrasing.

Naturally incorporate your keywords and words your customers use.

Test and Refine

Conduct tests with different messaging, and highlight different benefits or use cases. Sometimes, tiny tweaks make a world of difference in grabbing user attention.

Monitor your analytics for when you test or make changes to see what works best.

Examples of Meta Descriptions for Ecommerce

Product listing page meta description examples

Product listing pages are more likely to rank for broad keywords like “Bluetooth speakers” or “running shoes”. 

Your meta description should cover information about the product range, your best sellers, and include offers like warranties and next-day delivery.

Adidas (Search term: sports bra for HIIT)

Here, Adidas names popular high-impact sports so it speaks to its target audience. It also understands high-impact sports require high support features, and offers a risk-free shopping experience with a 30-day return.

Bully Tools (Search term: gardening tools)

Most gardening tools probably don't last. Bully Tools underlines its quality by using words like “top grade”, “durable” and “100% made in the USA”. They name their range of products, from shovels and spades to hoes and forks. They also use a simple but clear CTA.

Marshall (Search term: portable speakers)

Like Adidas, Marshall showcases their risk-free shopping offer. Portable speakers typically come with poorer-quality sound. Marshall tackles that objection by stating “powerful sound wherever” in their title while spelling out vastly different places where you can use the speakers.

REI (Search term: sunglasses for sports men)

REI takes a different approach by listing its brands and product types in bullet points. This will only work if your points are highly recognizable (e.g. Oakley sunglasses or polarized sunglasses). This meta description could be improved by including USPs. Or if the range is too broad to be covered by a few selling points, REI could also state any special offers or delivery perks.

ROKA (Search term: sunglasses for sports men)

ROKA features their USPs of lightweight, comfort, no-slip and style in one concise sentence. These directly point out the shortcomings of traditional sunglasses that fall off easily, press against the nose or are just outright uncomfortable. The ratings act as the final push for that click. Short and sweet—love it.

Skullcandy (Search term: portable speakers)

I like that Skullcandy included the use case of playing music by the pool. This indirectly tells us that the speaker is waterproof. Although, it might have been better to play it up and directly state that it’s waterproof—if that’s the main selling point.

Wolf Garten (Search term: gardening tools)

Of all the results I got from this keyword, Wolf Garten is the only page that zeros in on ergonomics, further stressing comfort and dependability. It’s surprising since this pain point would’ve been pretty clear. The phrase they use to describe quality—German-engineered—also differentiates them from the rest.

Product detail page meta description examples

Meta descriptions for PDPs tend to go deeper into specific features and specifications.

Away (Search term: carry-on suitcase)

Away’s meta description speaks directly to their target audience with relatable words like “overhead bins” and “quick trip”. People looking for carry-on suitcases would also be concerned about the weight and durability if they have to carry it around. Plus points to bringing those up.

Blue Apron (Search term: meal plan subscriptions)

Need pre-planned meals but too lazy to prepare them? Blue Apron is here for you. When we think of meal plans, we think of cold and dry food. Blue Apron says that they deliver theirs fresh at just $10. Better yet? You can get it ready in 2 minutes.

They could tailor their descriptions more towards a specific group of users. For example, those who care about the quality of food or those watching their diet.

HelloFresh (Search term: meal plan subscription)

This is what I was talking about. HelloFresh targets diet-watchers and highlights that in their main title.

In a different result, they go by the angle of free meals and desserts. But they also filter out uneligible customers by stating that it’s for new users and including a few other disclaimers. This makes the page stand out from all other standard copy about subscriptions.

Sonos (Search term: portable speakers)

With the same keyword “portable speakers”, there’s a good mix of PLPs and PDPs. Sonos’ Roam positions itself as waterproof with an all-day battery life—both of what portable speaker shoppers would care about. They also drop hints of their brand voice with the phrase “Soundtrack any adventure…” Cool, I’d want a Sonos speaker to come with me on an adventure now.

Monos (Search term: carry-on suitcase)

Monos stuffed all their selling points in one short description. It’s borderline overkill, but it works. It could have been better if they were clearer, instead of using words like “telescopic handle”—which I needed to Google to find out what it means.

Snuggle puppy (Search term: toys for teething puppies)

All other SERPs call their product “toys”. Snuggle Puppy differentiates itself by calling it “Puppy teething aid”. Using visually impactful words like “massaging ridges” and “sore gums” helps reassure puppy owners that they know what they’re doing.

Write Meta Descriptions in Bulk

As an ecommerce business, you might have hundreds if not thousands of products to manage.

Writing product descriptions and creating pages for each would already take up a whole lot of time—not to mention creating meta titles and descriptions.

On Hypotenuse AI, you can generate meta titles and descriptions for each page all at one go, keeping in mind the following:

  • Character limit: 50–60 for titles and 150–160 for descriptions
  • Primary keyword: Includes your keyword where appropriate
  • Search intent: Takes into account what the searcher is looking for with your primary keyword
  • Unique selling points: Showcases benefits and use cases of your product
  • Brand voice: Injects your brand personality to help your brand stand out

Writing for new pages

Let’s say

  • You’re launching a new range of products
  • You’ve done your keyword research
  • You have a few selling points about the product

You'll only need to enter your primary keyword and additional details about the page or product.

Rewriting for existing pages

Or if you found pages with poor CTR or bounce rate, and you want to rewrite the meta titles and descriptions.

You can also include only your primary keyword and URL.

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To do these in bulk, simply import your file with the following headers:

  • Primary keyword (required) and
  • Additional details or URL

The more details you provide, the better. Although our AI can work with either additional details or URLs, you’ll get a more tailored version if you provide both.

Does Google Rewrite Meta Descriptions?

It happens more than you think

Google rewrites meta descriptions over 60% of the time on average. That’s more than half the time (this number is probably even higher now). Why does that happen?

According to Google’s John Mueller, there are three reasons: [quote this]

  1. The first reason is poor use of a meta description by not using it to summarize the web page.
  2. The second reason is to more accurately match the search query with the web page when the content is missing part of the search query.
  3. The third reason is because Google is trying to match the search query with the content but the match isn’t in the meta description.

When is Google more likely to rewrite?

Studies by Ahrefs and Search Engine Journal say there are a few factors that can increase the chances of a rewrite:

  • Long-tails vs fat-heads: Long-tail keywords get more rewrites.
  • Lower search volume: Less searches = more likely rewrite.
  • Lower search positions: Comparing positions 1–3 and 4–6, the latter gets rewritten more frequently.

So why bother writing them?

There’s still a good chance Google uses yours. If you’ve worked so hard to get on the first page of Google, why give up the opportunity to get more clicks?

However, if you had to prioritize, go with pages that are meant to rank in Google, already getting organic traffic or are often shared on social media.

Conclusion

Getting on Google search engine result pages can be a challenge. So make the best of it when you're there.

With compelling meta descriptions that speak directly to your target audience, you can boost your CTR and conversions.

And if you need a hand, try our meta title and description tool—it'll help you supercharge your SEO efforts.

Sushi
Growth
Sushi has years of experience driving growth across ecommerce, tech and education. She gets excited about growth strategy and diving deep into channels like content, SEO and paid marketing. Most importantly, she enjoys good food and an excellent cup of coffee.

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