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I am about to wrap up a big project and at the moment I am preparing my Meta Descriptions (around 80 total). This website will focus on educating the general public about a particulate industry and its benefits.

A lot of content has been written with great visuals explaining how everything works. Since most content is about the same subject that is segmented by sub-group, I am having some trouble with coming up with Meta Descriptions that are not repetitive. Most follow this format:

Find out more about the [sub group topic] of [main topic].

or

[Main Topic] is known for its [sub group topic]. Learn more about [sub group topic].

or

Here is how [sub group topic] performs compared to other industries.

Is the appropriate for an education-type site? Should I go with something that goes straight to describing the [sub group topic] instead of asking the user to take an action?

  • I say yes to your last question. I think you should rather write a unique text for each sub group topic. I would rather click on something where I see a detailed description instead of something like Find out more about the [..] because this is too general. – Luca Steeb Jun 3 '15 at 13:56
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I think that's more about marketing and CRO.

After you divided and categorized your pages in topic and subtopic, also think about the intention of the user when he would find one of this website's page.

You can divide for example by the known 3 intentions:

  • Informational
  • Navigational
  • Commercial/Transactional

For informational queries, you need to add more details. If you can, extract the first phrase of the body copy if they're well written and can anticipate the content.

For navigational queries, the last one example is good. Maybe you can add a little detail that reinforce the brand.

If you have also pages for commercial queries (like a paid teaching program), add a CTA about the benefit you gain with the purchase, like:

Become a [x] in [sub topic] now

After you get good quantity of quantitative data, optimize your top 10 landing pages and write a unique description by hand.

In general: specificity and relevance are 2 fundamentals for writing good snippets (so, title included).

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Its similar compared to writing a page for SEO as Keywords are the prime focus.

When making a meta description tag (or even a title tag), you want to take as many words in those tags and try to make them the most used in your document.

Your meta description #1 of...

Find out more about the [sub group topic] of [main topic].

...is probably not great because you have a lot of filler words such as "find out" and your keywords are towards the end.

Your meta description #2 of...

[Main Topic] is known for its [sub group topic]. Learn more about [sub group topic].

...is a little better but you have a couple of filler words stuck together like "for its".

Your meta description #3 of...

Here is how [sub group topic] performs compared to other industries.

...contains better words, but the first three words are like filler words. I would vote for this meta description if I only had these three to choose from.

Here's a site that tests how well your meta tags are in comparison to the rest of your site. You'll have to answer a basic math question for each test that you run.

http://www.seoworkers.com/

And here's a good site to help you figure out how your filler words are affecting your page.

http://textalyser.net/

When using textalyser and you scan a document, look for the two-word phrases section under the "prominence" column to see how important the words are compared to the rest of the document. You're aiming to have your keywords have the highest percentage and you want filler words to have a low percentage.

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