Let’s clear something up right away: the Meta Description has no impact on your search ranking. However, it is one of the most important snippets of text you can write in terms of search engine optimisation.
For those of you that aren’t familiar with the term, a Meta Description is a small piece of text that exists in the code of a web page. It is used to describe the content of a page and is utilised by many search engines, including Google, for display in the search results.
Many content management systems allow you to customise the Meta Description for every page of your website. If you are a WordPress user, the Yoast SEO plugin is the perfect tool for easy management of your Meta Descriptions, as well as other SEO elements.
Some platforms, especially e-commerce ones, dynamically create Meta Descriptions based on page content or product descriptions. This may seem more practical when it comes to a large e-commerce site, but it is not always optimal.
Meta Descriptions are Important!
Meta Descriptions play a vital role in the search results, and leaving the text displayed to chance just isn’t sound business.
If you don’t supply a Meta Description at all, Google will provide one. It will work out what it thinks your page is about and use selective pieces of text to create its own description. In some circumstances this is better than leaving to a dynamic system, but again it isn’t always ideal. The exceptions may be where a page targets several keywords, or in the case of a very large product catalogue, leaving the description to Google may be best.
Don’t Forget Social Media
Do have in mind that if the page is likely to be shared on social media, some platforms such as Facebook, will use the Meta Description for the text used in the update. The Yoast SEO Plugin does allow WordPress users to handle this on a granular level.
The Meta Description is the ad copy for your page. A well-written Meta Description will support your SEO efforts leading to more click throughs from the search results. A poor Meta Description may result in that top 10 position you have optimised going to waste as searchers overlook your listing in the results for that of your competitors.
A well crafted Meta Description will be snappy, concise and contain keywords pertaining to the page. The keywords are not there for rankings, we’ve already said the Meta Description has no part to play in ranking factors. But Google will make any words matching the searchers phrase bold, meaning they stand out in results.
Keeping the copy to around 150 characters will ensure it displays in full most of the time. Text that is longer than this may get cut off mid-sentence, and will be less effective as a result of this.
Advice From Google
If after all of that you are still not convinced, then don’t take my word for it. Listen to what Mat Cutts from Google has to say about the Meta Description in this short video:
Review Your Meta Descriptions Today!
I would highly recommend revisiting your Meta Descriptions, especially for pages that rank highly. A great Meta Description can really increase the click through rates from your search results.
Need help with your Meta Descriptions? Call us on 01603 3343477.