Google announced back in 2009, that Meta Descriptions do not have an impact on the Search Engine Optimisation ranking of a website. As a result, the Meta Description has been long overlooked by digital marketers and website owners who typically devote their time to more well documented SEO initiatives.
However, populating the Meta Descriptions for your web pages is a simple task. It doesn’t take long to complete but can have a huge impact on your website’s overall success as a digital lead generation tool. By populating the Meta Description, you have a better chance of Google displaying the snippet of text you require below your listing in the search result.
Descriptive and well-written Meta Descriptions are more likely to be displayed, which can in turn lead to significantly improved click through rates to your website. As people browse, this can be the best opportunity to capture their attention.
What is a Meta Description?
A Meta Description is the snippet of text displayed below your page title and URL in search engine results, as you can see below:
Why Should I Care?
Although the content in a Meta Description doesn’t directly factor in the search-ranking algorithm, user behavior does. Specifically Click-Through Rate (CTR), is one of the factors that Google considers in its ranking process, and the meta description is the most important feature for improving click-through rate from search results pages.
Writing Meta Descriptions: Best Practice
If you have a blank Meta Description, Google will pull content from your page to display. You have no control over the information that Google will deem important enough to pull from your page, so leaving your Meta Description blank is a huge lost opportunity.
Follow our simple steps to writing a Meta Description and best position your website for success.
Meta Description Length
Google can display a maximum of 160 characters, including spaces, in each Meta Description. Try to fill this word count, but keep your description within the limit so that your user isn’t missing any valuable information.
Although your Meta Description doesn’t directly affect your Google ranking, you should include the keywords targeted on-page. Google highlights these keywords in bold so the user can quickly see whether your page is relevant to their search; further improving click through rate.
For example, when searching for ‘Lead Generation’, you can see the keywords in bold in the Meta Description below:
Use Quality Descriptions
Make your Meta Descriptions truly descriptive by including a well-written summary of the on-page content. High-quality descriptions can go a long way to improving the quality and quantity of your search traffic.
Include a Call to Action
By including a call to action in your Meta Description, you gain another way of increasing the click through rate to your site. Simply writing ‘Learn’, ‘Discover’ or ‘Find out More’ can give the searcher a compelling reason to click through to your page.
Have A Unique Meta Description for Each Page
Remember – it’s individual pages that appear in the web results, so best practice is to include a unique Meta Description for every page of your website, as they are all potentially searchable and indexable by Google. Put a bit of time and effort into developing unique descriptions that are tailored to each page. Google advises to use site-level descriptions on the main home page or other aggregation pages, and use page-level descriptions everywhere else.
Entering Meta descriptions isn’t difficult, and often the back end of your website will have this set up as a user-friendly functionality. Speak to your web developer if you’re having trouble implementing your Meta Descriptions as they are an important aspect of your on-page SEO that should not be ignored.