Meta Description Tag: Everything You Should Know!

We feel sorry for those people who think that updating meta description is a waste of time. Personally, I have come across many SEO’s who don’t write a unique meta description for every page, because it is not a ranking factor. If you are one of them, read till the end because we are sure that this post will inspire you to believe that it is still a worthy thing to focus on SEO.

The Meta Tags are your first impression with the user who is probably landed for the first time on your website through Organic Search. We can’t afford to miss out the fact that Meta Description is still Important for SEO & plays a handy role to increase your CTR.

What are meta descriptions?

Meta Descriptions are the short summary of your web page, that is visible just below the Title Tags in the SERP.  Before clicking on any result, the user reads the title & description of the web pages. That’s why it is the best place to showcase what you are offering to the users.

Let’s have a look at the descriptions of all the Search Engines:

Google Meta Description

Yahoo Meta Description

Bing Meta Description

DuckDuckGo Meta Description

The above meta descriptions are short, sweet and descriptive. While reading it,  you will get an idea, what type of service a brand provides. It is a good example of how your meta descriptions should be

Why isn’t Meta Description no longer a Ranking Factor?

In 2007 Google Officially stated in a post that Meta Descriptions are important for improving click through but are not considered as a ranking factor.

Here’s the Official statement by Google:

Why does Google care about meta descriptions?

We want snippets to accurately represent the web result. We frequently prefer to display meta descriptions of pages (when available) because it gives users a clear idea of the URL’s content. This directs them to good results faster and reduces the click-and-backtrack behaviour that frustrates visitors and inflates web traffic metrics. Keep in mind that meta descriptions comprised of long strings of keywords don’t achieve this goal and are less likely to be displayed in place of a regular, non-meta description, snippet. And it’s worth noting that while accurate meta descriptions can improve click through, they won’t affect your ranking within search results.

In 2009 Google again emphasized on this point stating:

“Even though we sometimes use the description meta tag for the snippets we show, we still don’t use the description meta tag in our ranking.”

That’s the reason many people have started ignoring meta description as an important factor and most of the times it is written just for the sake of it.

Is it Worth to Update Unique Meta Description?

According to a Moz article written by Dr Pete Meyers, Google uses two matrices for ranking search results.

1) SERP Click Through Rate

2) Dwell Time

CTR

CTR metrics

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Search Engines are more concerned about the user behaviour and want them to find a relevant and satisfying information. As we know description tag is the best place to pitch your service and convince the user that the page is exactly what they’re looking for. Therefore it is important to write personalized and relevant meta description for every page with the right set of keywords

Dwell Time

The time a user spends on your website also affects your ranking position. If your website content is engaging and encouraging the user will stay on your page for a long time, which will eventually send a signal to Google that this result is perfect for the user.

How are description snippets generated?

As Google describes on their webmaster blog

Earlier snippets came from 3 places

1 )The content on the page:

The content of the page is an obvious choice for result snippets, and the content that can be extracted is often the most relevant to people’s queries. However, there are times when the content itself isn’t the best source for a snippet.

2) The Meta description:

The logical fallback in cases when the content of a page doesn’t have much textual content for a search result snippet is the meta description.

3) DMOZ listings:

Finally, when a page doesn’t have much textual content for snippet generation and the meta description is missing, unrelated to the page, or low quality,  the fallback was DMOZ, also known as The Open Directory Project.

But with DMOZ now closed, Google has stopped depending on them for getting good snippets.

With this, there is only 2 option left the page content and manually written meta description. But sometimes meta tags generated by the webmaster is inaccurate, low quality and off-topic.

So it’s better to play safe and write relevant and enticing meta description to improve CTR.

Tips for writing influencing meta description

Be Descriptive and Specific: Meta description is the place where you can connect to your user and convince them through the enticing content.  Write what you are offering to your user and describe what your page contains. Tell them what will they get if they will click on your link.

Be Compelling: To get high click through rate you have to tug your users. Writing a meta tag that invites a response, this can help you to attract potential users to click on your website. For instance using call to actions Contact us, Call Now, Shop Today

Use Keywords: Google doesn’t  recommend to use Keywords in the description as they are not a ranking factor. But keywords may not matter to search engine but they do matter to users.

Whenever you search for any query the relevant words in meta description gets highlighted, this can grab the attention of browsing person. In the given example you can see men’s casual shoes is highlighted when i search for casual men’s shoes. 

Keyword in meta description

Check the length: Google says that there’s no limit on how long a meta description can be, but the search result snippets are truncated as needed, typically to fit the device width. So it’s better to stay in limit and write content within 200 characters.

As you can see the description is ending with an ellipsis(…). Indicating an incomplete sentence.Truncated meta description result

 

 

Conclusion:

Meta Descriptions are still an important element in SEO and should not be neglected. They may not be a part of ranking factor but still holds the value in getting that precious clicks to your website link. Start focusing on these small factors which are very easy to implement & we are sure that you will see big results out of it.

Let us know in the comments section, what is the best  

 

 

 

 

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