This blog post can be tied back to the blog post published on 26th September 2011 titled ‘What is a Title Tag?’.
Title tags and Meta Description work hand in hand beautifully and is complimenting each other. Same as Title Tags, the Meta description is the forefront of your business on the online world especially the Search Engines. It is usually an expansion or a more detail explanation of the title tags. This particular Meta data should be about 150-160 characters long and crisply explain the content of any given page. Directed more toward the visitors rather than Search Engine, it should be like a form of punch line or a pitch which may increase the click through rate to your website.
So does having it increase my ranking in Search Engines?
The answer to that question is no. It is true that Google does not factor in Meta Description to its algorithm to determine ranking as per their official blog post. However when used effectively, Meta Description can be the crucial catalyst in order to boost incoming traffic. In the best practice it ought to interest and tempt potential visitors to click on your link, much like when you are pitching a product to your targeted market.
Here are a couple of tips on how to optimise your Meta Description:
- Within Length: As mentioned above, the recommended length of Meta Description should be no longer than 150-160 characters. More than that will get truncated.
- Write Convincing Copy: Your Meta Description should be as inviting as possible because a compelling copy will increase the click through rate. Also avoid cramming various keywords into this. In the case of many products/categories, then it would be wise to choose 2 or 3 key phrases that can represent the page. Moreover, do not mislead your potential buyer; if you offer cheap accommodation for example then avoid saying luxury and vice versa. It is also NOT recommended to have one general Meta Description for every page on your website. The Meta Description on the homepage would be significantly different than product page.
- Utilise free resources/tools: There are many available free resources/tools at your disposal across the World Wide Web in terms of optimizing Meta Description. One very useful tool is Google Webmaster tool, as it will help you identify errors such as duplication, etc. In case of hundreds or thousands of product pages, which will make it nearly impossible to edit Meta Description by hand, you can utilize a free program or plug-in that can automate this process.
Having Meta Description is like having a control over what will be displayed on your business listing in Search Engines Result Page (SERPs). So why would you NOT grab that power and directly influence it for the benefir of your Online Marketing Campaign. However there might occur some instances where Search Engine scrapes snippet of content and display that instead of the available Meta Description, due to a higher relevancy to what the user searched for according to the Search Engines.
Image credit search-engine-land on Flickr