How do you use your website's Meta Descriptions? I have found three broad categories for answers to that question.
- I don't know how to use it so I don't
- We put our company tagline there for Marketing consistency.
- We write a unique description for each page.
The Meta Description Marketing OpportunityI like to approach the use of Meta Descriptions as a Marketing Opportunity, not as an SEO asset. Search engines do not necessarily use the content of the Meta Description tag in any of their ranking algorithms, instead it is used as display in the Search Results Pages. So how is this a marketing opportunity? Think about the Meta Description as your last and best opportunity to convince a Google searcher to click on the link to your website page. Your page appears in the search results, along with 10 other organic search results, as well as Pay Per Click ads. The searcher has up to 15 listings to choose from. The meta description you have carefully and skillfully crafted has the ability to influence and drive traffic to your website.
The SEO Value of Meta DescriptionMany reports and SEO experts indicate that the content of the meta description tag on your website pages is not used by Google or other search engines in their ranking formulas, so the content may be considered to little or no SEO value. However, and this is important, click through rates on search engines are reported to be a ranking signal, on Google, and on Bing, perhaps on others as well. An influential meta description therefore, which leads to higher click through rates, does actually contribute to SEO results.
Characteristics of Great Meta Tags
- unique, each page on your website should have a meta description written specifically for that page
- contains keywords early, words that match the search term will be bolded, if they appear early in the text, they will be more noticeable
- 140 to 160 characters, the max visible characters depend on the character width. Keeping to 155 is a safe description length.
- helpful, tell the searcher what they will find on the page