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SEO 101: Why Meta Descriptions Matter

SEO 101: Why Meta Descriptions Matter

By Marc Reifenrath on July 31, 2012 in Digital Marketing

So what are Meta Descriptions? Technically speaking, they are HTML attributes that provide a short summary of the contents of web page used on search engine result pages for a particular page.

Simply put, Meta Descriptions are the short overviews you see below the page title in search engine results pages. They provide the user with a snippet of information on what to expect if/when they click.

While search engines don't rely on Meta Descriptions to help determine a site's rank in the search results, Meta Descriptions are quite important to the user. Site owners are allowed 160 characters to "advertise" to potential site visitors and entice them that their listing is the listing the user is looking for, and the one the user should click on.

So how exactly do you write a "good" Meta Description? Use the tips below to make sure yours are paying off and producing more clicks.

  1. Entice the user with a clear call to action, why should they care...why should they click? Simply start your sentence, or end your sentence with an obvious action verb like "read", "discover", or "view". In some cases, posing a question may work even better. The question you ask might be the same one they're thinking in their head.
  2. You've got 160 characters to work with, why not use all of them? Try to write enough content to at least cover two lines, and maximize your visual exposure.
  3. Think about the keywords that make up your content, and think about the keywords users would typically search for. If the term(s) the user searched for matches any of the keywords in your Meta Description, those words will be highlighted (bold) in the search results.
  4. Last, but certainly not least, write persuasive copy that's meant for the user. While your rank in the search results is certainly important, the user is the target and they ultimately make the decision: to click, or not to click.

Do you have Meta Descriptions for your most important pages?

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