It’s been quite a while since Google announced that its algorithms wouldn’t take meta descriptions into account for rankings, but even today, there is no denying that they still have a large impact on bringing visitors to your site.
The reason populating meta descriptions for your web pages is so important is that they spell out exactly what search engine users will find when they click through to come to your website.
This text won’t just show up on search engine result pages, though. It will become the focal point of link previews when shared on social media sites — another huge reason to make sure they are conveying the most relevant and useful information to encourage people to click. The same goes for many social bookmarking networks like Digg.
If you decide not to write meta descriptions for your pages, google will typically pull copy from the first paragraph on your website. While this may be fine in many cases, you won’t really have control over how it fits into the preview or which keywords are included.
It’s generally a safer bet to create your own description so it has a better chance to bring in the visitors you really want coming to your site.
Tips for Creating the Perfect Meta Description:
- Treat your meta descriptions as an opportunity for organic ad copy or a call-to-action for your page - it’s a great way to make sure they are working to boost your click-through rates.
- Come up with an enticing and concise description of your site - keep it to between 130 and 155 characters (including spaces!)
- Include keywords and phrases you hope to rank for within the description. Search engine users will see them and know that your site can provide them with the information they’re looking for.
- Search engines bold the searched keywords within your meta description, so it’s important to do your research before deciding which ones to include.
- Don’t overdo it by duplicating keywords in a spammy way — search engines and their users are smart enough to notice.
- Avoid non-alphanumeric characters like hyphens, plus signs, and quotation marks to prevent the meta description from being interpreted as html code and being cut off by Google.
That’s just about all there is to it! No part of this process is exceptionally difficult or time consuming, so there’s really no excuse to avoid sitting down and creating meta descriptions that will be of tremendous help to your digital marketing efforts. The benefit they provide to your search engine and overall web presence is more than worth it.
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