There was a time when all meta tags considerably affected rankings and the overall success of a website. They were initially intended for search engine spiders that crawl the web. At the moment, only the Title meta tag still influences your rankings. Since 2009, two other major meta tags, Description and Keywords, has stopping affecting rankings. And while Keywords tags have lost all importance, the Description meta tag still matters because it is, to some extent, responsible for the amount of visitors to your website. Therefore, it is very important to pay attention to this tag and write it thoroughly.
So what is a meta Description tag? Meta Description contains a brief summary of the website (if it is a description of a homepage) or of a concrete page. It serves two main purposes:
- It provides additional information about the website to search engines.
- This description is often used by search engines as a description of a website on search engine results pages. So it gives an idea of what your website is about to those users who see it on the search engine results page.
Here’s a meta Description example:
<html> <head> <meta name=”description” content=”Your site’s summary goes here”> </head> </html>
Most modern content management systems support meta tags and have separate fields for them. So there is usually no problem adding or amending this tag there. If you have an HTML site, please note that the HTML meta Description usually goes between the <head> and </head> tags.
Here are recommendations on how to make your page description work for you:
- Be honest. Never try to trick search engines with false page descriptions and do not pretend to be someone you are not. It means that your description should clearly state what your page/website is about. If you have a website dedicated to ship repair, do not try to persuade search engines that you belong to some other niche - even if that niche has more traffic. This won’t help, and in fact, it will harm your project.
- Do not duplicate information in the Title and Description meta tags. Both tags should complement each other to give the best result.
- Keep your page description meta data short. If your meta tags are too long, they will be just cut by search engines. As a general rule, always make sure that your meta description length doesn’t exceed 150-160 characters (including spaces and punctuation).
- Be simple and descriptive. Don’t forget that you make descriptions for human, not just for search engine spiders.
- Be creative and attractive. Your meta name Description is the first thing people see and it is kind of a business card for your website and business. If they like this description – they will click the link and go to your website. Remember, you won’t have a second chance to make a first impression.
- Add call-to-action elements into the increase adwords CTR. If you ask people to do something in your description, there’s a high chance that they will really do it. A good and appealing description can improve your click through rate and drive a lot of users to your website. In fact, it is a kind of short ad texts. So you should insert such elements as “Click here,” “Discover how,” “Read more,” “Visit us,” etc.
- Make sure that you have descriptions for every page on your project. You can check it in Google Webmaster Tools.
- Make sure your Description tag properly describes your website/page and contains relevant keywords. It is not necessary to have all descriptions be unique, but different types of pages should have specific descriptions.