What is a Meta description and does it affect a webpage’s search engine ranking? In this article, we try to answer these two frequently asked questions in detail, and perhaps help you craft the best Meta descriptions for your web content.
What is a Meta Description?
A Meta Description is a precise summary of the overall webpage’s content. It’s a tag on the page’s HTML code that summarizes what is in store for the reader when they click the link. On the search engine results, the Meta description runs right below the title tag and the page’s URL. After the title, the next thing that will catch your attention is a short description (the Meta Description) that gives you some details on what you’ll find when you open the webpage.
Does the Meta Description Affect Web Ranking?
Unfortunately NO. In 2009, Google announced that Meta Tags and Meta descriptions are not used to determine a webpage’s ranking on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) to the disappointment of many website owners who had invested in compelling keyword-optimized Meta Descriptions.
However, the announcement does not in any way invalidate the importance of a good Meta description, and there are statistical data to back this bold claim. 43% of people reportedly click on specific search engine results based on what they read on the Meta description.
So how does this affect your search engine ranking? Well, Google, for instance, employs Click-Through-Rate (CTR) to determine what content is good for the frequent visitors looking for specific material. While the Meta Description itself does not directly help your site rank favorably on the SERP, it indirectly increases your page’s CTR and Google will certainly take notice and rank your site better. See the relationship? Now that’s how a good Meta Description can help your website.
How to write a compelling Meta Description
Writing a good Meta description is simple once you get the hang of the things that matter. Read on to find out what matters:
- Make your Meta Description Short and Sweet
Google had announced in 2009 that a Meta description didn’t really matter in determining a website’s SERP ranking. In 2017 they increased the Meta Description characters from 160 characters to 320 sending mixed signals to website owners. They later reduced the characters a year later perhaps to communicate clearly that Meta Descriptions weren’t that important.
To avoid having your Meta Description cut short, you must maintain it at between 150 to 155 characters. Short and compelling, get it?
- Include valuable focus keywords
Focus keywords or focus key phrases are specific words you want your webpage to rank for. If you’re selling silk fabric you should mention it on the Meta description, and why people should buy from you and not other merchants. In less than 160 words you need to be as enticing as possible least your potential client will be snatched by a competing website.
- The Meta Description should match the web content
One thing you wouldn’t want your site to be associated with is misleading information. Your Meta Description should provide a summary of your webpage’s content and not something entirely different. You’ll piss off visitors and by extension hurt your Google ranking.
- Insert a subtle call-to-action
After giving a riveting snippet of what the visitor will find on your page if there are more characters left you can include a subtle call-to-action to nudge your visitors a little into clicking the link.
- Make it enticing
Your Meta description should entice potential customers to click to find the whole information. No one would click a dull Meta description unless they are desperate and your website is the only available option which will never happen. If you’re interested in learning more about SEO for business reach out to our experts here at Faceless Digital today!