Like cursive handwriting or personalized thank you notes, the art of writing a strong meta description seems to be leaving us. A part of every web page that used to be treated with respect and concern is now considered a quick afterthought on the way towards putting a new piece of content online.
That’s unfortunate, because the right meta description can do quite a bit to help you with search engine optimization and conversions. While it might not be the SEO tool it once was—Google pays virtually no attention to your meta descriptions—it still has immense value.
To understand why, you have to recognize that the 135-160 characters you fit into your meta description might not show up as search signals, but will be displayed within search engine results. So even though you can’t use them to get a number one ranking, they can convince searchers to click through to your page.
With that in mind, let’s take a quick look at why meta descriptions matter, and what you can do to make yours shine…
Include Important Search Phrases in Your Meta Descriptions
Even though Google won’t be looking for search terms in your meta descriptions, actual searchers might be. In fact, if they see the same term they searched for appear in the preview of your web page, it’s going to appear in bold text. That means you have a chance to make your search result stand out in an instant, which will drive more clicks to your website, regardless of where you appear in a set of search results.
Make Your Meta Descriptions Clear and Inviting
You can make your meta descriptions a powerful tool by crafting something that sounds like a clear overview of what a searcher can expect if they click through the results, along with adding a few keywords. It also helps if your description is inviting, with a subtle call to action such as: “Read this article to learn three crucial pieces of information about…”
Remember that meta descriptions are for searchers who are on Google, not the search engine spiders themselves. Don’t push too hard to make your descriptions seem spammy or over the top, because that is likely to work against you. And make sure to proofread for obvious typos or grammatical errors, as these will suggest your website is a low-quality source of information.
Don’t Use Meta Descriptions as an SEO Tool
It’s worth reiterating that Google and the other search engines won’t use your meta descriptions for search ranking purposes. You may remember a time when they were an important factor in search algorithms, but those days are long gone. Therefore, you won’t get any benefit from stuffing keywords and exact match terms into them.
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