Simple SEO Tips – Meta Descriptions

16 April, 2013

Meta descriptions are an important element of your SEO activities. A meta description is essentially a small summary of your page content and you can see these descriptions in action as short snippets on search results pages. While meta descriptions aren’t a major factor in boosting your search engine rankings, they are still considered essential for driving traffic to your website and this is ultimately why they play an important role in the jungle that is SEO.

Why is the meta description important?

The meta description has significant potential to influence whether a person clicks on your link and visits your website. Think of it as your opportunity to make a good first impression. All the same rules apply – people make judgements in an instant and you only get one chance to make a good one!

When you type a query or search term into Google, the search results page will come up with a host of results and will show you the title of the pages relevant to your search, as well as a short description.

When indexing your website, search engines crawl through your meta description tag.

A well-crafted meta description will give the reader a clear idea of what they can expect from your page. Ideally, your meta description should also have a call to action. When you write compelling copy in your meta description and include a call to action, it increases the click through rate (CTR) for your website. The more visitors to your site, the more chances you have to build business.

Here’s an example of a great description that has information as well as call to action.

Compare & book cheap flights and airfares from 180+ domestic / international airlines. You save more with us: no flight booking fees!

Here’s another example of a website that reveals all it has to offer, but does not have a call to action.

ABC Accountants are located in Pitt St, Sydney and provide business tax accounting services.

What to keep in mind while creating description tags

The description tag should ideally capture the essence of the page without being too long. Try to limit it to about 160 characters (think Twitter post length). To make it more search engine friendly, you should include keywords and each page of your website should have a unique meta description.

There are no hard and fast rules for writing your description tag but you should allow the text to flow smoothly so that the description and your message is clear to your audience.

Where to place the meta description tag

When creating your meta descriptions keep the following top of mind:

  1. Every page needs its own unique meta description. Since the content on each page is different, try to use a description that captures the uniqueness of the content.

  2. While using keywords in descriptions can be useful for boosting search engine rankings, use keywords naturally and don’t try to cram in too many. Google will notice! Create a concise description with a clear message and good quality content.

  3. Search engines use meta descriptions for indexing your page, so ignore them at your own peril!

We know it can seem like a jungle out there, but with our gorilla hints and tips, hopefully you are a bit more prepared about what to expect and better equipped to learn how to thrive. Who knows? One day you might even become king of the jungle! Keep an eye out for the next article in our Simple SEO Tips series – ‘Page text’.

By Nathan Manning
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