As you comb through search results you will find a variety of site descriptions within the organic listings. Without these description users wouldn’t know which websites to select. The contents of a meta description tag contain important information about the contents of a page and is displayed when users perform search queries. Without this meta description tag search engines will have no choice but to assemble a description from snippets of text found within the content of a page. This description is often mechanical and doesn’t reflect the true purpose of a page. This article discusses why meta descriptions are important for branding and a few tips for SEO experts to consider when creating these tags.
The meta description of a page is an important aspect of search marketing. This tag contains a description of individual pages within your site and is displayed to users when they perform search query. These descriptions do not directory improve website optimization but does provide an opportunity to brand your business. Meta descriptions can be used to display important information that is beneficial for users. As an example, the meta description for the SEO services page within my site is displayed within Google search results as:
I chose to include my phone number within the description to encourage those interested in my services to call. I also include a very brief 2 sentence description of the services I provide.
You will notice that within the above description that certain keywords are bold. The results displayed were based on the search query I performed using the keyword “Calgary seo services”. As a result Google displays the keywords “Calgary”, “SEO Services”, and “Services” in bold to improve user experience. It is important to include the keywords your site is optimized for within your meta description. However, this has been abused in the past by inexperienced SEO experts stuffing the description with numerous keywords. The end result is was description that looked totally inorganic and decreased user experience. Search engines are on the lookout for keyword stuffing and will penalize anyone site that looks suspicious.
You will also notice that not all of the description is displayed within search results and some of it is cut off. The length of the description is important. For example, if a description is less then 50 characters Google might not display it and assemble its own description from snippets of content from the page. To avoid this be sure your description contains at least 1 to 3 well structured sentences.
A common mistake made by inexperienced SEO experts is to include the same meta description for each page within a site. Each page of your site contains different information and therefore should have a unique meta description. A well optimized site will have unique meta data for each page within a site that matches the content.
Search engines are about relevance and if the content of your site doesn’t match the meta description it will confuse search engines. If your description is entirely different from the content of your site it will be perceived as deceptive and result in a penalty.
A well written meta description provides an opportunity to brand your business and draw user attention. A meta description should consists of 1 to 3 sentences that describe the contents of your site and be unique to each page. This description must be relevant to the content of your site and the excessive use of keywords should be avoided. An enticing meta description can distinguish your business form the competition and can help drive organic traffic aware from your competitors and to your website.