There are two main sides to any internet marketing undertaking. They are content creation and SEO. You have to marry the creative and technical if you want to make friends and influence people online.
Though, more accurately, you need to get your content in front of a targeted audience. Then, compel them to stick around long enough for your message to get through.
In this three-ring circus, it’s not enough to curate the acts. Instead, you have to get butts in seats. Maybe you’re already lucky enough to have the expertise and linguistic prowess.
That will literally spin gold from your most basic ideas. In that case, you’re already way ahead of the pack.
You still need to master the technical aspects of content promotion and SEO. Let’s say you decide to pay an expert to help you out with this side of online operations.
In doing so, you still need to understand the importance of titles, tags, and Meta data in general. This is especially true because they toe the line between creative and technical aspects of content creation.
Plus, you ultimately have to approve of anything created by a third party. Therefore, it’s best if you have a solid understanding of how different aspects of SEO work.
That includes Meta descriptions. What are these? Why are they important, and how does Google use them? Here’s what you need to know.
What Are Meta Descriptions?
Meta data is content you provide for search engines. This is done so they can more easily index your site and offer up your pages for relevant search queries.
Meta data includes title tags and Meta descriptions. Both of these serve as a sort of synopsis for your website’s content.
Meta descriptions are also called “snippets” by Google. They are short paragraphs. They describe your content showing up under your title and URL for relevant SERPs.
A title acts as a teaser. Conversely, the Meta description provides additional information. This helps users decide if they want to click through to your page and continue reading.
Are you’re using WordPress or other page-builder software? If so, you shouldn’t have much trouble figuring out how to add the Meta descriptions.
Perhaps, you do your own HTML coding. If so, the Meta description will land in the section. You can find sample code online.
Why is Meta Descriptions Important?
An argument could be made that Meta descriptions are just as important as titles. Titles are used to match your content to search queries. They are the first point of contact for hooking readers. Yet, many search users want more.
We are all confronted with millions of results for a query. Thus, savvy users can quickly scan a page of results. They look past titles to see what more they can glean from Meta descriptions.
Think about it. Users may come across an entire page of titles that show minimal variation. How then to choose the most suitable result?
Users look at the Meta descriptions to narrow their options. Thusly, they try to make the best choice. This makes Meta descriptions extremely important.
Often, titles all look the same. Therefore, the Meta description could serve as the deciding factor in whether or not users click through to your pages.
How Does Google Use Meta Descriptions?
According to Google, Meta descriptions are not a ranking factor. They can, however, serve as a factor in delivering SERPs for advanced search operators.
That said, Google has a lot of qualifiers for how to create appropriate Meta descriptions. The length should be between 135 and 160 characters (not words, characters). Therefore, if you’re a master of Twitter, you’re probably good to go.
Add the most important keywords in your Meta description. However, don’t keyword-stuff. Copy has to read like a legible sentence that belongs in the English language. Don’t use the same description for multiple pages.
Google likes rich snippets. What the heck is this? It has to do with including easily digestible chunks of added value that boost the appeal of your entry.
The best examples are star ratings or other customer ratings. You could also add product information. This includes things such as sizing, color, calorie count, and so on.
Finally, and this is important, the content of your Meta description has to match the content on your page. Relevance is important to Google users, and therefore, to Google.
Naturally, you always want your descriptions to be compelling and accurate. This is done for a reason. It’s in order to show the best results for click-through, and subsequent conversions.
Your main goal may not be to satisfy Google algorithms. Yet, you still need to create descriptions that meet Google standards. They must present the most compelling case for clicking through to your pages.
Do not phone it in when it comes to Meta descriptions! Every piece of information you provide counts, so write for results.
Uh-Oh, You Made Mom Mad
Having problems getting your Meta descriptions to show up? There’s a good chance you’ve done something to upset Google. There are some common infractions. These include Meta descriptions that are too long or too short.
They shouldn’t be too thin on useful, relevant information for users. Google might also object to your overuse of keywords. They may even take exception on other types of blatant over-optimization.
You need to make sure your descriptions are the right length, for starters. The text must be relevant to both your content and to user search terms. Maybe you think you’re doing everything right.
Yet, you still can’t seem to meet Google’s exacting standards. In that case, perhaps, an in-depth tutorial straight from the source will help. Check out this Google info page and video from Matt Cutts: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/35624?hl=en
Then there is a long and short of writing Meta descriptions. It’s that you really need to put some thought and planning into them. You can’t just pull the first sentence from your content and expect it to suffice.
You need to select the most important and relevant keywords. You should craft your Meta description around them. You have to enhance the title. This will provide potential readers with further enticement to click through.
You have to do all of these things. Plus, you must stick to Google guidelines if you even want your Meta description to show up. Meta descriptions can make a difference in conversions. Therefore, take the time to do them right.
If you have a comment about this topic or suggestions about future topics leave the in the comment box below.
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