In the world of Search Engine Optimization, there are certain SEO tactics such as Meta Description tags that often get overlooked. When people hear the word SEO, they are probably thinking about keywords and how to rank them high on search results. Don’t get me wrong, keywords are vital in the success of SEO (not meta keywords, but that’s another topic), but an area that seems to be ignored or created improperly are Meta Descriptions tags. Yes, they still matter and should never be left off any web page.
Why Meta Description Tags are Important
Well, description tags are a piece of the puzzle. Search Engines crawl your site and when they do this, the first area they search for keywords can be found in the description tags. It’s crucial to make sure you include your most important keywords when writing the description. They are going to be a brief description including the most important words on the page limited to 160 characters or 200 at most.
The maximum amount can be at 260 characters but most search engines cut off the description following 153 characters. By doing so may result in readers to continue moving downward on the results page to other searches.
A rule of thumb, don’t cram the field with keyword after keyword after keyword. You get the picture. It doesn’t really do you or the website any good and many of the search engines use the description tag as your short blurb when the site appears on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Visitors that come across your site through search results are more likely to click on a site with a well written and concise description consisting of keywords they are searching for compared than those that incorporate meaningless and choppy sentences filled with keywords. I think you get the picture.
To Code or Not to Code
Here is an example of the code for Meta description:
If your website uses WordPress, there are plugins that eliminate you from having to work directly with HTML. These plugins make it easy to include descriptions and the fields are located on every pages of the site. With a plugin, you’ll be able to include the meta description and preview it before you publish the web page. Simple.
Don’t use Quotes & Duplicate Description Tags
When quotes are used, Google cuts off the description. It’s best to remove all non-alpha/numeric terms as this will prevent it from being cut off. If you must use quotes, use single quotes rather than the standard double quote.
Similar with content, avoid duplicate description tags. By writing unique descriptions relevant to the content on each page will results in better search results. Description tags are a key factor in effective SEO and should be included right away.
Make Sure You Remember:
Descriptions are critical in attracting traffic to your site
No duplicate content. No duplicate content. No duplicate content
Length of description: 156 but no more than 200 characters
Make sure description is relevant to the content of the page