The meta description (or “snippet”) explained
A meta description or page description is the small snippet of text that appears under search results and is basically a short describer of the associated page. It should not only contain keywords to assist with page ranking, but should also be readable and entice searchers to click your link.
With our Simple Web Manager websites, you can edit these “snippets” via the website administration to give your website an edge over your competitors. We have listed a few tips to help you create great “snippets”.
How long should a meta description be?
Google determines the length of snippets shown, however they are normally between 135 to 160 characters (we have limited this field in your admin to 160 characters). Recently Google have been trialling longer snippets, but these are not common and not yet industry standard.
Make Meta Descriptions Active and Actionable
The meta description or snippet is an invitation to the page, so make it just that, inviting and enticing and not passive. It should include a call-to -action, like in the example above “Call Justin at Quantum Concrete now for a free quote 027-8615511.”
Think about your Audience when Writing Meta Descriptions
If you have a new product for the tech savvy, consider listing the key specs in the meta description, like price point, key features etc. Think about what would entice that person click your link in a page full of search results.
Your Meta Description Should Match the Content on the Page
This is important. Google and other search engines will penalise results that it sees as duplicates or with unrelated content to the page. You want the meta description to match the content on the page. Nothing annoys a potential customer more than clicking a link when searching for fridges to find they have been duped into visiting a page selling toasters.
The Meta Description should Contain the Focus Keywords for that page
If the search keywords match text in the meta description, Google will be more inclined to use that meta description and highlight it in search results. This could put your result further up the page, meaning more views, more clicks, and more clients for you. Relating your titles, meta description, and page content will all lead to a healthy page that search engines will love and rank highly.
If in doubt, leave it out
It is really important to take the time to create unique meta descriptions for each page wherever possible as this will improve your page rankings and click-through success. As mentioned in an earlier point, Google and other search engines will penalise results that it sees as duplicates, so rather than creating sub-standard, duplicate meta descriptions, leave the field blank and Google (and other search engines) will automatically pick a suitable snippet from the page content.