We can’t emphasize this point enough; the odd art that is known as search engine optimization is changing all the time. There are one or two things that have remained fairly constant over the years and one of those is that when it comes to SEO, meta descriptions really do matter – often to the point where they really are your last best chance to capture a reader’s full attention when your content does show up in their search results. The problem is that many people do not know just how to make the most of what can be a very valuable tool. Here are some tips:
Writing a Great Meta Description
Use Action Words
Rather than just lifting the first few lines of your content (which a search engine will do if you don’t bother with a meta description at all), use the space to create a bit of a buzz about it. Try to incorporate words like learn, discover, or even grab at the beginning of the description to catch a browsing reader’s attention.
Describe the Benefit Your Content Offers Honestly
There is nothing more annoying than clicking on a description of interesting content to find that it is not what you expected at all and having to click back to find a different result that is. Misleading your potential readers is wrong – and Google is beginning to categorize really obvious examples as spam – so use your 155 characters (the best length for such things) to give an accurate, but honest, preview of your content.
Don’t Repeat the Title
The Internet real estate you have to work with within a meta description is very limited. Do not waste any of that space by simply basically repeating the title of your content in your meta description snippet. The searcher has read your opening pitch in the form of that title. Now, close the deal on a click thru by convincing them it is worth a few minutes of their time.
Don’t Keyword Stuff
Years ago it was the common advice of many an SEO that a meta description should be as full as keywords as possible. That was pretty awful advice back then – something like “New York lawyer discusses how to be a good New York lawyer” is hardly compelling stuff is it? Search engines were less sophisticated then though and for several years, some people had some spotty success with the practice.
Over the last few years, as any webmaster knows, Google’s crack down on keyword stuffing has been intense and many a site that used to rank OK was blasted right out of the SERPs for their keyword stuffing sins. The penalties also apply to hand crafted meta descriptions as well though – something some people have yet to realize.