What Makes an Effective Meta Description Tag?

What is a META Description Tag?

SEO TipsA meta description tag is a sentence or short paragraph that gives a brief summary of the content that is included on a webpage when searching for keywords. It can encourage a user to click on a link and explore your website, which can lead to sales.

Meta Description Tags ARE Still Important

Google announced in September 2009 that it would not use meta descriptions in its ranking algorithms. Do not think that description tags are not important, however. They still provide valuable information that will heavily influence your website’s click-through rate.

A meta description tag will appear when a user searches for a keyword. This brief snippet of information will tell the user what your webpage is about so he or she can decide if it is worth looking at. You therefore want to create meta description tags that clearly and succinctly summarize the content that is contained on the page.

Keep It Natural Including Keywords

Unlike the title tag, a meta description tag is written in sentence form and should use keywords in a way that will look natural and make sense to a reader. Search engines will bold keywords in the meta description tag that the user typed in the search box.

For example, if you are promoting a water park, you could write, “X Water Park is Connecticut’s leading park with fun summer activities for the whole family. Plan your summer vacation today.” This description includes the name of the business and important information and keywords that users could search for to find your company.

155 Characters Works, Much More Can Get Yours Truncated

A meta description tag should be up to 155 characters long (including spaces). Search engines will usually truncate meta description tags that are longer than 155 characters. Each meta description tag should be unique and should summarize the content on each page.

If you use quotation marks in your meta description tag, Google will cut it off. To prevent this, you should avoid using quotation marks unless they are important to the meta description. In that case, you can change them to single quotes to prevent the meta description from being truncated.

Meta Description on Every Page?

You do not always need to write a meta description tag. You generally should if you are targeting one to three keywords, but if you are targeting long-tail phrases it may be better not to include one. If you have many articles, blog posts, or product pages, the search engines will look for the most relevant text. Creating a meta description tag in that case may make a page seem less relevant to the search engines.

If you want to share a page on social media sites, such as Facebook, those sites display the meta description tag when the content is shared. If you do not include a meta description tag, the social sharing site may just take the first content it finds, which may not create a good user experience.

Let Us Know What Your Site is About

While a meta description tag does not help with rankings in the SERPs, it is nonetheless an important part of your SEO strategy. A well-written meta description tag explains to users what your website is about and encourages them to click on a link, which can generate sales and revenue for your business.

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