What's the Deal With Meta Descriptions?!?!

Posted by Sarah Wai on Sep 21, 2016 8:30:00 AM

importance of meta descriptions
Invest effort into meta descriptions that encourage clicks; don't ignore them just because they aren't officially important to Google.

Why Google Gave Meta Descriptions the Boot, but You Shouldn't

In 2009, Google announced that meta descriptions would have no influence on search rankings. So why is it that we keep optimizing them, or (frankly) even care about them anymore? What impact do they have if they don't affect Google's search engine result pages (SERPs)?

Many believe that meta descriptions are no longer useful and shouldn't be bothered with, but that is simply false, and we are out to crush that myth.

SEO myths

What Are Meta Descriptions?

According to Moz, "Meta descriptions are HTML attributes that provide concise explanations of the contents of web pages." They display preview snippets of web pages, or they display the text chosen by an SEO expert to get users to click on the link to a web page. Either way, the purpose is to give users an idea of what they would be clicking through to.

Why Are They Still Important?

These meta descriptions (along with your page title) are the first glimpse that users have of what you have to offer. They appear on Google and other search engines, across other websites, and on social media channels.

So, obviously, you want to make a REALLY good impression.

Meta descriptions are not something you want to skimp on, trust me. Although they don't affect your rank in search engines, the do affect click-through rates, and click-through rates affect your inbound clientele.

The more descriptive and relevant you can be, the better. Here are some examples of good and bad meta descriptions.

Meta Descriptions to Avoid...

Aren't helpful or attractive

If someone searches for "Best Mexican Food in Boise," they'd be much more likely to click on a meta description that said:

"Fried up in traditional Mexican spices that challenge any food connoisseurs taste buds, our dishes will satisfy..." rather than click on "Mexican food has come a long way since..."

They repeat the title

Not much to say here except that it's pretty obvious that you shouldn't do it.

They're too long

Keep your meta descriptions within the 159 character (including spaces) limit. If your meta descriptions get cut off at your clincher, that doesn't do much for you.

Mouth-Watering Meta Descriptions...

Appeal with emotive language

The best descriptions are ones that you can picture clearly in your mind, and that draw you to them.

Have a call to action

If you call, they will answer.

Give the full answer away

Although the point of this is to gain click-throughs, you'll find that you gain credibility with users when you give the full answer upfront. They may click-through to get a better explanation, and that works just as well.

Refuse to Give Meta the Boot

Invest effort into meta descriptions that encourage clicks; don't ignore them just because they aren't officially important to Google. As we stated earlier: they may not impact search rankings, but they do affect who is clicking through to your site. Every storefront has a window that displays its products in a way that appeals to those on the street. Meta descriptions are your window to internet passersby. Make sure it shows the best you have to offer!


Sarah Wai

Written by Sarah Wai

Content, Email, and Social Media Marketing Specialist of Tribute Media. Bachelor of Science in Digital Communication Arts and Master in Business Administration. Holds HubSpot Certifications in Inbound Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Email Marketing, and Contextual Marketing.

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