Meta Description - Top 6 tips for SEO

Meta Description is the text snippet that is visible just below the title of your page in Search Results. Although Google has announced in 2009, that Google’s algorithm doesn’t take into consideration the meta description and meta keywords for ranking each page, meta-description is important to improve your click through rate in SERPs.

Here are 5 Best Practices while creating Meta Description for your page
 
1) Make it Unique: Always create unique meta-description. Don’t duplicate your meta-description. It is easier said than done. If you are using a Content Management System or an e-commerce suite, chances are that many pages will have duplicate meta-description. Pay special attention to category pages. If you have not added meta-description to the category page, the meta-description from the latest page under the category would be picked.

2) Mind the Length: The key theme of the page should be mentioned in the meta-description section within the prescribed length of 160 characters.  If the Meta Description is too short then the searcher will feel that the page is inadequate to solve their problem. Use 15-20 words in your meta-description.

3) Include Facts: Depending on the keyword that your page is targeting, include facts in the meta description. Let us look at the example for the keyword meta description.

Google’s webmasters Support page has a result for this query
 
Facts in Meta Description


“The description within the <meta> tag is a good way to provide a concise, human-readable summary of ” – that is a fact and immediately gets the searcher’s attention.

4) Manage Expectation:  Another strategy would be to include what can be expected from the page. This will avoid visits from non-targeted users and will also allow you to create articles for a niche audience.

A good example is the first result for the keyword “meta description”
 
Jill Whalen, who is an expert SEO, has written about this topic and has included an excellent meta description
Managing Expectation with Search Results Meta Description
See the date – 16th Nov 2011. Not updated to 2012 but Jill has compensated that with a great meta-description.

“In this updated version” 
Relevant for 2012

“Jill Whalen’s classic Meta Description Tag article” 
 I guess this article was previously a top ranking page.

“she explains how the tag is used in today’s search engines as well” 
Expectation – Explanation on how meta description is used in 2012 

5) Use Keywords in Meta Description:  We still believe that using keywords in Meta Description influences search results.  But keywords alone will not help you to rank in the top page. The time on the page , inbound links, Query Deservers Freshness and domain authority have a huge impact on the Search Engine Results ranking. 

If you are writing about a topic, there would be keywords that are relevant for the topic. You can’t ignore those keywords or synonyms of the keywords in your description. You have to include them.

Let us look into an example.

I searched for “Restaurants in Cochin”. Here is a snapshot of the result

Keyword in Meta Description
Two pages with “Dining in Kochi” in the meta description is ranking for the keyword “restaurants in Kochi”. 

6) Leave it Blank: What?? All the advice on writing a descriptive meta description is thrown out with this advice. Not really! There are certain pages where you might have covered a broad range of topics. Either you can manage the reader’s expectation (as mentioned in 4) or you can leave the meta description blank. Google will find text snippets from the body of your page and include it according to the user’s search query.
 
How can I track Meta Description for Long Description, Short Description or Duplicate Meta             Description?
 
Google webmasters tool allows you to track issues in meta description. After you have registered your website in Google webmaster’s tool, select HTML Suggestions under Diagnostics

Analysing Meta Description using Google Webmaster's Tool
You can see the number of pages with Duplicate, Long and Short Meta Description.  Update the Meta descriptions accordingly.
 
If you want expert help in Writing Meta Description, contact us or you can call us at: India (Ph): +91 9497189032, UK (Ph): +44 (0)20-3371-9976 or US (Ph): +1 650-491-0004

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