The meta description tag is not the magic answer that will place your website at the top of the search results. But, if you’ve ever heard an SEO consultant saying that
this tag doesn’t matter for the search engines, it’s time for you to reconsider. Some even tell you that Google completely ignores that tag. Nothing could be further from the truth.
To prove my point, I will give you the simplest example. Let’s take a look at one of the www.pamil-visions.net pages. We’ll analyze “SearchWiki Fuels Defamation” page.
The image below shows how this page is indexed by Google:
Google SearchWiki Fuels Defamation
Google gives your enemies the tools to bury your brand under a pile of trash.
The second line of the listing is the very meta description some SEOs consider unimportant. You can see the meta description in the image below or by visiting http://www.pamil-visions.net/searchwiki-fuels-defamation/ and viewing the page source.
If you understood how to write page titles you already know how to write page descriptions. The page descriptions are also part of that “first impression” we were talking about in the “Page Meta Title” article.
Sometimes the search engines do not display the meta description in their results, but a snippet of your page content. For example, as you will see in the image below, when you search for “public relations” in Google.com you find the Wikipedia on the first position, but the page source will show you no meta description.
This is because the search engines are smart enough to recognize within your content the most relevant terms for a specific search query. This is also the undisputed proof that trying to horse around the search engines is foolish.
When the search engines display a snippet of the content of the page as the description of your site, there is nothing you can do to make that description appealing — all you can do is write appealing Web copy everywhere.
But when the search engines, as demonstrated above, show the meta description in their results, it is in your best interest to write that well. A good description will appeal to the surfers, making them click on your link, perhaps even bypassing the higher ranked search results in favor of yours.
Google indexes only 156 characters, so writing a longer meta description is pointless. As with page titles longer than 67 characters, a long description will also appear truncated in the search results. If you care about aesthetics and Google standards, keep your description to 156 characters or less.
How should you write your meta description tag? Follow the same rules that we set out for writing your for page title tag: write naturally, let the text flow smoothly and make your message clear for the readers. Most importantly, summarize the content of the page for your visitors so they know exactly what they will get when they click on your link and visit your page.
The correct placement of the meta description is in the <head> section of your HTML code, after the page title tag <title> and before </head>:
<meta name=”description” content=”The 156 characters description that uses your main keywords and convinces the search engine surfers that your website is worth a visit.” />
- The meta description tag needs to be page specific. A different one for every page of your site.
- Do not stuff it with keywords. DO use your main keywords as they occur naturally in the logic of the text.
- If they index it, they don’t ignore it. So the meta description tag does matter for the Search Engines. Use it.