What are meta descriptions?
SEO meta descriptions are not just the new and shiny digital must have for this season; they have been enriching your content for many years now. A meta description is essentially a meta tag that summarizes the content of that specific web page, indexing it if you will. Only 50-160 characters in length, these Meta Descriptions are an opportunity to give a concise snapshot of what the web page holds, working to attract the right searcher and eliminate the wrong ones.
What makes your meta description?
50-160 characters is a tight limit, so what should be included and what can afford to be left out? Like any marketing effort, you should lead with what you are offering and why the reader should buy from you/visit your page. This is where your unique selling points and niche topics should be present, so that you can quickly highlight what to expect. If you’re the only one in your competitor set offering free shipping, are locally made, or hold one of Australia’s largest collection of wigs online – let them know if your Meta Descriptions!
When do you write meta descriptions?
Simply put, always. Although it is important to remember that not all Meta Descriptions are made equal, with product pages infinity more easy to create than home pages. Why? Well a product page is very specific, and your searcher needs to gather only a few details before clicking through. A homepage houses more content and capabilities, and so your Meta Descriptions needs to be both generic and nuanced. Your instinct will be to top up your Meta Description with a wealth of keywords, but don’t waste the word count if it’s not vital. Google said in 2009, and continues to say, that Meta Descriptions do not factor in Google’s algorithms and ranking for web search.
Meta Description Vs SERP Snippets
If until now you assumed that a Meta Description and SERP snippet were the same thing, you wouldn’t be alone. Meta Descriptions are the HTML tag that you create and control in your own capacity. The SERP snippet is generated by Google, showing a piece of the webpage that features within your content that uses searched keywords. In some instances, the SERP snippet is a well-rounded example of contained content, and sometimes it can be a little off base. Recently Google extended the snippet to include more content, only to scale it back in six months time. It’s always recommended that you write your own Meta Descriptions to support the automated SERP snippet, but not be pigeon-holed to only that SERP snippet.
You can see if your SERP snippet is going to fit by using this meta description length checker tool
The greatest part about Meta Descriptions is that you can enhance and revise as often as you like, with the process of creating one being so simple. Your product page Meta Descriptions will be easy to engineer, so take your time with homepages and adjust your output as you learn more about your unique page visits.