I have had a few folks ask questions about my previous post on SEO Basics and I promised that I would cover using meta desciptions for SEO in more detail today. First, a friendly disclaimer: I am NOT an expert in this area–I am still learning.
Your meta description, on the most basic level, is simply a short summary of what your web page is about and writing one is as easy as writing a compelling sentence or call to action. It is important in attracting new visitors to your website. If you want to boost your new visitor click-thrus from search engines, you have to have a great description of your web page listed in the search engine results pages. In fact, your meta description is often what the search engines display on the results pages.
- Meta descriptions should be no more than 160 characters long. Search engines will cut them off at that length.
- Each page and blog post on your website should have an accurate, focused meta description that is unique to that page or post. Unique descriptions for each page help both people and the search engines tell your pages apart, especially when multiple pages from your site are shown in the search engine result.
- Meta descriptions for blog posts may also include the author's name, date, or other relevant information.
- If the keywords or key phrases searched for are in your meta description, they will appear bolded in the search engines results page to enable people to quickly determine if this is relevant to what they are searching for.
- Do not stuff keywords into your descriptions or use a long list of keywords separated by commas because it will look like spam to visitors and the search engines.
- Do not write descriptions that are irrelevant to the content on the page.
- Resist the urge to write long descriptions just to fit in more keywords.
- Do not simply copy-and-paste a large block of content from your post.
- Avoid confusing the search engines and people by using the same description on more than one page or post.