Meta descriptions: what you should include

Written by: Peter Fisher on February 6, 2016
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Meta descriptions have been around for a very long time but they still play an important role in organic search engine optimisation. I keep seeing so called SEO experts and marketeers neglecting meta descriptions which result in pages ranking low on search engines.  This leads to poor site traffic and sales.  Websomatic has helped businesses increase their search traffic by improving their meta descriptions. In doing so we have come up with five tips you should consider when writing good searchable meta descriptions.

When writing good meta descriptions it is important to consider these five tips.

What are meta descriptions

A meta description is snippet of of text that should explain the websites page. These snippets are shown under as the description of a search result and are often displayed under the page title. A meta HTML tag is used to store the description and this should be put inside the head tag of a web page.

Meta Descriptions

Keep it short and sweet

There isn’t a golden rule here but we like to keep to a limit of 150 characters. But this is only our rule of thumb and we treat each page differently.  We have seen meta descriptions exceed 200 characters which has worked fine. As long as it describes the page without waffling on and in a manner that Google and other search engines can use.

Expand on the page title

Meta descriptions should enhance the page title and give a better explanation of the page. For example if the contact page had the following title: Site Name | Contact Us London UK, its description could include the actually address and telephone number.

Contain at least one keyword

Search engines will be inclined to ate your page hight in the search results if a word in the description match one of the search keywords. Most search engines will highlight or bold the keyword in the description.

Each page should have its own description

The most common meta description mistake that I have seen is when the homepage meta tags have been copied to the other pages. This is a big no no and should be avoided at all costs. Imagine trying to find a book in a library where all the blurbs and titles are the same.

Each page should have its own description and it should explain only that page.

Contain structured content often searched for

How many times have you searched for a part number, manufacturer name, SKU code, opening times, a shop in your town, a price, a telephone number, or any other structured data. These can all go in the meta descriptions. If the visitor is specifically looking for that technical specification then they will find it more easily if it is included in the description.

Let us do the hard work for you

If your website has taken a dive in the search rankings or if you suffer from duplicate page descriptions and need help with your SEO then get in touch. Websomatic can help increase traffic to your site by optimising your website and making it a more welcoming place for search engines and visitors alike.

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Peter Fisher is a UK based freelance web developer and cross platform mobile applications developer. He has a degree in E-Commerce and Multimedia and has worked for many web design agencies and hosting companies.

Peter has his own web and mobile development blog and is the host of the HowToCodeWell YouTube channel.

Read more about Peter Fisher

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