As a fellow human who appreciates easily accessible information, let me start off by saying that metadata is your friend. We’ve been talking about making your information easy to find with keywords, specific URLS, etc., but meta descriptions (and meta tags) are another very important component. Basically, these descriptions provide information about your website’s content that is readable to and prioritized by search engines.
For example, say you search “how to make brownies.” The search engine will spit out pages of different websites relevant to your search. Meta tags (which are essentially a list of keywords) and meta descriptions (a series of short sentences containing keywords) are the primary sources that the search engine will grab from. In fact, the meta description is what the search engine will typically show below the link to your site. This description serves the function of advertising, which draws your readers to your site based on how much sense it makes to them, and other factors. Generally, search engines cut any descriptions longer than 160 characters, so be sure you stay within this limit. And of course, keywords remain important. If the keywords the reader searched for are included in the meta description (perhaps even in bold), they are more likely to visit your page.
Here are a few tips to remember when writing meta descriptions:
- Stay within the 160 character limit, including spaces and punctuation.
- If you use quotations, the search engine will cut off the description.
- In fact, do not use any alpha/numeric characters.
Meta descriptions are highly undervalued components of search engine market, but they are just as important as all the other pieces. Understand and use them, and your website will benefit from it! And as ever, if you would like some support in this area, just give us a call!