Meta Description Tag: An overview As the name suggests, the Meta Description Tags provides us with a short description of what is inside a website. You many not find the tag on the website, but you will see it as part of search snippet on the search engines.Although not taken as a source of rankings now, there are still some search engines, such as Baidu, which base their rankings on the content in the tag. According to Google, the tags do not have a direct effect on the rankings. Rather they affect indirectly and enhance the rankings of a website.
Importance of Meta Description Tags
Apart from the Title tag, the search engines will show the content of your Description Tag as part of search snippet in your potential viewer’s search results. Since there will be a lot of content to choose from, a viewer’s decision to visit a site will depend on the description provided in the Description Tag.
As an example, if someone searches for cheap holiday resorts, and finds prices of holiday resorts (in Meta Description Tag), then there are very high chances of the person clicking on the link, as compared to other links which do not provide relevant information.
If your description appears first on the search results, then you will have a higher Click-Through Rate (CTR). A higher CTR would mean that you get higher rankings in the search engines. Hence, better the content in the Description Tag, the higher the rankings.
It is not just the CTR which determines your rankings. Rather, you need to have a lower bounce rate as well for the search engines to give you higher rankings. You can avoid lower bounce rates by adding relevant data in the description tag.
How to Optimize the Data in Meta Description Tag
Here we have some tips for you to add higher quality content in the description tag to ensure better rankings:
Uniqueness of the Content:
In order to optimize your content, it is imperative that you add unique handwritten content in the tag. The data should not be plagiarized, as entering duplicate content will lead you to receive a warning message from Google Webmaster. In order to locate duplicate data on the website, go to Google Webmaster Tools, then Optimization and then choose HTML Improvements.
Unique descriptions have the capability to enhance a user’s experience, and thus, will lead to better rankings. The description on the tags should be unique too, as the content on two websites is distinctive as well.
In case you have a large number of web pages on the websites, handwritten descriptions will seem unreasonable. Hence, you can use programmatically generated descriptions in case you have a lot of web pages to work on, and save the handwritten ones for the main pages only. Whichever method you choose, make sure the content is relevant and unique.
Character Length of Meta Description Tags
Since around 150 to 170 characters will be displayed on the search results, it is futile to keep your descriptions long and boring. Keep brief and concise descriptions and make sure that you add a keyword in the beginning.
<meta name="description" content="example of a meta description. .">
Although you can add as many keywords as you want to, but it is advisable not to stuff the content with the keywords. One or two relevant and concrete keywords will do the job for you and will be highlighted in the search snippets. This will increase a viewer’s attention to your web page, leading to an increase in your rankings.
Alphanumeric Characters to be avoided
Since search engines will take your alphanumeric characters as HTML codes, it will not add value to your strategy, and will not do any good to your descriptions. Hence, it is advisable that you avoid alphanumeric characters, and insert plain text only.
Meta description tags are similar to advertisements in the sense that they are utilized to grab a viewer’s attention. Hence, your tags should display the most relevant and attractive information, compelling the audiences to choose your website over that of your competitor. In order to successfully do the job, you need to add keywords which are related to the description in the tag. As shown by the example above, if your keyword is cheap holiday resorts, your description should contain information about the prices of holiday resorts, to convince the audience to click on your web page. In your description tags, make sure you briefly describe any discounts or packages that you offer with respect to the holiday resorts.
Moreover, if you think that your website contains information related to the search, but your description tag does not, you can use new algorithms by Google to use content from your website, rather than from the tag. Google does a great job in retrieving the most relevant information anywhere from the website. You will not enjoy this facility on every search engine though.
The information displayed on the search snippet will depend on the description of your website on DMOZ. Hence, you can benefit from your listing on DMOZ if you do not want Google to retrieve your information. All you have to do is type the code below:
For all other search engine: <meta name=”robots” content=”NOODP”>
For Google: <meta name=”googlebot” content=”NOODP”.