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Do Meta Descriptions Matter for SEO?

Meta Descriptions Matter for SEO
22 Sep 2015

Since 2007, Google has been pretty clear that they don’t consider the keywords in your meta descriptions when determining your search rankings. This statement has led some digital marketers to simply ignore the little snippet of information that shows up below your title in the SERPs—but doing so is a big mistake. Just because Google doesn’t pay attention to the keywords, the meta description is still crucial to your SEO strategy.

Meta Descriptions and SEO

So maybe the keywords used in your meta description don’t help your SEO, but user behavior absolutely does. When a large amount of people actually click on your SERP listing—and then stay on your page—Google realizes that you are indeed relevant to the keywords being searched, and your rankings will improve.

On the contrary, if your meta description is lousy, and very few people ever click through to your page, then your rankings will drop. So, yeah, we’d say the meta description is pretty darn important for SEO.

Tips for a Stellar Meta Description

Now that you realize the meta description is, in fact, important to your SEO strategy, you might be lost as to what makes a good one. In short, your meta description should be a concise, compelling description of what the reader will find when they visit the designated page. Here are our best tips on how to do that:

  • Use action verbs, such as learn, discover, and explore, to paint a picture of what the reader will accomplish when they click on your link and to help your meta description stand out.
  • Be specific about what the page is about. As great as a click is, it’s pointless if the user just clicks right back out of your site because the page isn’t delivering on what the meta description promised.
  • Make sure that you still include a few keywords. While keyword stuffing is certainly a no-no, you want the reader to be assured the page offers what they are looking for—plus the keywords are bolded on the SERPs, so your meta description will stand out more.
  • Don’t give it all away. While the meta description should offer enough information that the reader knows what to expect, you still want the leave them curious enough that they will continue with the click to find out more.
  • Stick to 160 characters or less. Google only provides limited space for your meta description, so if it’s longer than 160 characters, the rest will be cut off.

In summary, your meta description is your sales pitch to the reader. If you can write one that is concise, persuasive, and intriguing, the reader will have no choice but to click—improving your click-through rate and position on the SERPs in the process.

For help with your meta descriptions and complete SEO strategy, contact Zero Gravity Marketing.