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Meta Descriptions: The What, Why and How

March 10, 2016
Aaron Polmeer

By bdeutz@leightoninteractive.com (Bridget Deutz)

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Meta descriptions. Blegh; sounds complicated, right? Two years ago if someone would have asked me about a meta description I would have assumed they were trying to talk nerdy to me. It sounds like code, and something that is way over my head.

Wrong.

Meta descriptions, despite their stereotype, can be broken down in a fairly simple way. The more content I create and the further I dig into inbound marketing methodologies, the more I realize how important meta descriptions are, and how a powerful meta description can make or break. I’ve turned to the experts many times when it comes to understanding meta descriptions, and I’m here to share what I’ve learned. Check it:

First Things First: What is a Meta Description?

Experts at MOZ explain meta descriptions as “HTML attributes that provide concise explanations of the contents of web pages.” What? Let me break it down … You know when you Google something, and a list of results come up? A meta description is those couple sentences under the title that describe the search result. My friends at HubSpot describe a meta description as “the snippet of information below the link of a search result.”

Stay with me – here’s a screen shot:

WHAT_IS_A_META_DESCRIPTION

Basically a meta description is what is ready to help the searcher decide whether or not to click the link to an article or web page. A meta description helps convince or persuade readers to choose your site. Oh, and the bolded words within a meta description help note which words (keywords, in fact) match those in the search query. Nothing too complicated, right?

Do I Really Need a Meta Description?

So now that we’re on the same page and you’re fully equipped with the knowledge of what a meta description is, let’s talk about whether or not you really need one. There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel here – I turned to trusted experts and dug up some meta description gold.

The short answer to “Do I need a Meta Description?” is yes. The long answer? Yes, and here’s why…

1) Increase Click Through Rates & Improve Visits from Organic Search

The percentage of clicks consistently drops off as you go further down the page, because a more relevant result is, logically, usually at the top of search engine results. So, if your result is far down at the bottom (or not even on the first page of results), you’re already working shorthanded. This makes having a detailed, relevant, and eye-catching meta description that much more important. In short, the better your meta description, the more likely it is you’ll have good click through rates from organic search.via HubSpot

2) Give the Right People the Right Information at the Right Time

Google uses meta descriptions to return results when searchers use advanced search operators to match meta tag content, as …read more

Source:: HubSpot Blog

      

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