Meta descriptions are essential for any website using search engines. This relatively short bit of text is an HTML attribute that acts as a summary of a webpage’s content, used to help improve a website’s performance by giving searching visitors a preview of what a page is about.
Until now you needed to make sure that your meta description was relevant to the content and that you purposefully drafted one, instead of making search engines automatically generate one from your website text. As with most Google requirements, the ‘ideal’ meta description is constantly evolving to meet the changing needs of internet users. So how do the latest set of changes impact you?
The biggest new change
Recently back in March we did an article on Googles December 2017 update about the length of Googles Snippets. So whats new? The biggest change you will have noticed came into effect this May, which sees meta descriptions reverting back to a shorter length. In December this amount was almost doubled, resulting in an ideal length of about 300 characters but with cut offs occurring after about 160 characters this is no longer recommended. So what happens if you’ve already implemented longer meta descriptions?
What do I do now?
The best thing to do is not to have a knee jerk reaction, instead chill and see what Google changes next month. I would suggest instead of rewriting every single one of your meta descriptions or shortening them, instead we recommend you leave your descriptions as is and implement the shortened characters going forward.
What will benefit your business will be to consider writing your descriptions with less emphasis on keyword cramming and more emphasis on enticement. This means starting with your most important point before adding any supplementary or explanatory information and it will ensure that your meta descriptions remain concise. If they do run on for a bit longer, it will have enough of a hook to keep them reading further or clicking through to the website to read more.
Guidelines for effective Meta Description writing
According to Search Engine Journal, you should ensure that you follow certain tips to ensure meta description success:
- Don’t duplicate any meta descriptions across webpages
- Don’t obsess over character counts at the expense of readability
- Use keywords organically – don’t cram them in nonsensically
- Make sure you optimise for rich snippets
- Include a calls to action
Click through to the full article to read even more tips for meta description writing as well as to see some great examples in action.
We are expecting Google to announce major changes to the SEO landscape in July some have been officially revealed by Google and as you would expect a lot has not.
I believe we are seeing Google putting into testing a lot of new algorithms prior to this date. Hold off for now, and chill out till we know more, as there is little point to redoing all your pages if you don't have to.