One of the first things that anyone new to the world of search engine optimisation will encounter are Meta tags, the title tag, the keywords Meta tag and the thing I’ll be covering in the blog today, the Meta description tag. A question that is often asked to people who work in SEO is whether or not you actually need a Meta description tag. Well, the reality is that no, technically you don’t NEED to use a description tag on your website, but by the same token technically you don’t NEED to have two legs, however, you’ll certainly perform a lot better if you do.
I say you don’t need to have a Meta description because it has no direct influence over how your website performs in the search engine result pages, so therefore optimising your description for SEO purposes is largely pointless. That being said, a good quality Meta description is far from a waste of time.
When you create a Meta description for your website, you are stopping the search engines from inserting a snippet of text that it feels is relevant to the searchers query. Instead, you are dictating that Google should show a piece of text that you have specially crafted with compelling calls to action and an accurate summation of the webpage in order to entice more users into visiting your website.
An ‘Elevator Pitch’ is a situation where people are asked to describe and sell themselves or a product in a very short space of time. Essentially, this is how you need to think of your Meta descriptions; as an abstract or sales pitch for your webpage. If your description succinctly sums up the contents of your webpage while highlighting the benefits you can provide visitors that your competitors can’t, then you will increase the visits your site gets from organic search.
As I said at the beginning of this blog, a Meta description has zero direct influence on where your site ranks in Google, however, it can have a very positive indirect influence. If you create a meta description that means more users click through to view your website, you are increasing the chances that they will link to you or socially engage, which will directly influence SEO performance. You are increasing the likelihood that the visitors to your site will become converters because before they visit the page they have already been made aware of the benefits.
So, Meta descriptions can have value in search engine optimisation, but it’s just that the benefits it provides isn’t direct. So, in conclusion to this short blog about the importance of meta descriptions, I’ll leave you with one piece of advice. Stop thinking about them from a technical point of view, and start thinking about them as a marketer.