The Meta Description is nearly as important as the Meta Title. Here are the things that you should be aware of and take into consideration when creating your meta descriptions.
- As an SEO Element the content of the Meta Description is used as a strong indicator as to what the page is about.
- The Meta Description will appear below the Meta Title in Google’s SERPs.
- There is a 155 character limit to what Google will display for the page description in their SERPs. Just like the Meta Title, if your Meta Description exceeds the 160 character limit, Google’s algorithm will construct it’s own page description for you, eliminating your control over what the user is seeing.
- The Meta Description should start with the most important keyword or phrase for that page, and then offer a one-sentence description of what the page is about, with a call to action and preferably use of supporting keywords that have been assigned to that page as appropriate.
Social Titles & Descriptions
Just like the page title and description elements help you control what Google will display on their search results page, there are social title and description elements for Facebook, Twitter and Schema.org mark up that is used by Google+ and other social sites, that can allow you to control the title and description of the post when it is shared on those social networks. Unfortunately, most people simply default to the main page title and descriptions for the page… but in many cases, this is an opportunity lost.
The messaging that works well in social networks to attract clicks is often quite different than what we create for Google’s search results. Remember, the main titles and descriptions that we create for Google are designed to incorporate the main keyword we want to rank for and stay within Google’s character limits. But, for social networks, we just want to draw attention and get people to click.
This is a great place to get creative, or possibly to use some of those catchy title formulas you have in your swipe file! (Oops… don’t know what a swipe file is? It’s a file that you keep on your computer. As you browse the web, social networks and your email inbox, when you find a catchy title, copy and paste it into your swipe file. Then, go back and read those occasionally for inspiration for your social titles and descriptions).