Do Meta Descriptions Affect SEO?

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A common misconception in the SEO world is that meta descriptions are not important to SEO. This is not the case at all. Here’s why.

What is a meta description?

A meta description’s purpose in life is to describe a page in 160 characters or less. We want all descriptions to accurately describe the page people are potentially clicking on. A clean meta description tells people what the page is about, improving click through rates (CTR).

Examples of a Good and Bad Meta Description

Below is an image showing 2 different search results. One result has what I would call a “good meta description”. The second one is not so good. See the difference? Which one would you click on?

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How Meta Descriptions Affect SEO

What good is getting to the front page if people are going to click onto a competitor’s site? Is editing this meta description not a part of optimizing your website for search?

It has long been assumed by some of us and recently proven that CTR directly affects SEO. In other words, a better meta description means more people clicking through to your site leading to even more increased rankings.

How did this SEO myth get started?

In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s using keywords in the meta description helped pages rank. Search engines quit using these tags as a direct ranking factor a long time ago.

Meta Description Problems to Avoid:

Keep your copy easy to read. The point of the description is to accurately describe the page and also induce people to click through to the page. Misleading people will lead to a poor user experience which will increase bounce rates or lead to other issues one way or another.

Use unique descriptions for each page. If you leave them off, Google will generate them for you, and, sometimes they will do this anyways. Do not use the same meta description on every single page. Google directly advises against this here in this video:

Len

President at Telapost
I create content and do SEO for law firms, small businesses and companies worldwide. I have been generating traffic online since 1992. I have owned multiple successful companies. I'm an organic eater, nature lover and German Shepherd owner. Feel free to contact me here.
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