The SEO meta description is flushed with controversy. Some places say you do not need it, and others insist that this is an important part of gathering traffic to your site. I am here to tell you that both sides are right.
Meta descriptions are not technically needed for SEO, but they should be wanted! These descriptions are the sneak peak into the contents of the site, and getting that click through to your material is very important for SEO.
As you read below, you can see which way you want to go with meta descriptions – to use or not to use is the question!
What Is A Meta Description?
The meta description is the text you see underneath the title in a Google listing. This basically tell you what is on the site. The meta description is not needed, per say because Google will show the text around your related keyword.
You want to be the person providing the answer to the question from the customer. The problem here is that the surrounding text provided my the crawler at random may not be what the customer is looking for (even though the answer they are looking for is on your page or post). Therefore, I feel that doing the meta description is an important part of SEO (if only to cause open rates of your URLs!)
How To Write A Meta Description
Your meta description needs to have three things at the same time: 1) It must be the right length, 2) it must include the primary keyword, and 3) it must entice a reader to click on your link.
The meta description is a terrific place to stick two different keywords together that are about the same subject! You would be surprised how many different combinations of keywords you can add while still maintaining a readable flow of text!
The other part of the meta description is to not over think it. It is really a summary of the page or post. My special trick is that I take the first paragraph of my page or post and tweak that for my meta description.
The SEO meta description reminds me of doing writing essays with a thesis. Basically, the meta description is like the thesis of the page or post with a hint of sales copy.
Another hint is to put your business contact information and location in the meta description of the pages with services only. Use the other meta descriptions to talk about the SEO content.
WordPress Meta Description
When writing the meta description for WordPress, I used a plugin made by Yoast for this. All WordPress installs are benefited by this plugin as it helps grade your page or post SEO immediately. (See our WordPress light review in this article.)
You will be able to see what you have done right (and, well, less right) as you go along. The meta description WordPress plugin by Yoast is highly recommended.
Meta Description SEO And More
This week (following Onsite SEO Step By Step), we have covered tips about the requirements needed before beginning, the title, the URL structure, the content, and finally the meta description. This is the biggest chuck on doing proper SEO maintenance for your site. J Hunter, the head of VA Staffer, agrees that /this/ is the reason his website rose in the ranks effortlessly.
By following the steps laid out in this weeks posts and next week’s posts (starting with Onsite SEO Image Tips), you are going to get a terrific handle on the difference between regular content writing and SEO content writing.
What would you do differently when making your SEO meta description? Please comment below!