Understanding the Meta Description Tag
The meta description tag is used on the search results page to display snippets of information about a particular website. This tag has no direct influence on your search engine rankings.
However, optimized meta description tags are still very important because they are used to entice readers to click through from the SERP. Clickthrough rate is a key user engagement factor in the RankBrain algorithm.
Writing an Effective Meta Description Tag:
Keep it informative.
Tell the reader what they can expect if they click through to your webpage. Consider starting your description tag with action-oriented words like “Get”, “Discover”, “Learn”, etc. to make it more persuasive and appealing to the reader. Let the reader know what’s in it for them if they click through. Use power words that will motivate them to want to click through.
Keep it unique.
The description must be written differently for each web page. If the meta description tag is the same on two or more different URLs, the page could be viewed as duplicated content and could be filtered out by the Panda algorithm.
Add schematic mark-up
Adding schema to your description tag can help it stand out from other listings in the search results. For example, five star ratings in the example below, are normally associated with high quality.
This is likely to entice the searcher to click through.
Include your most important keywords.
Although the Meta description tag doesn’t factor in Google’s ranking algorithm, it could influence the searcher to click through if they find its content relevant to what they are looking for. This is why it is always important to include your target keywords at the beginning of the tag because to increase the relevancy of the description to the search query.
Use the correct length.
It is important to ensure that your Meta description will not be truncated. You can make sure of this by using the right length when crafting your description tags. The correct length for description tags is 155 characters as far as Google is concerned.
Avoid keyword stuffing.
Just because Google doesn’t factor the description tag in their ranking algorithm doesn’t mean it will be acceptable to stuff keywords in the tag. Keyword stuffing any of the elements of a webpage is a fast track to a manual Google penalty.
Make sure that the keywords you use are directly relevant to the theme or topic of the webpage, and be sure to include LSI keywords to increase relevance.