Have you ever wondered how the major search engines decide what to display under each site’s entry in the results pages? You can rest assured that such content is not selected at random. It is in the best interests of a site like Google to provide users with clear, concise ideas about what they will find on any given page. As a result, meta descriptions and title descriptions, which are crawled by search engine bots and spiders, are often used in such instances. Those descriptions are not automatically generated when you design a site, though. They need to be added manually. Find out more about why they are so important below.
What is a Meta Description?
The meta description tag is a tag that is located in the header portion of a website’s HTML code. It is sandwiched between the HEAD and /HEAD tags. Some people downplay the importance of the meta description tag, but there is no question that it comes into play more often than not. It is designed to contain a short, concise summary of the purpose of any given page or website. It is often displayed alongside other information in the search engine results pages or SERPs, so it must be accurate and informative.
What is a Title Description?
A title description tag tells search engines what the title of any given page is. It is also located in the header portion of a site’s HTML code. By necessity, is has to be a lot shorter than the meta description tag. Search engine bots pull this information and use it to assign titles to pages that appear in the SERPs. By including a title description tag, you can influence how the title of your site appears in the rankings. Keep in mind that this tag also determines the default title for your page whenever someone bookmarks it.
Keywords and Key Phrases
In order to develop a robust and effective SEO strategy, you need to incorporate your keywords and key phrases wherever and whenever you can. The title description and meta description tags present great opportunities for doing so. When you choose the key phrases and keywords that make up the backbone of your campaign, you have to ensure that they are relevant to the overall theme of your site. Therefore, making them work within the title or the description of the site should be simple.
One mistake that you should never make is to simply write lists of your keywords and key phrases within your title and meta descriptions. That is not what those tags are designed for, and it can even get you into trouble with the search engines. The search engines are very diligent about keyword stuffing. If they crawl your site and see tags that are filled with key phrases and keywords, a red flag will be raised. The only exception is the meta keywords tag. That particular tag is specifically designed to list your site’s most relevant and important keywords and key phrases.
Calls to Action
You probably already know all about the importance of including calls to action within the content on your site. You should also include a call to action within the meta description of each page on your website. That way your call to action will appear in the SERPs, where it will increase the odds that a person will actually click through to your site. When you write the call to action for your meta description tag, make sure that it makes sense from an SERP standpoint. In other words, it should be short, to the point and easy to follow.
How these Descriptions Appear in the SERPs
The basic design of SERPs is easy enough to understand. Each site is typically listed with a hyperlinked title. A brief description typically follows the title; in some cases, an excerpt from the content of the site appears instead. As you write the content for your meta description and title description, keep in mind how they will appear when they are listed in the SERPs. Will they flow together naturally? Will they complement one another? You need to avoid awkward, clunky phrasing. The end result should be smooth, readable and compelling.
Leave Title Descriptions and Meta Descriptions Blank at Your Own Risk
Some people dismiss the importance of meta descriptions and title descriptions. If you think they just aren’t worth your time, you need to understand that you are leaving a lot to chance. When those tags are left blank, the search engines have nothing specific to go on. In turn, it is all too likely for them to generate awkward or irrelevant titles and descriptions for your site’s pages. Many times, excerpts from a webpage are chosen at random. All too often, they make absolutely no sense. Omitting the meta and title descriptions is a good way to alienate and confuse Internet users.
The bottom line here is that it doesn’t require a whole lot of work to create unique, relevant and keyword-rich title and meta descriptions for your site. The small amount of work that is involved is sure to pay off in spades down the road. Including this information gives you a lot more control over how your site’s pages appear in the SERPs. They also serve to bolster the overall effectiveness of your existing SEO campaign. In short, there are many great reasons to use them and no reason not to.