What is a Meta description tag ?
An attribute that lies within the meta tags and helps to describe a web page is a meta description tag in SEO. It acts as a small fragment of any text noticed under the headline in any search engine results. Sometimes, there is a chance that some snippets of text are shown from the context of the webpage by the search engine.
Meta description tags of a webpage can be seen by right click on a webpage and after that selecting “view source page,” or the user can even choose “View source,” both meaning the same.
The information generated through a meta tag serves few essential purposes. It reflects even text fragments on the search engine result page(SERP) when a user has landed on the web page fulfilling the query it is specialized. The meta description tags here provide brief information on the search engine and enable the user to click and land on the webpage amongst other similar pages.
The meta description tag must maintain the character criteria mentioned by Google. Initially, it was 160 or fewer characters, but now Google has extended the length of the permissible characters. Currently, any meta description tag can be optimized for 275 characters. It plays a significant role in search engine optimization and ranking as the text’s meta description tags are reflected in the summary page in a search engine.
Guide to write the best Meta Description tags
It is essential to maintain some basic points while creating a proper meta description tag :
• Using the targeted keywords and initial research on it is the first step for a reasonable meta description tag.
• Same data should never be used multiple times, even if it is for a different page. They must be hyper-relevant to the required contents of the page.
• It must be a proper communication bridge between the user and the SERP, thereby meeting the search’s urgency and being beneficial to the user.
• It must be compelling to the user and attract their attention.
Shorter meta descriptions: They are preferred over the long ones. Long sentences may confuse the reader. More short sentences than one long sentence hold the reader’s interest and make the content clear. Users generally scan the SERP for clear statements answering their requirements. Meta descriptions must be created accordingly.
The impact on the topic: The topic of the website must be summarized such that the CTR draws the attention of the reader on the landing page. It must give the reader a feeling that he will get the required information clearly and wasting no time.
The use of keywords: The targeted keywords must be used on the landing page with the relevant information. Because when this is fulfilled, the search engine automatically highlights these words in the snippet, indirectly affecting the ranking algorithm.
Creating uniqueness: it must be designed in such a way that every description is unique and not just the title. Duplicate meta descriptions must be avoided, as when a plugin is used for automatically generating the description words, the duplicate words get noticed.
Role of unique character: Though the search engine allows using special characters with the help of HTML codes in the description, excessive use must strictly be avoided. One important reason being the search engine shows an entity (“…”), and readers may not even click on the page.
The Importance of Meta Description tags:
A generic term for meta description tag is attribute tag. It is an HTML indicator acting as a summary and a short description for the contents used in the web page from which the user and the search engine benefit. It indirectly helps in the ranking of the webpage and plays an essential role in search engine optimization.
Research that Google announced in 2009 meta descriptions or the meta keywords does not play a role in the Google algorithm for the ranking criteria. Instead, it helps in the Click-through-rate (CTR), which indirectly helps in the ranking algorithm. Therefore, meta descriptions cannot be overlooked entirely while creating SEO-friendly pages.
We can say meta descriptions act as advertisement copy for any webpage. It draws the attention of the users’ to the particular webpage or website, acting as a marketing tool in the search engine.
An eye-catchy and informative description that will go with the reader’s requirement is essential because it reflects the essential keywords that increase the CTR. Meta descriptions must therefore be crafted intelligently, being non-spammy.
Another essential aspect that has to be kept in mind is that for increasing the CTR in any other search engine, especially in Google, the keywords are bold when it matches with the query raised by the user as to when in bold it draws more attention.
Using double Quotation marks should be avoided: Since Google cuts off any quotation marks used in the meta description of the HTML or other search engines, the use of it must be avoided. The experts recommend that non-alphanumeric characters in meta descriptions should be avoided. If quotation marks are unavoidable in the meta description in such cases, to prevent truncation, it is best to use an HTML entity.
In case the search engine finds that the meta description is irrelevant or has negligible relevance during a search, the search engine may summarize the information instead of highlighting the targeted one. Therefore, to prevent this, the meta description must be created to understand and fulfill the SEO requirements. More than one description is preferred, but it must be unique yet informative.
With a high-quality meta description tag, the website traffic can be increased since the relevant information provided in the snippet enables the user to click on the URL and land on the page. Once the reader enters the page, the page’s contents must match the meta tags to hold on to the reader’s interest. In another way also this will be helpful, as the reader will revisit the webpage because it satisfied the quest for the search and thereby help in the ranking of the page.