What are Meta Description Tags?
Meta Description Tags are normally 120-156 characters (including spaces) in length for WordPress. You can use more than 156 characters on non-WordPress sites, but Google, Bing, or whichever search engine is being used will truncate the rest…you will get the read more tag, which very few people actually click on, so it is important to keep it short.
According to Google, “neither Meta Descriptions nor Meta keywords factor into Google’s ranking algorithms for web search”.
However, Meta Descriptions are imperative to get the reader’s attention in Search Engine Result Pages (SERP). It is a quick blurb that tells the reader if that web page contains what they are looking for. With 3.5 billion global searches conducted daily, shouldn’t you “put your best foot forward”?
Example Meta Description Tag
Keywords are a must, of course, but this short blurb must catch the reader’s attention quickly. Meta Descriptions are like a movie trailer for your webpage in a twitter format. So, if your webpage, blog or article is the history of Fenway Park, your Meta Description would read something like this:
In the heart of Boston, Fenway Park is the home of the Red Sox. Built in 1912, the oldest MLB Park in America. It is a National Historic Landmark.
That is 146 characters, with spaces, and tells the reader what they are going to find on that page, an article about Fenway Park.
How to: Meta Description Tag Character Count
To keep from physically counting the characters every time, if you are working in Word, highlight the phrase you want to make your Meta Description tag, click Review, then click Word Count on the tool bar, and that will give you the number of characters used. There will be two entries, the first states (no spaces), while the other states (with spaces). Use the one with spaces.
Moz.com provides the code requirements, or check with your technician for details.
A Meta Description tag is your “window to the world,” OK, maybe that is a little overly dramatic, but it’s very close to the truth. In that short paragraph you have a chance to bring the reader into your website. Your words alone will determine if you get that customer to come into your store or not, so make sure your store front is appealing.
Do not use quotes or special characters, like $ or % off in your Meta Description as this will cause Google to cut off the description.
It is not always necessary to write a Meta Description tag, as search engine indices automatically grab keywords from your page and create something that is supposed to represent your post. Do you really want to take the chance that a robot will choose the right words to pull customers through your “window to the world”?
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