Table of Contents
Meta Description Tag
Like the title element and unlike the meta keywords tag, this one is important, both from a human and search engine perspective.
<meta name="Description" content="Get your site on the first page of Google, Yahoo and Bing. Call us on 09915337448. A company based in India." />
Forget whether or not to put your keyword in it, make it relevant to a searcher and write it for humans, not search engines. If you want to have this 20-word snippet which accurately describes the page you have optimised for one or two keyword phrases when people use Google to search, make sure the keyword is in there.
I must say, I normally do include the keyword in the description as this usually gets it in your SERP snippet.
Google looks at the description but there is debate whether it uses the description tag to rank sites. I think they might be at some level, but again, a very weak signal. I certainly don’t know of an example that clearly shows a meta description helping a page rank.
Sometimes, I will ask a question with my titles, and answer it in the description, sometimes I will just give a hint.
That is a lot more difficult in 2016 as search snippets change depending on what Google wants to emphasise to its users.
It’s also very important to have unique meta descriptions on every page on your site.
Tin Foil Hat Time
Sometimes I think if your titles are spammy, your keywords are spammy, and your meta description is spammy, Google might stop right there – even they probably will want to save bandwidth at some time. Putting a keyword in the description won’t take a crap site to number 1 or raise you 50 spots in a competitive niche – so why optimise for a search engine when you can optimise for a human? – I think that is much more valuable, especially if you are in the mix already – that is – on page one for your keyword.
So, the meta description tag is important in Google, Yahoo and Bing and every other engine listing – very important to get it right.
Make it for humans.
Oh, and by the way – Google seems to truncate anything over @156 characters in the meta description, although this may be limited by pixel width in 2016.
Programmatically Generate Meta Descriptions on Large Sites
Googles says you can programmatically auto-generate unique meta descriptions based on the content of the page.
Follow Googles example:
<META NAME="Description" CONTENT="Author: J. K. Rowling, Illustrator: Mary GrandPré, Category: Books, Price: $17.99, Length: 784 pages">
….and their advice why to do this:
No duplication, more information, and everything is clearly tagged and separated. No real additional work is required to generate something of this quality: the price and length are the only new data, and they are already displayed on the site.
I think it is very important to listen when Google tells you to do something in a very specific way, and Google does give clear advice in this area.