Your page’s description metatag plays a key role in helping searchers find and choose your page in search results. The following tips outline the description metatag’s overall importance and how you can optimize your page’s description metatag overall.
- Focus on searchers’ key questions. Searchers, fundamentally, are seeking an answer to their questions. They’re looking for the single best possible answer that helps them find what they need and get back to work. Start by crafting your page’s description metatag around the questions your page is designed to answer. Provide a clear, compelling description that summarizes and highlights the information searchers can expect to find once they’ve clicked through. Many search engines give the description metatag far less weight in ranking than page elements such as page title and body copy. However, most also display the description metatag within the search results to provide a summary of each result to searchers. For best results, focus your description metatag efforts more around helping searchers understand what your page is about and driving clickthrough to your page than around ranking. For more information on this topic, take a look at “How Do I Optimize My Page’s Description to Improve Clickthrough?”
- Include relevant keywords. While you want to write your description metatag for your searchers’ benefit, be sure to include relevant keywords within the description overall. Ensure that the primary keywords summarizing your page appear at least once within the description metatag. For more information on how to select the right keywords for your page’s description metatag, take a look at “How Do I Know What Keywords Searchers Use?”.
- Craft a unique description for each page. Don’t make your searchers guess which of several pages provides the answer they’re looking for by copying and pasting or otherwise duplicating descriptions across multiple pages. If your description metatag can accurately summarize multiple pages, ask whether a single page would adequately answer your searchers’ questions. If not, help your searchers meet their goals by taking the time to craft a distinct description for each page you manage.
- Limit character count to 150-160 characters. Due to your searchers’ screen limitations, many search engines will only display the first 150-160 characters of your description metatag within the search results. While it’s unlikely a longer description will hurt your search engine ranking—in some search engines, in fact, a longer description metatag can help—ensure that you’ve answered the questions your searchers care about and included relevant keywords within the first 150-160. No guarantees exist that the search engine or your searchers will ever see or benefit from anything longer. For more information, see “How Do I Optimize My Page’s Description to Improve Ranking?”
The description metatag helps inform both searchers and search engines about what information your page contains. Ensure that you have a unique description metatag for each page, and that those descriptions contain relevant keywords. Most importantly, focus your efforts around providing searchers with a clear, concise, relevant summary of what they can expect to find to improve your page’s ranking within the search results and to improve clickthrough to your page when you’re found.