What are Meta Descriptions?
Meta descriptions, as the name suggests, are descriptions of a website’s page. They make it easier for Google’s crawlers and indexers to understand what your page and website are about. They’re invisible to a viewer when they’re onsite, but you can see them sometimes when you’re searching for something on Google.
Google uses meta descriptions in search engines to save time. Now, searchers don’t have to click on every website—they can just read a meta description and have the answer to their question.
Now, some people think that meta descriptions are completely useless. If you don’t have one for your page, you’ll probably be fine—Google takes snippets of content and will add one for you. Also, meta descriptions aren’t search ranking factors at all. It’s not going to kick you off the rankings, but it’s not going to propel you upward either. All it seemingly does is prevent people from clicking onto the site by having the answers all ready for the viewer.
But is that true?
Why are Meta Descriptions Important?
Los Angeles SEO experts agree that while meta descriptions may not impact your search rankings directly, they do have some influence. Here are several ways it affects your SEO strategy:
1. It affects your website’s clickthrough rates.
Recent studies have shown that meta descriptions (or lack of) have an indirect impact on clickthrough rates. Check out this graph, for example:
This graph shows the correlation between average clickthrough rates and featured snippets.
From the graph, we can see here that the first search result has an average clickthrough rate of almost 30%. However, this average fell to 23.3% simply because they had a featured snippet. Interestingly, the second and third search results saw an increase in rates with a featured snippet.
We can conclude several things from this graph.
One, the first result must have dissatisfied the searcher somehow. Perhaps it was a website that could have helped them out with their query but didn’t explicitly say so in the snippet.
Two, the second and third results must have been more compelling than the first result. Maybe searchers thought that they looked more helpful and relevant as the first result didn’t yield any leads. Or maybe they had better user intent but worse SEO than the first result.
Three, and most importantly, only having featured snippets does impact the clickthrough rates in some way. This is substantial proof you’ll want to add meta descriptions to your pages.
2. You get more organic traffic.
As we discussed earlier, meta descriptions don’t do much on search engines. You could optimize it all you want with keywords, but Google probably isn’t going to care very much.
The value of the meta description is in the eye of the searcher, and as we see in the graph, a lack of one is enough to bring clickthrough rates significantly. Having a meta description may be all the difference you need. A meta description may not get Google moving, but people clicking on your website because of your snippet certainly will!
3. It brings out loyalty.
A well-written meta description optimized for user intent significantly increases your chances of conversion. If a searcher reads your meta description and finds that it matches their query exactly, they’re more likely to interact with your brand and stay loyal.
For example, if I am hunting for an online job and saw those two descriptions, I’d probably think my search is over. I’d click on those pages, find everything I need, bookmark them, and then stop searching for more online job sites on Google.
And all because I was lured in by the meta descriptions!
Meta descriptions help personalize your content for search engines. They’re like cheesy slogans—they reel people in with a few, short words. They help win clicks despite not being a ranking factor, and with all the competition you’ve got going for you, you’re going to need all the help you can get ranking up. Meta descriptions may just take you over the edge.
If you want to learn more about optimizing meta descriptions and all other aspects of your website, we’d be happy to help. Drive Traffic Media offers a variety of SEO services in Los Angeles for you to choose from. Call us at (310)341-3939 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.