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Description meta tags – do make some effort

I know that after years of writing tips about how to write good page descriptions for SEO, I’ve probably persuaded a few of you to spend time doing just that. However, I also know that many people understandably think “I’ve got 2,000 pages on my website, there’s no way I’m going to write 160-character summaries of each one” and move on to more pressing work.

If that’s you, can I at least suggest that you at least write good page descriptions for your most important pages? The home page, for example. If someone types your company name into Google or Bing, does the result look exactly like you’d want it to, if you had a free hand? Or is the result a mess of stuff lifted from the page by a machine, with truncated sentences and ellipses (…)?

Try it.

What about product pages where you’re appearing regularly in the search engine results (check out Google Search Console for the ones where you’re doing best)? Again, if someone types in ‘blue widgets’, and your page appears in the first page or two of results, does your specific result say exactly what you’d want, neatly and concisely?

Search engines will not always use the page description you provide. If your page appears in the results, and the specific search term which caused it to appear does not feature in the page description you’ve written, they will find a chunk of text from the page which does have that search term.

Could you have got that search term in the description? That’s what you need to work out – even if you only do the exercise for a handful of the most important pages on your site.

If you need some more information on description meta tags, there’s some good stuff here and here.