Semalt: Meta Description Mistakes To Avoid

The meta description should be something that sounds foreign to you. If you've been following our articles, Metadata is something we've spoken extensively on. That is because your Metadata is probably as important as your content topics. We find metadata to be very important because it presents websites a unique opportunity to improve your website's CTR, drive more organic traffic, and improve your conversions. 

However, as Semalt analyzes many websites, we've noticed that some of our clients aren't enjoying their metadata as they should. That is because they've made some avoidable errors while designing their metadata. Because of that, we must mention some big meta description mistakes you should avoid. 

How important is Meta description in SEO

If you're still wondering if your Meta description is an important website feature, the answer is Yes. Meta descriptions can and still influence the SEO performance of websites and webpages. Because you still need tour Meta description to function properly, there are some practices you need to follow while creating them.  

Although meta description is not as important as content for SEO ranking, your meta description can still score valuable SEO points. That is particularly true if you are paying particular attention to Bing as your primary search engine. Although meta description is still vital for google, it just caries more points on the Bing search engine.
  • We believe for you to be reading this, you must have realized that SEO isn't all about rank. For you say you have indeed optimized your webpages or website for search engine, you also need to: 
  • Establish authority 
  • Catch the attention of your target audience
  • Engage with your audience by using interesting and keyword rich contents
  • Use your content to induce some action by searchers.  
We realize that meta descriptions matter and they can contribute a significant portion of convincing searchers to click on your weblink. Considering that they can be considered as some form of content that is contained on your website, they carry enough information that helps viewers scrolling SERP to recognize your website and click on your link. 

This is very clear when you look at your search results. Google, or any other search engine, displays a brief writeup below the link of any webpage. When on a result page, you have a clickable URL, blue, and a Meta description or meta description of what is contained in the link. This helps you determine whether or not that link carries the information you're searching for.

As a site owner, you can capitalize on this benefit and use your meta description to promote a page or chip in a call to action directly on the SERP. Surprised? Many websites do not have the faintest idea of how useful a meta description can be. Your meta description may include a call to action. Have you noticed phrases like "click to learn/ read/ discover more or buy" written in meta descriptions? Using CTAs can be particularly effective on your mobile device using the audience.

When search engine users are using mobile devices, they usually see a list of search results. Having a meta description with a number they could quickly call without needing to search further naturally increases your chances of getting a call as well as being the preferred choice. 

According to a recent study, Google chooses to rewrite and replace meta descriptions of more than 70%  of the time once they realize that the user is viewing from a mobile device. Nevertheless, these little Meta descriptions of information by site owners and by Google own admissions are a great way of giving their users a summary of what a web page is all about. 

Once the site owner has decided what the Meta description will be, Google can decide what they want to do with this information. About 30% of the time, they use the information you have provided, so it's wise to make the very best meta description that you possibly can. 

To guide you in creating meta descriptions that qualify for the 30% of meta descriptions that google deems worthy, we have identified meta description mistakes you should avoid. 

Meta description mistakes and how you can avoid them

1. Having too long meta descriptions

The space allocated for meta descriptions isn't usually enough to house all that you may have to say, particularly mobile devices. This largely limits the number of words or characters you can use for your meta description. 

A general rule of thumb advises that your meta description should have a maximum length of 160 characters displayed on a desktop screen and 120 for mobile devices. It is interesting to know that Google gives itself a bit more leeway on characters when they authorize meta descriptions. This isn't such a great idea because no matter how perfect your meta description is, the chances are that Google will truncate your meta description and rewrite it just because it has exceeded the maximum amount of characters allowed. 

To avoid this mistake, always ensure that your meta descriptions are under the number of characters specified and clear. Do not beat yourself up if you don't do so great the first couple of times. No one said it's easy. 

2. Making your meta descriptions too short

While brevity is important with meta descriptions, we sometimes tend to go overboard. While writing your meta description, it stands to reason that you use up as much room as possible to summarize and promote your content. What we do not realize is that search engines see short meta descriptions as incomplete. While you may be thinking that you keep it short to stay on the good side of search engines, they view short Metadata as incomplete and lacking in substance. This makes them rank your 
Metadata as poor in quality.

This would make ranking your page more difficult, and Google will most likely replace your meta description with something of their choosing. 

The chances are that you wouldn't have to deal with too short Metadata. With only 160 characters at your disposal, you're likely to use it all up and then have to start editing to reduce the number of characters. However, if you feel having your meat data as five words, we would advise against that, and so will google. 

3. Metadata and page contents are inconsistent

In our fight to get clicks and the attention of our audience, we may be tempted to stuff our meta descriptions with content that readers wouldn't find in our main content. That isn't the best practice, and here is why.  

Meta descriptions are designed to offer a summary of what your pages are associated with. However, you can find a lot of Meta descriptions that don't fit those criteria. This could be because of laziness, lack of attention to detail, or an effort to trick viewers into clicking a link.

In this case, search engines will choose not to use your meta description, and it may also damage the possibilities of your page and its contents from getting indexed properly and ranked. 

4. Lack of relevant keywords

To help you understand this better, always think of your meta description as an elaborate way to expand on your webpage's title. Your meta description gives you the ability to write a long title, which means you have more room to use your keywords. As we're sure you must have noticed, the title of pages has significantly fewer characters when compared to a meta description.  

When writing your meta description, you should ensure that relevant keywords are incorporated to catch the attention of the search engine's as well as your readers. Using relevant keywords, you also assure search engines and your readers that your content has the information they are searching for. Sometimes, google can help highlight the keywords when it finds them very relevant. This draws more attention to your content, which helps your meta description sell better. 

5. Description duplication

We get it; sometimes, you're just lazy, and writing a unique meta description for each web page may seem too stressful. As a result, you take the simplest route, which is to copy or repeat meta descriptions for your web pages. What you will soon discover is that google frowns at duplicate content, whether in the content itself or in your meta description. 

Each web page must have its own unique and engaging Meta description; otherwise, the search engine crawlers are likely to pass it by alongside the content that it describes. Sometimes, Meta descriptions are generated automatically by a CMS or plugins, and then they get disregarded or overlooked. However, these plugins also recommend that you fix the problems that exist in your Meta descriptions. Endeavor to take your time to review your Meta description and make necessary adjustments based on those suggestions. 

Other mistakes you should avoid when writing and publishing your Meta description
  • stuffing keywords in your meta description
  • using a boring meta description
  • leaving out a call to action in your meta description
  • confusing your Meta description for your Meta description 
  • now writing a meta description 
Now you know how to come up with the perfect meta descriptions that would meet the standards of Google and impress your target audience. At Semalt, we can help make your Meta descriptions perfect. Do not hesitate to reach out as we are always willing to offer our services.

We look forward to meeting you.