Just over a month ago we were told that The Great and Powerful Google had graciously expanded the meta description field to 320 characters and all the SEO’s of the world rejoiced. But then … Google changed their mind.
So what are we to make of this? Do we go back and change all of the descriptions we expanded back to ±160 characters? Google has proclaimed … we decide what goes in the SERP description based upon the search query. Well all righty then.
Let’s start with the fact that the meta description does not contribute to rank but it does contribute to click through rate and click through rate does contribute to rank. Google has an expectation of what the CTR should be for a particular position in the SERP’s for a specific query and if you find yourself in that position but are not meeting the expected CTR expectations, you will not be in that position for long.
Does this information help me decide what to do? Look at the meta title and description as a classified advertisement in a magazine or newspaper. In many cases the click is generated by the title alone and the description may not even be read. But, if your title is not strong enough to generate the click you must rely upon your description. What if your call to action is at the end of the meta description and doesn’t get seen?
Here’s my suggestion, continue to use the expanded 320 character description but make sure that the exciting part that will generate the click is in the visible portion. Keep in mind that ultimately Google will decide what to put in the meta description.
This may be a bit controversial but … consider writing multiple meta descriptions. There is no indication I’ve seen that a page would be punished or it’s rank impacted for having multiple meta descriptions. Write each to address one of the top querys for a keyword phrase. I wouldn’t use any more than 3 but give it some thought. Above all, test it first and give the page several weeks to adjust to the changes before you make your decision.
Okay, so that’s what I think, here are some thoughts from others in the industry that are also well worth your consideration.
SEO is a tricky subject. One minute you think you have it nailed and the next everything has changed. And when you consider the fact that Google reportedly changes its algorithm 500 to 600 times per year, you start to see the problem. The only constant in SEO is change. This creates a never-ending pursuit.
Meta descriptions: ever wondered how to compose the right one? We will explain how to create that inviting meta description. Find out more!
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