Optimizing META Descriptions

The descriptions Google (and Yahoo) provide in their search engine results pages (SERP) are quite helpful for detecting relevant results from a search without having to go to every site. You can sort out the wheat from the chaff just by looking at the description blurb Google provides. That can save a lot of time.

Have you ever really looked at what Google is doing there? Take a close look at what Google displays for any page. The description you will see for any given page will vary uniquely depending on the search term you used to find it!

Google normally pulls segments of text that contain the keywords from the search out of the page body content, usually from content nearest to the top of the page. But if Google fails to find the exact search phrase in the body content it may use the Description META tag if the exact phrase (or a close fit) is there.

Once you realize that, it becomes clear how you could use this information to support your website marketing strategy. If your page is tightly optimized for a very specific phrase, you could feed the search engine what it is looking for to build its idea of a helpful description for that key phrase. You could more or less write its blurb for it.

There are two strategies you can try to get the SERP page description you want.

Page Summary

Since you know the search engine will look for the first usage of keywords in your content for its description, you have the opportunity to build a nice blurb there for the key phrase you have optimized the page for.

META description

In any cases, you should assume that your page could be found for a variety of search terms. Therefore you should assume that there will be times Google will use your META description. Therefore always craft your META description tag carefully to hook people’s attention. That could well mean the difference between a click-through and being ignored.

In some cases you may even want to try to force Google to use your META description.

A short heading in a <h1> tag at the top of your page can be used to demonstrate relevance to Google for the term (optimization to help get good placement for the search term) without qualifying for Google’s idea of a SERP description. If you avoid using the exact optimized phrase in body text, but provide it in a well-tuned META description tag you may be able to achieve a very tightly controlled SERP blurb that way.

In any case, the objective is to make sure that your buyer finds an inviting summary for at-a-glance relevance detection in a list of search results.

With a bit of experimentation you will be able to manipulate Google into providing the exact description you want, whether via META description or page summary. This small effort can have a significant impact on your click-through rate from the search engine results page. Of course, if you can it is always better to hire a professional SEO Beratung Berlin for this On-Page SEO optimization for maximum impact.

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