Are Keywords inside the Meta Description a Google Ranking Factor?

January 15, 2015

When it comes to ranking your content on Google, there are many important factors that you will want to consider for your search engine optimizations (SEO) efforts. However, some of what you might have believed about the importance of certain elements may have been over-stated.

For example, the meta description is one that many people use to place their keywords in order to rank higher on Google, but does that really work?

What is a Meta Description?

This is basically a snippet that describes the content of the page itself while appearing the code area. Basically, they are designed to tell the search engines what a particular page is all about in a short blurb that is roughly 150 to 160 characters long, including spaces.

The actual length may vary of course, but just under 160 is recommended because that is the maximum amount that can be seen. You can think of the term meta description as the “metadata” for the page itself. However, do they really contribute to your SEO efforts in ranking your content?

Will SEO Work in Meta Descriptions?

The answer is “not directly”. The truth is that incorporating keywords into the description will not directly boost your Google rankings. However, they do work indirectly by helping webmasters advertise the content that they are displaying to searchers. This is a way to provide a brief description to web searchers what they are looking and in some detail.

You can think of the description as ad copy, something that is directed to the reader in the effort to lure them in to reading your content. While keywords are not essential, they can be important in terms of locking in the reader’s attention since they used similar words to look up your content. Plus, in most cases Google with put the keywords in bold lettering inside the description so that it stands out.

How to Write a Meta Description

The meta description you write for Google should be short, snappy and to the point so that it can attract the eye of the reader. You will want to follow a few guidelines when writing the description for maximum effectiveness.

- Use only one keyword or key phrase

- Get right to the point

- Keep it under 160 characters

- Use clear, straightforward language

Since the keyword will be highlighted in bold, you don’t really need to stuff it with keywords. Your description should get right to the point. The longer it takes for you to describe the content, the more likely the reader will look elsewhere. Make sure that the language is clear and unambiguous when describing your content.

Plus, you will want to be judicious about how often you use meta descriptions. There are cases in which you may not want to have them at all. In fact, most recommendations are that you use them for your home page and most important content while leaving the rest without them to avoid having too much text appear on a single search engine result.

In the end, while your SEO will not be augmented directly by a meta description, you will want to use them on your most important pages in order to highlight the Google search results.

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