Tasty meta descriptions feed Google results

Posted on September 5, 2012


The importance of meta descriptions is something that many people working in SEO can neglect from time to time. However, an interesting BBC Internet blog post has highlighted just how important they are.

The effectiveness of meta descriptions is easy to check for anyone. Through the use of Google’s webmaster tools, click through rates from the SERPs can be readily checked. This makes meta descriptions the ideal testing ground for new ideas.

Giving an example of how the BBC Food website was reordered some years ago, the BBC blog post tosses up pancakes in example.

Prior to August 2010, there were in the region of 10,000 searches per week for ‘pancake recipes’ or similar. Of this total, the Delia Smith recipe hosted by the BBC took an impressive 67% share of the market.

However, following a reworking of the meta description, from August 27th to September 3rd, this was boosted to a staggering 81% sweet and lemony slice of the click throughs.

Nothing else was changed on the pages. It was purely the impact of the meta description that drove the interest.

The meta description is the advert for the page, the snapshot that sells the page to the searcher, which is why it is such an integral part of the day job in SEO. All too often though, people can rely on Google capturing a snapshot for them, which rarely is good enough.

With just a little bit of effort, and concerted thought, there is no reason why any site’s meta descriptions could not see a 14% uplift in visits.

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