You’ve written a page for your website. It’s been through your
boss, your boss’s boss and been approved by committee. Sandra in
sales had you put in the bit about her favourite client and Geoff
in accounts has had the bit he didn’t like taken out. You picked a
really nice picture to go with it. It is a work of beauty. The
on-page SEO is optimised. You’ve run a link building strategy. It’s
in the top ten pages shown in Google for your preferred keyword.
It’s almost the perfect webpage.
Unfortunately no one is visiting it from Google.
All your hard work appears to have been for nothing.
So you take a look in Google and it's there, but it doesn’t
really stand out from the other links around it. The title is
alright, but the description under it is from the first few lines
of the page. Out of context of the full paragraph, it’s a
meaningless non sequitur.
The one thing you skipped before going live was writing a meta
description of the page. It can be hard to boil a complex page down
to a hundred and sixty character description. With the deadline
looming for go live it’s an easy job to skip. Unfortunately, if
your page is a poorly described page in a sea of poorly described
pages your potential visitors may skip to the pages with a good
Fortunately you can try to fix this. Just go and add a
description to the page.
Provide a compelling description of what a visitor will find on
your page. Try to include a call to action in the description to
increase your click-throughs. If you can, put important keywords
near the beginning of the text to help the SEO. Keep the
descriptions under 165 characters. Don’t make it too short,
otherwise Google may add some text from your page onto the end.
There is a little caveat. Google don’t guarantee to use your
description or to pick up a change in the description. One of the
main causes of that appears to be the use of a duplicate
description. It’s better to allow Google to create its own (bad)
description than to have a duplicate description. Google will
detect the duplicates and may assign a lower ranking as it thinks
your content is not unique or being automatically generated.
If it’s important to you, monitor the page’s performance and
consider revising the description or title in future.