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October 2010 Posts

10/11/2010 9:18:01 AM

Why is my perfect web page ignored?

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 description.

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.