When you search for something on Google or Bing, each search result item comes up with a well defined structure. There is a title, a brief description and a link. Though fairly innocuous looking, these three small pieces of information have the power to convince people that your website provides them the solution they need. A cohesive, relevant description acts as a window to the content of a web page. It, more than anything else, can give users the confidence to click on a link and visit your website. On the other hand, if a potential visitor sees something that looks like some random words strung together, s/he may opt to click on a competing link that looks more reliable just because it has a ‘real’ description.
Enter the meta tag ‘description’ (it’s embedded in each web page’s HEAD section). This is what the search engines will first look for when they index web pages. If this meta tag is absent, it’s likely (though not always the case) that the search engine will simply display the first few words it comes across on the page. And that may very well be the site navigation. When doing your last minute holiday shopping online, would you be willing to invest in a link that has a description like this – “Home Products My Account Contact us”? Wouldn’t you be more likely to click something like this: “Eco-friendly gifts for everyone on your list.“?
Though a meta tag for description is not a foolproof method because search engines use complex algorithm to determine what the users see in the search results, it’s definitely a webmaster’s first line of defense. Check out these links to learn more on leveraging meta tags for your website: