The meta description tag used to be a lot more important than it is now, thanks to the introduction of rich snippets. The description was the piece of text that Google would capture and display when generating your search result, if it contained the appropriate key words. That’s why it is important to make sure your meta description is written more as a sales pitch for your product, rather than cramming it with key words. Let’s step away from bicycles for a second, and focus on Viterium Face Cream, a fictional anti-wrinkle product. The key phrase “wrinkle removal” gets over 5000 searches a month, but there is heavy competition for that in the top three pages of Google SERPs. Instead, our software shows us that a one-off phrase, “best anti aging products” has nobody competing for it with their seonomy design, and is actually generating an average of 8100 searches per month. Bingo! That’s our target. But here is an example of how NOT to target your target:
Meta Description: the best anti aging products is viterium anti aging products face cream because viterium is the best anti aging products for people looking for anti aging products. Viterium.
You’ve seen stuff like that show up on Google, and what’s YOUR first thought? It’s a scam page, designed to mislead me into clicking on the link and seeing their line of driveway paving chemicals, or worse, there’s a virus on the page and by clicking on such an obvious scam, I’ll actually hurt my computer.
Instead, here is a better suggestion for a better description:
Meta Description: Compared to the best anti aging products , Viterium ™ was found to perform better, faster, and with fewer adverse side effects because it is made with only natural ingredients. Shop Viterium.com for the lowest price on Viterium.
Think about what that will look like when it shows up in the SERP results. It’s your place to build your key words right into your sales pitch. Please note that I intentionally left a space after the word “products”, and before the comma. This is not a typo. I don’t want Google to have to “think” about whether the punctuation belongs as part of the search or not. I’m giving them a clean phrase to find, and then letting them decide whether they approve of my grammar or not. There is a school of thought that says Google ignores punctuation. My thought is, better safe than sorry.
Now, I’ve been talking about the meta description tag as if it still mattered. To a certain extent, it still does, but in 2014, Google (and subsequently the other major search engines) followed the new path of the “Rich Snippet”. Everything you’re learning about the Description Tag also applies to Rich Snippets, but the Rich Snippet allows you a new way to organize your individual products, pages or articles so that Google recognizes them for what you want them to be. You still have to have your description tags in place, but you need to repeat them specifically for search engine optimization. We’ll get into that in the chapter on Site Design.