META DESCRIPTIONS GET YOU NOTICED

When it comes to Google and other search engines, good content is king but including good meta descriptions with your posts will get you noticed.

A little recent history. The snippets of information you see about a blog post or site page in Google search results used to come from three sources:

1. The content of the page
2. The meta description
3. DMOZ listings

DMOZ, or the Open Directory Project (ODP) was a multilingual open-content directory of World Wide Web links maintained by volunteers. It was owned by AOL who chose to no longer support the project and DMOZ shut down this past March. As such, meta descriptions are of increased importance in getting your work picked up by search engines. This is particularly true for pages which may have little textual content, such as a home page where all you have is perhaps a logo and an image or two.

So, what is a good meta description? Good meta descriptions are short blurbs that describe accurately the content of the page. They are like a pitch that convince the user that the page is exactly what they’re looking for. There’s no limit on how long a meta description can be, but the search result snippets are truncated as needed, typically to fit the device width. Having said, 160 characters or less is a good rule of thumb.

How do you implement, where does it go? Any of the available free SEO plugins such as All In One or Yoast make this easy. You’ll see a description box on your post/page editor. Use it! Some of the SEO plugins have an optional auto-fill feature which copies text from your post. Don’t be so lazy! Turn this feature off and write your own description. After all, you wrote the post, you ought to know what it’s about!

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