When I first learned about how to make websites show up on search engines, there were some words that confused me. Two of these words were “meta keywords” and “meta descriptions.” I didn’t know what “keywords” meant, so I had a hard time understanding what these things were. After spending a lot of time learning about them, I found out that meta keywords aren’t important anymore, but meta descriptions still are. In this article, we’ll talk about what these words mean and why meta descriptions are still important.
What are Meta Keywords?
In the early days of SEO, meta keywords were an essential part of optimizing a website for search engines. Webmasters would include a list of relevant keywords in the meta tags of their website, hoping to improve their rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs).
However, over time, the abuse of this tactic led to search engines like Google and Bing devaluing the importance of meta keywords. In fact, Google officially announced in 2009 that they no longer use meta keywords as a ranking factor. You can also read fun facts and history of meta keywords.
Despite this, some webmasters still include meta keywords in their website’s meta tags, hoping it will help their rankings. However, this is no longer the case, and including meta keywords is not only pointless but can actually harm your website’s SEO efforts.
What are Meta Descriptions?
Unlike meta keywords, meta descriptions are still relevant to modern SEO. A meta description is a brief summary of the content on a webpage that appears in SERPs under the title tag. It’s an opportunity to entice users to click on your website and visit it.
While meta descriptions are not a direct ranking factor, they can indirectly impact SEO. A well-written meta description that accurately summarizes the content of a webpage can attract clicks and increase the page’s click-through rate (CTR). A higher CTR can signal to search engines that a webpage is relevant to a user’s search query and improve its rankings.
How to Write Effective Meta Descriptions
Now that you understand the importance of meta descriptions, how do you write an effective one? Here are some tips:
- Keep it brief: The ideal length for a meta description is between 120-155 characters. Anything longer will be truncated in SERPs, and anything shorter may not accurately convey the content on the page.
- Include relevant keywords: While meta keywords are no longer relevant, including relevant keywords in your meta description can help signal to users and search engines what your page is about.
- Be accurate: Your meta description should accurately summarize the content on the page. Don’t bait and switch users with a misleading description that doesn’t accurately reflect what’s on the page.
- Be enticing: Your meta description should be compelling and entice users to click on your website. Use language that sparks curiosity or highlights a unique aspect of your content.
While meta keywords are no longer relevant to modern SEO, meta descriptions are still an important aspect of optimizing your website for search engines. By writing effective meta descriptions, you can attract clicks, increase your page’s CTR, and indirectly improve your rankings. As always, focus on creating high-quality content that’s relevant and valuable to your audience, and you’ll be on your way to SEO success.