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Front Line SEO: Meta Description Snips

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The meta description of your web page is supposed to tell your potential visitor what your page is about.

Google and Bing show the meta description on the SERP and it's your job to write a 150 character description that compels people to visit your website.

Did you know that the search engines don't always show your meta description? Even if you spend 20 minutes crafting the perfect description, there is no guarantee that the search engines will even use it. Instead, they might use something more appropriate to match the person's search query.

Google is becoming extremely aggressive with rewriting the descriptions shown in the SERP. Recently, we've analyzed a few sites for the phrase "engagement rings." That's a very tough phrase to rank against if your name is not Zales, BlueNile, James Allen or Jared. The best approach is to add your town name after it and compete in the local market.

Local search results are most important. We really don't even pay attention to the national level for those broad keyword phrases any more. Instead, we measure 3 word phrases associated with towns.

When we search for "diamond engagement rings springfield" Google returns a SERP with random, and very disorganized, page descriptions.

Instead of returning the finely tuned meta descriptions, Google instead creates a description spliced together from snips of information found on the page. The snips usually contain your search phrase; in this case the town of Springfield, the word "diamond" and the phrase "engagement rings". Google wants the user to understand that these pages have value for the requested phrase.

There is very little chance of controlling Google. Even though they want you to compete in the local search market they are, at the same time, making it difficult for you to correctly attract customers.

So what's the answer?

Simply keep every page of your website dedicated to a single topic or a single core phrase. As long as you stay on a single topic within your written content you are limiting Google's ability to created a snipped page description, and they are more likely to use the meta description you wrote.

For local searches, Google will usually include a snip from your address, but you can prevent that if you include your town and state in your meta description. Doing so keeps the control in your hands rather than relying on Google to create a snippet description.

The lesson for today: Keep your pages on a single topic and make sure your meta description include the main keyword phrase for the topic as well as your town name.
AT: 05/18/2011 11:00:56 AM   LINK TO THIS GOLD NUGGET
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