What Google Thinks of Description Meta Tag

Google's idea of Meta description

Google really likes the Description Meta tag. Meta Description is a place where webmasters tell about their websites or webpages to introduce them. Google understands the importance of this information and prefers to display it as snippet along with the associated URL in search results.

Google Understands the Description Meta Tag

Google likes to see accurate Meta Descriptions that should be in accordance with original content of source page.

The very first point to take into consideration is that the Google recognizes the Description Meta Tag. Google considers the information included in this element as a short, concise and good explanation of webpage content. Google reads it and thinks of it as a source of useful information. It even uses the Meta description text for snippet display on Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). Google lists it in first place among acceptable Meta Tags known to it.

Snippet showing meta description

Make Sure That There is Always a Meta Description

Google wants you to write few lines for Description Meta Tag when creating webpages. Description has been set as a standard metadata name by W3.org and also become an important part of HTML document structure. Google follows HTML standards and also expects that every well structured website should follow them strictly. Google says that description should be created accurately for each webpage specifically.

Google Guides You to Write Good Meta Descriptions

A little extra work on your meta descriptions can go a long way towards showing a relevant snippet in search results. That’s likely to improve the quality and quantity of your user traffic.” — Google Webmaster Blog

create good meta descriptions

Google knows that most of the websites are not using Description Meta Tag properly in their web documents. Google says that it’s important to represent your webpages in your own handwritten sentences. Google likes to see accurate Meta Descriptions that should be in accordance with original content of source page. It’s always a good practice to include quality Meta Descriptions in all your web documents before submitting your website to Google or other web directories. The message is clear – Create good meta descriptions.

An Accurate Meta Description is Important

This directs them to good results faster and reduces the click-and-backtrack behavior.” — Google Webmaster Blog

search engine result and snippet showing description

Google uses preview snippets to represent URL results on SERPs. Information displayed here for the associated URL gives a clear idea of source webpage to search users. If preview text looks good and searcher finds it useful, he will click to visit the source page. If source page fails to provide correct information, user would leave the page in frustration adding more numbers to bounce rate of website traffic.

Google works very smartly to display search results on its search pages and really cares about the quality of snippets.

This suggests that accurate and relevant preview snippet is important not only for the quality of Google search results but also for the webpage content. You will have more insight in the next section. As Google prefers to pick Meta Description to display it as preview snippet, the accuracy of Meta Description becomes more important and also helps to gain trust and attract more visitors.

Search Result Snippets are not Meta Descriptions

We do sometimes use the description meta tag as the text for our search results snippets” — as Posted by Matt Cutts

Google works very smartly to display search results on its search pages and really cares about the quality of snippets. Here is an excerpt from Google’s blog post

If description meta tags are absent or not relevant, a snippet will be chosen from the page’s content automatically. If you’re lucky and have a good snippet auto-selected, keep in mind that search engines vary in the way that they select snippets, so it’s better to keep things consistent and relevant by writing a solid description meta tag.

A small test is worth noted here. I randomly chose a searh term – most beautiful beach for travellers, and made a Google search.

Search Result snippet example

Search Term — most beautiful beach for travellers

I picked up second result from the first page to show you that preview text in the snippet is not from the Meta Description but starting matter of main content. Meta Description that is available on the document — When sea meets sand, beautiful things can happen. This Meta information does not seem accurate to Google when you are actually talking about beautiful beaches for travellers.

A well written Meta Description increases the chances of its display as snippet text on search result pages.

Your Meta Description represents your webpage but Google represents your pages on its SERPs differently. To create most convincing version of snippet, Google relies on its own algorithm that tries to extract most relevant sentences from webpage content. It can display first line of your Meta Description, first line of webpage content or unpredictable lines from any one of these sources. As preview texts of snippets change on SERPs for different keyword terms, search result snippets are not always meta descriptions.

Google Doesn’t Use the Description Meta Tag in Web Ranking.

While accurate meta descriptions can improve clickthrough, they won’t affect your ranking within search results.” — Google Webmaster Blog

Google is concerned about Description Meta tag and it does use the information included in the element for better understanding of associated webpage and its content. However, a well planned write up with inciting words could make great marketing content for Description Meta Tag. But that doesn’t help to determine the quality of source page content, nor does it establish the usefulness of available information on source page for visitors. People sometimes use bad practices to represent their content falsely by including misleading texts or stuffing repeated/duplicate keywords in an intention to provoke search users to click upon the associated URL. Google cares about accurate and relevant meta descriptions but Description Meta Tag is never a web ranking factor.

google and web ranking

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Matt Cutts mentions Description Meta Tag