Google has released some recommendations regarding how to create better meta descriptions for search results.
In addition, Google is doing its part to improve meta descriptions by making a notable update to how they are rendered.
How Google Generates Meta Descriptions
When deciding which information to display in the snippet of a search result, Google will first turn to the content within the page itself and extract the most relevant information.
In the event that a page’s content is not the most relevant source based on the user’s query, Google will then turn to the manually written meta description to display in the search snippet.
Previously, if the page content was not the most relevant source for generating a snippet, and there was no meta description, Google would pull information from DMOZ. With DMOZ now closed, Google has stopped relying on the web directory for generating snippets.
With that being said, it has become more important than ever for site owners to write good meta descriptions. Google goes on to explain what it considers to be 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.”
The most common problems site owners need to watch out for when creating meta descriptions is neglecting to create them at all. Another issue is using the same meta description for all pages across the site. Other problems include writing off-topic, spammy, or low quality meta descriptions.
Google says there is technically no character limit to meta descriptions, but they will be truncated to fit the width of the device they’re being viewed on.
Going forward the NOODP robots directive, which prevented Google from using DMOZ to create snippets, no longer needs to be used.
Subscribe to SEJ
Get our daily newsletter from SEJ's Founder Loren Baker about the latest news in the industry!