Why your metadata is important for SEO
Metadata is not dead. What is metadata or meta tags? When it comes to SEO, these are your page title and description, the information that shows up (if Google likes it) in the search engine results pages (SERPS) when someone searches and your site is shown as one of the results.
Here’s what you see when Sumy Designs shows up in the SERPS.
If you don’t designate a meta title and meta description, then Google will pull that information from the page. They’ll display the site title and page title as the title and then pull the first 150-160 characters from the page content for your content. (Note, if your page has no words on it, then your description will be blank. Content is important.)
Google’s official line when it comes to meta descriptions (as of 2009) is that they are not used as a ranking factor. But that’s not exactly true.
Meta titles and descriptions are still important for SEO
You may be asking, if Google doesn’t use meta descriptions in their ranking system, then why bother writing them? They may not use the meta descriptions in their ranking (and I’m not 100% sure I believe that, but let’s assume that’s true), but they do use other metrics, such as if your website gets clicked on and if the user stays on your site.
If your listing gets a lot of clicks, then that tells Google that people think your site has value and are clicking through. Having a good click-through-rate (CTR) tells Google that your website content is answering the question for the query that someone searched for, which in turn affects your ranking. Because ultimately, Google wants to give people what they want.
So what does this mean for your meta title and description? That it needs to be really excellent and enticing to get that user to click through on it. If it’s just pulling the first two sentences of your content, that may or may not be super interesting to the person scanning the SERPS for answers.
Use your meta title and description to make it clear to the searcher what your site is about and how the user will benefit from clicking through. Use that meta description to SELL your website. The more clicks it gets, the better positioned you’re going to be.
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