The importance of meta description tags in SEO has diminished over the last few years. Once an indispensible part of search engine optimisation strategy, the short blurb used to describe a website in the SERPs (search engine results pages) has purportedly been ignored by Google as a ranking factor for some time. There is ongoing debate in the SEO community about how true this is, however, the general consensus among those who do SEO for a living is that meta descriptions don’t matter nearly as much as they used to.
Google set all this to change last night by announcing the release of a new feature that allows users to control what websites appear in their search results. Yes, people can now actively block websites that they aren’t interested in seeing. So if you know the information you’re after is not offered by a certain domain, you can elect to remove that domain from your search results entirely. It’s like Personalised Search on steroids!
Previously only available to Google Chrome users, the new search filter will soon be universally available across all browsers, and able to be applied straight from the SERPs. The Official Google Blog explains further:
“Perhaps the result just wasn’t quite right, but sometimes you may dislike the site in general, whether it’s offensive, pornographic or of generally low quality. For times like these, you’ll start seeing a new option to block particular domains from your future search results. Now when you click a result and then return to Google, you’ll find a new link next to ‘Cached’ that reads ‘Block all example.com results.'”
Don’t worry if you block a website then forget about it. Google will let you know if you’re missing anything.
So how does this relate to the humble meta description? Simple – it’s now more important than it ever was that your meta description tags are extremely good and extremely relevant to the product or service your website promotes. While it has minimal (if any) effect on your website’s rankings, your meta description is now the thin 160-character-max line between your website appearing to your potential customers, or your website being ruthlessly excised from your target audience’s search results.
And it gets even more extreme – the entirety of the content on your website has to be top tier. This is because Google can override your set meta description with one that is dynamically pulled from your website content, if it decides that this content is a closer match to the search query entered by the user.
If you’re worried about your meta descriptions and content not being up to scratch, you can utilise E-Web Marketing’s professional web copywriting specialists for help. Call us today to chat with your dedicated SEO campaign manager, or one of our friendly online business strategists.