What are meta descriptions and do they still matter?

CyberAlchemist

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What are meta descriptions and do they still matter?
Can you elaborate your question?

Which meta description do you want to mention? the title, description, keywords or social meta tags for your website?
 

Localnode

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I believe the metas that matter are:
Title
Description
Social

I'm not 100% sure though. So take my advice with a grain of salt.
 

HCFGrizzly

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Of course the meta description matters. Where did you get the idea that it doesn`t?

A meta description is an HTML and XHTML element that describes your page to search engines. While the perceived (and real) importance of meta data has depreciated, the attribute still plays a significant role in SEO rankings. (Source: Google)

For these kinds of easy and general questions I suggest you use Google next time. Get a little more documented and come back with real questions.
 

SEOPub

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SEOPub
Actually, I would argue the opposite. If they play a role in rankings, it is a nearly insignificant one.

In most cases, I would honestly recommend leaving the meta description blank. It allows Google to pick out content that they feel closely matches the search query and searcher's intent, which can improve your CTR.

It's what Wikipedia does, and they are probably one of the best SEO'd sites on the planet.
 

HCFGrizzly

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HCFGrizzly
I didn`t know that about Wikipedia and leaving the meta description blank. But although Wikipedia is doing that I feel more comfortable in choosing my own description than to let Google choose it for me.
 

SEOPub

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SEOPub
Google does a pretty good job, and when you consider that Google says about 70% of the queries they get each day are queries they have never seen before, you might want to reconsider that.

It depends on the page, but I almost never use meta descriptions and haven't for about 3-4 years now. The only time I do is if it is a page that is really tightly themed around one make-or-break type of keyword.
 

HCFGrizzly

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Yeah....call it paranoia from my side but I prefer to have control over it. Sometimes Google will pick the first paragraph it sees, and not always that paragraph is the best description of the website. I see the meta description as a way to convince my visitors, to make them commit and make that click on my link.
 

projectpop

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Using meta description is a better way to control what text appear in your google search under the title. Otherwise it will be the first few paragraph it saw in your website, as HCF said above.
 

savidge4

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It is extremely easy to determine the text in your article / page that Google will chose as a description. It will NOT use H tagged text. It will NOT use bold or Italic Text. It will NOT use a hyperlink. It WILL use the first instance of a matching keyword term or batch of terms regardless the placement on the page. be it on the top.. or even the last sentence on the bottom. They also will only use text that is in a proper " <p> " tag.
 
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