Google’s search engine now understands and uses seven distinct meta tags. The most significant of these tags are the title and description.
Many webmasters already recognize the value of providing specific title tags. With duplicate title tags, you tend to end up with pages that look the same for users who browse the search results.
Getting two pages battling for the same phrases is misleading to Google and can just hurt your rankings. It’s also bemusing to visitors who might skip the page that could have addressed their queries and rewarded you in the process.
When discussing duplicate meta details, the less apparent solutions revolve around duplicate meta descriptions. The aftermath of such descriptions might well be felt in the manner your reader responds to your page, but as far as Google SEO is concerned, the response might not be what you’d think.
Are Duplicate Meta Descriptions Detrimental?
Traditional logic suggests duplicate meta descriptions must be avoided all the time. As a matter of fact, as per Google’s Mat Cutts, it’s best to keep meta descriptions empty rather than replicate what you had already written previously.
However, Cutts made that claim back in 2013. And since then, there have been lots of updates in the Google algorithm. Although meta descriptions should ideally be original, there are more than enough reasons why you would choose to use the same one on some of your pages. In addition, meta descriptions are not that significant for SEO at all. However, a great meta definition is more critical for click-through rates.
This begs the question – how should you treat meta descriptions in 2021? Stick with us to find out.
How are Meta Descriptions Displayed on Google?
In December 2017, Google formally informed the length of the meta description had changed from about 160 characters to somewhere from 300 to 350 characters, with the majority of the descriptions lingering around 325 characters.
Additionally, Google stated the meta descriptions you’ve written wouldn’t necessarily be shown all the time. Rather, Google will occasionally change the descriptions to a few lines from the content that the search engine believes is more relevant to the readers.
In a way, it means keeping a meta description vacant if you’re struggling to write one is more advantageous than a poor meta description. However, at the same time, it implies you carry a lot of room to influence the narrative around your website. By producing high-quality meta descriptions on your own, you possess a greater chance of communicating the message you want to prospective viewers, raising the possibility of a better click-through rate.
Despite these improvements, though, duplicate meta descriptions aren’t the big bad wolf they’re perceived to be. In fact, in some situations, they may be extremely useful.
Duplicate Meta Descriptions are Sometimes Beneficial
In the past, duplicate meta descriptions basically implied that Google saw pages as being the same or battling with each other on every search engine. The recent algorithm updates, however, have provided a bit more margin of freedom on this matter.
There are two instances you would want to repeat the meta descriptions. But if it’s not for either of these reasons, it’s better to create unique descriptions or leave them blank. First, you might want to selectively use the same description on a few of your posts, all of which are vying to rank for the same keywords. That way, you can eliminate the element of varying descriptions to observe which page ranks higher, and then retain the meta description for the successful page.
Second, if you have web pages that don’t carry a copy on them, such as a clip or pictures with media on unique posts, you may wish to use the exact wide meta description for every one of them. However, this is only recommended if you lack adequate time to come up with unique meta descriptions, since a potential viewer is likely to click on the unique article if they know precisely what it’s all about.
Basic Rules of Meta Description
Bear these basic rules in mind when you write your meta descriptions.
- Aim for around 300 characters.
- Avoid duplicate meta descriptions unless it’s for specific purposes, and even on such instances, don’t use them on more than a few pages.
- If you can’t think of an attractive meta description, it’s best to leave it empty. If you’ve produced a fantastic article that will otherwise rank high, Google is likely to generate that description for you.
- In your meta description, offer an insightful summary of the post that will make visitors want to click on your site.
If writing a top notch meta description is not your cup of tea, it’s best to seek help from experts.
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