Meta title, descriptions & Google : should you even write them anymore? (maybe not)

How do you write a good meta title and description so Google doesn't replace them?

How much time do you spend writing meta descriptions for your blog posts and product pages? Turns out, this could be a waste of time. The importance of meta descriptions is often hotly debated among SEO experts. We suggest you take a look at this study by Evan Hall over at Portent. It's more tangible than the SEO rumors floating around the web.

Here's a quick summary of the meta description study :

A study of 30,000 keywords analyzed rankings for computer and mobile search results. The goal? To find out if Google is actually using the meta descriptions you write.

First page rewrite rate:

  • 71% for mobile
  • 68% for computers
  • In other words, Google uses the meta description tag for snippets only about 30% of the time when the page ranks on the first page.

Rewriting rate by search volume:

The higher the search volume of the keyword, the less likely Google is to rewrite the meta description.

Rewrite rate by query length:

Like search volume, long-tail queries tend to have search results that don't use the page's meta description.

What to do with your own meta descriptions?

You should not give up writing good meta descriptions. If you are targeting high search volume keywords, it is better to spend more time writing a better meta description. If you are targeting long tail queries, spend more time on titles, meta titles and internal linking. If you are a brand new Shopify store or a SquareSpace blog just starting out: we recommend you focus on your meta title and your H1 tag (which is often the title of your page) instead of the meta description.

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