Google answers if meta description matters for ranking

Google’s John Mueller answered a question about whether meta description can be used to influence search rankings.

It’s a good question because Google recommends using unique meta descriptions on web pages. So there is some kind of effect but is this effect related to order? John Mueller answers this question.

dead element

The meta tag is officially known as a meta element. The meta element is used to describe (represent) document-level information about a web page.

In order to describe the various properties of a web page, a meta element (like all HTML elements) contains attributes of any kind that extend to the meta element so that it can provide a certain type of information to a web browser or to a web crawler (like Googlebot ).

for example:

  • The bots meta tag communicates to crawlers.
  • The definition update tag is connected to the browser.

There are many other meta tags that connect directly to search engines and browsers:

  • metaname = “display port”
  • meta http-equiv = “update”
  • meta name = “google-site-verification”
  • meta name = “googlebot” content = “notranslate”

Metadata is information that site visitors are not intended to see directly (although it can be seen indirectly through search results).

meta description

The W3C is the standards-setting body responsible for defining HTML (among other things)

The official W3C specification for the meta description tag states that the meta description is designed for use by search engines.

The value must be a free-form string describing the page. The value must be suitable for use in a directory of pages, for example in a search engine.
There should be no more than one meta element with its name attribute set to the value description for each document. “

Google’s use of meta descriptions

Google’s documentation of snippets indicates that meta descriptions are used to generate snippets of search results.

If the meta description is used correctly, the meta description displayed in search results will convey to a potential site visitor what the page is about and give them an idea of ​​what to expect if they click on the link and visit the site.

There is no limit to the length of the meta description.

However, there is a limit to the amount of meta description search engines will choose to display. The limit is determined by the amount that can be displayed on the user’s browser device.

Does Google use the ranking meta description?

The person asking the question was specifically asking about adding the site name information to the meta description and if it would help with classification.

Google’s John Mueller answered with a broader scope than just adding the site name, and his answer was about whether anything in the meta description affected the rating.

This is the question asked:

Does adding the site name in the meta description matter to Google in terms of ranking if the quality of the content is maintained?

John Mueller replied:

So the meta description is mainly used as an excerpt on the search results page.

And that’s not something we might use for ranking.

But obviously, having a good snippet on your search results page can make people actually visit your page more interesting when they see your page rank in search results.”

Meta description and SEO

There is a lot to know about meta HTML elements and this question is a good example of the value of understanding HTML and how it is used by browsers and search engines.

Understanding the basic information about the meta elements and the meta description tag in particular helps build a better understanding of how all the parts fit together for SEO.

the quote

Is the meta description important for ranking?

Watch John Mueller answer the question at the 26:47 mark in the video:

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