June 23, 2015

Write great 'search description' for your blog post

In the last two posts, we talked about (i) having attractive and SEO-friendly titles of blog posts and (ii) different types of ‘descriptions’ for blogs and posts and their importance. In the current one, we’d talk about best practices in writing description – especially 'search description' for individual posts.

A good ‘search description’, as the name would suggest, helps in discovery of the post on which it is given. The post becomes more readily available to visitors who land in that page from somewhere else, searchers looking for articles on that theme and search engines scouting for relevant keywords. That leads to more traffic, especially targeted traffic. We have written more on this in the previous post, and so let's jump to 'description'.

What constitutes a good ‘search description’?

  •  Like other forms of meta description on a website, it should not be bigger than 150 characters (including spaces) and not in any case over 160. So, you need to put all that you want to say about the blog / post in this size limit.
  • It should summarise the subject of the post or pick up the most important highlight(s) of the content. It should give facts that the first lines of post will not have. It may also have facts that are very relevant but will be missed by search engines if not brought forward. Google advises: “…author, date of publication, or byline information. This can give potential visitors very relevant information that might not be displayed in the snippet otherwise. Similarly, product pages might have the key bits of information—price, age, manufacturer—scattered throughout a page.”
  • It should have expressions for which you want the post to be found when people search for those keywords. However, you should not stuff the description with keywords; similarly, you should not repeat keywords.
  • The description should make sense to humans and should not just be a listing of search terms or highlights. It should flow naturally, in the form of full sentences or clauses. Google advises such search expressions: A blog about social networking and web design. / A journal of my year in Paris. / Healthy southern-style cooking.
  • Look at the image below to see how Google gives a search description on its own search sites (and then these come as snippets when you search for 'Google'):