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Do Meta Descriptions Matter For Law Firm SEO?

by | Jul 17, 2017 | SEO

Some of the technical aspects of search engine optimization, including meta descriptions, are confusing. This is because there are large amounts of outdated and inaccurate information on the internet about the structural elements of SEO.

But it doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are three simple things your law firm should know about meta descriptions and their role in SEO.

What is a meta description?

The meta description is a short blurb that provides information about a web page to search engines and search engine users.

The meta description is often displayed in search engine results to help search engine users understand what the page is about and why it is a relevant match for the user’s query.

Example: Meta description displaying in search results.

Google won’t always display your web page’s meta description in its search results. If there is other information on the page that Google thinks will help a user better understand why a result is relevant, Google may choose to display that text instead. In other words, Google will sometimes select relevant text from the body of a web page and display it, instead of the meta description, in the search engine results in response to a specific Google search. Therefore, meta descriptions are simply suggestions.

Do meta descriptions affect law firm SEO?

Google has said it does not use meta descriptions as a ranking factor in its search algorithm.

However, because meta descriptions are so visible in search engine results, they can potentially affect traffic to your law firm’s website.

Meta descriptions can help potential clients and referral sources decide whether to click on–or bypass–a particular search result.

If a meta description is generic or confusing, a potential client may skip over your law firm’s website in search results. If a meta description is engaging and clearly explains what the page is about (and Google displays it in response to a relevant query), this can increase both the quantity and the quality of your law firm website traffic.

How to add and edit meta descriptions in LawLytics

The LawLytics system automates some essential SEO functions (such as creating a sitemap and adding semantic markup), so you can focus your attention on creating content for your website.

Because it is impossible to predict the context of every Google query, by default LawLytics strategically leaves the meta description on newly created pages blank. By doing so, Google will always fill in the text that it thinks is most relevant to the search being conducted.

There are some strong arguments that you’re better off spending your time creating additional content on your website instead of creating meta descriptions. However, if you do want to add or edit a meta description, it’s easy to do so. Just go the “Advanced SEO” menu on any webpage or blog post. There you can add the meta description of your choice.

If you choose to add meta descriptions to your pages, keep the following in mind. Meta descriptions should be:

  • Concise. The meta description should be no more than 165 characters (we recommend 155 characters). If it is too long, Google will truncate the meta description when it is displayed in search results.
  • Unique and descriptive. Don’t repeat the same meta description on different pages across your website. A unique and clear meta description helps a search engine user decide whether to click on your website in search results. The more descriptive this text is, the more likely it is that the traffic you get from search engine results will be the right kind of traffic: potential clients and referral sources.
  • Accurate. Don’t try to “trick” Google by stuffing your meta descriptions full of keywords. And don’t try to lure website visitors into clicking by creating a misleading meta description. It could be confusing or off-putting to potential clients if your website content doesn’t match the meta description they saw in search results.

To learn more about what works–and what doesn’t–in law firm SEO, see our Law Firm SEO Guide.

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What Every Attorney Needs To Know About Law Firm SEO: Part II

What Every Attorney Needs To Know About Law Firm SEO: Part II