Snip snip, don’t let your website get the wrong cut

Ranking highly in Google is a goal for every website, but do it wrong and it can backfire and hurt your brand, your SEO and your business. Meta description tags matter in Hong Kong more than most places. Read on to learn why.

Google results pages list web pages with their titles, URL and snippet.  That two, or occasionally three, line summary of what the page is about. Often with ellipses and bolded word that can be clarifying or confusing in equal measure.

These lines are called the “snippet” and are crucial to getting people to visit your site once they have seen it in the Google results. A good snippet can increase your Click Through Rate, reduce your bounce or pogo sticking, and generally both make sure you get the right visitors now, and that Google will continue to send you visitors on the future,

A bad snippet can mean confusion , dissatisfied visitors, and a corresponding reduction in the respect that Google has for it, So a good snippet is crucial.

Google themselves say that the snippet is your pitch for your web page. It is the ultimate in elevator pitch in which you have just seconds to convince  the viewer that the should visitor your page, and not some other page.

Where do snippets come from

There used to be three places google got this text, but they recently announced that now there is only two. So all the more reason for you to get the one that is under your control correct.

  1. Google works it out themselves,basically guessing
  2. You tell Google using a meta description tag what to say
  3. They check the dmoz Open Directory

That last one is the one that has just been removed. It was never a great way, and now that directory is officially closed Google isn’t using it.

Of course it is the second one that most interests us for the SEO purposes.

Be in Control of your Google snippets

You can control it by entering the correct descriptions in the HTML of your website, depending on the system you use there may be a different place to enter it, for WordPress you could use a plugin, other systems have their own way

It is comparatively easy to do.

It I see it done wrong as often, or more so, than I see it done right on Hong Kong websites

Meta description in Hong Kong

HK websites are often multi lingual, with both English and Chinese pages for the same information. Each one therefore need the correct description for that language, but often I see this handled wrong.

Either a description only in English, in both the Chinese and English pages, or visa versa. Or worse,  or none at all.

If a page is in Chinese you are expecting it to appear for Chinese searches. So it had better show a Chinese snippet or you are sending the viewer the wrong signal even before they arrive at your website.

Fixing this should be on the top of your website audit todo list. Not just to find and fix the current errors, prioritising by impressions on that page or low CRT for position, but to fix the process. Descriptions should not be an afterthought any more than titles, headings or target keyword terms.

Getting them all in sync as part of a deliberate strategy is hard. But it needs to be done, particularly if your website is in a competitive industry

After all,  none of us want to be snipped in the wrong place.

Need help with your website audit? Contact us to see how we can help.

 

Raymond Lowe is an Internet Marketing Analyst at WL Media HK. He has been writing meta descriptions before most people had heard of Chrome. Connect with him on LinkedIn for the latest on Internet Marketing and how it applies to Hong Kong businesses.

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