The importance of Meta Descriptions for restaurant, bar and café websites

Posted on Friday, June 12 2015 by Russ Huntington

In this blog post, we’re going to discuss Meta Descriptions – what they are, how they’re used, and why you should care.

What is a Meta Description?

A Meta Description is a part of each web page that describes the content of the page in one short sentence. It is an essential element of Search Engine Optimisation as it is used by Search Engines to describe the page to end-users – this means it allows you to influence the conversion of searches into visits to your website.

In HTML terms, a Meta Description looks like this:

How are Meta Descriptions used?

When a search engine indexes the pages on your website, it collects all the information it can find (text content, keywords, images etc.) along with the title of each page and it’s Meta Description. This means that when someone searches for content and your website is listed on the results page, the search engine will use the title and Meta Description to inform the user what’s on the page.

For example, the image below shows the Meta Description for the White Menu homepage, and how it would be rendered on Google’s results pages. It is a short description of who we are and what we offer:

Why should I care about Meta Descriptions on my website?

Meta Descriptions are an essential part of converting search engine searches into visits to your website. If you don’t provide a Meta Description at all, the search engines will simply take an educated guess at a page description based on the content of your web page – most of the time this is not even remotely optimal, as it could end up including menu text, copyright messages and other irrelevant text.

The best strategy is to keep the Meta Description as succinct and concise as possible. The optimum length is between 150 and 160 characters – you can have a longer Meta Description if you wish, but you may find it appears in a condensed form on the search results page with an ellipsis in the middle.

Ultimately, keeping on top of your Meta Descriptions puts you in full control of how you are represented by Search Engines. They give you the opportunity to entice potential customers on to your website, and of course then convert them into real paying customers. Conversely, neglecting your Meta Descriptions means you are leaving search engine algorithms to decide what you look like on Search Results pages!

If you are an owner of a restaurant, bar or café, and you’d like help marketing yourself online, get in touch with White Menu today!