Meta descriptions are a forlorn and all too often forgotten part of web design. Originally developed for the first search engines to tell what the webpage was supposed to be about, meta descriptions were heavily abused by spammers and now are a much smaller factor in search engine rankings. However, meta descriptions still do serve an important purpose: they are your advertisement in search results to tell searchers what your page is about and get them to click on your link. The title tag gets all the love from people since it is the anchor text for the link from the search engine and also is a strong ranking signal to Google, but your meta description will give people extra information if they want it before clicking your link. Below is where your meta description appears in search engine results:
I circled the meta description in red in the above search result.
Your meta description will help your visitors better understand what your article is going to be about. You have about 150 characters to explain what your page is about. I would mention your targeted keywords in the meta description not just for SEO purposes, but so that when the searcher’s eye scans down the page it is more likely to catch on your article. Mentioning the keyword once or twice is okay, but don’t do it more than that or you will look like a spammer.
Meta descriptions are an important part of good web design, so don’t forget them!