in the early days of search engine optimization, it was common practice to try and “stuff” the meta keyword field with various keywords that a webmaster wanted associated with a given web page. spam tactics took hold early and often.
the meta description tag had suffered the same fate as the meta keyword tag. many people tried spamming the field to influence/trick the search engines into thinking a page had certain relevance that was not necessarily true.
as a result of all this tomfoolery, Google and other engines began to discount the value of the meta tags (keyword and description) and their content.
while i recommend against adding meta keywords to every page of your site (waste of time), i highly recommend creating unique, human-friendly meta description tags for every page of your site.
while Google may no longer assign value to meta description tags, the meta description tag plays a BIG role in conveying a strong marketing message and from the vantage point of usability.
try the following two examples on for size:
Dry Dog Food from DogFoodExperts.com
Find the largest selection of dry dog food on the internet at DogFoodExperts.com. We offer dry dog foods from brands such as Purina, Gravy Train, Tasty Eats and more. Free shipping on orders over $75.
which one would you rather click on?
the first example clearly speaks to the content found on the subsequent landing page as well as to the end user who is able to make a more intelligent decision on which link to follow.
the second example had and un-optimized title tag and no meta description tag at all. when you omit the meta description tag, the search engine will have a tendency to grab the first pieces of text it can find on the page and use that as the description. in many cases, that text will be a top navigation bar, hence the “home”, “about us”, etc.
as you can see, the meta description tag can go a long way with influencing your conversion rates.
a more qualified lead will almost always convert better than a casual observer who is not sure of what they’ll find when they click on a non-descript link in the search results.
keep all this information in mind when building and/or optimizing your site. your customers will thank you.