I was on twitter this morning and I came across a tweet that introduced me to WP.com’s new (at least to me) SEO options. It looks like they finally implemented something I wanted for years, the ability to set the home page meta description. While I was checking that feature out I came across the above description that really confused me.
Craft a description of your site in about 160 characters.
Craft seems like an odd word choice. It’s a fun word don’t get me wrong but is it’s meaning universal. Also I get the 160 character limit but it’s not really explained. It’s almost seems like an arbitrary number (I know it’s not). What happens if I don’t use 160 characters? What if I go over? Will it break the internet? Is it like typing Google in Google?
I would have went with something simpler and more direct like:
“Describe your site, but don’t go over 160 characters.”
I think it get the point across better. While it doesn’t explain that Google will only show 160 character (I don’t really think it’s necessary) it at least lets them know that going under is ok, just make sure you don’t go over.
This description can be used in search engine results for your site’s Front Page.
The use of can confused me as well. If I put a description there will it or will it not be used as the description. It’s not really clear. Also I’ve never heard the term front page used to describe the home page. I guess WordPress calls the home page the front page but I’ve never heard the term used when talking about search engine stuff.
Here would also be a great place to include explain why the heck you need to spend the time adding a description here.
I would have done something like:
“First impressions are important. Setting your front page meta description gives web searchers a little preview of what your site is all about.” .
I don’t know if emphasizing that this only shows up on the front page is all that important. It’s called front page meta everywhere and I think explaining why they should do this is more important.
I also wish there was more explanation on the how. What makes up a good description? When creating a new campaign MailChimp links to a support doc that goes into detail on what makes up a great subject line. I would have loved to see a link to a support doc with tips and examples on great descriptions.
Finally while the preview is super helpful I would have loved it if it showed what was being used now (the first 160 characters of your home page) to illustrate how bad and useless it is now to reinforce the point that adding a custom description is a really good idea.