We’ve seen here that Google is toying with the death of the meta description. What this means for site owners is they’re looking to lose some precious real estate on the search results page if this test is adopted by Google (Google often tests on real customers, which this appears to be). Is this, though, for the benefit of searchers to have less information at their fingertips before they click? Or, is this another step away from organic search? Like MajesticSEO’s Dixon Jones recently said: “What makes you think there will BE any organic results 12 months from now?” Is life without organic search traffic, which is often a no. 1 source for sites, the future of inbound marketing? When I need to explain what a search result is comprised of, I say the title — the link in Google that it shows about 70 characters of — is the site owner’s chance to grab the searcher’s attention in that list of 10 search results. The meta description, shown as about 155 characters of black text, is the site owner’s chance to close the click — to explain why more than any other search result, the searcher should click on the site owner’s.
In this latest example, Google is ignoring the meta descriptions set on the four pages that have them set, and is showing descriptions much shorter than previous search engine results pages have shown. Three of the four that show on two lines have no meta description set. One of them (the Facebook page) has a meta description set, but it is ignored in lieu of what Google inserted. Three of the remaining six have meta descriptions set, but are limited to just one line. This wouldn’t be the first time that a meta tag fell from grace. Meta keywords have been dead since before you were likely aware of Google. Danny Sullivan announced it in 2002. In 2009, Matt Cutts of Google explicitly stated to quit focusing on meta keywords.