Should you stop writing meta descriptions? Michael Martinez says you should.
Here’s his reasoning for abandoning your meta descriptions:
Trust me — there is nothing compelling about a meta description that a search engine chooses to ignore because it has moved the pointer a few degress further into the page.
I’ll have to respectfully disagree with him even though I respect his knowledge, reputation, and his spirit. He’s wrong about meta descriptions.
It isn’t that the search engines use them for ranking purposes, but they do use them. Let’s use a search query that Michael references in his blog post as an example. The search query, word for word as presented by MM, is: build a backyard canopy.
On Bing, the No. 1 search result is an eHow article – “How To Build An Outdoor Canopy.” Not an exact match, but don’t look at the Title. Look at the snippet.
A simple square or rectangular canopy can be built for your backyard or garden using standard-sized framing lumber and sheets of translucent corrugated roofing. …
This is taken word for word from the eHow article’s meta description, which, by the way, is too long, but that’s beside the point. Bing took eHow’s meta description, or a part of it, verbatim and used it as the search result snippet.
Google did the same thing, although eHow’s article is farther down in the search results. The snippet is the same.
You should continue writing meta descriptions because the search engines don’t always ignore them.