The 160-Character Stump Speech
On a search engine results page (SERP), the listing of results returned by a search engine in response to a keyword query generally show two bits of information from your webpage, the title tag and the meta description.
TITLE TAG – Title tags / Page Titles are critical to giving users a quick insight into the content of a result and why it’s relevant to their query. These tags have a real impact on search rankings and are often the primary piece of information used to decide which result to click on, so it’s important to use high-quality, descriptive page titles on your web pages. Google typically displays the first 50-60 characters of a title tag.
META DESCRIPTION – Meta descriptions are a snippet of about 160 characters that summarizes a web page’s content, and is a large part of what is displayed in search results. Crafting a readable, compelling description using important keywords can improve the click-through rate for a given webpage. Google recommends that every page on your site has a unique meta description.
Properly worded and formatted meta tags can have an impact on a website’s search engine rankings and click-through rates, so great care should be used in crafting these snippets because you only have 50-60 characters in the title tag and about 160 characters in the meta description to sell yourself.
If you don’t have a meta description (or some pages have multiple meta descriptions), Google may select text from the content of your page, so your SERP listing could show up differently.
So how to the Title Tags and Meta Descriptions of the 2016 Presidential Candidates stack up?
(Not to show any favoritism, these are ordered according to the most recent Real Clear Politics national poll. We showed the Democrats first in the Presidential 404 Pages post, so Republicans get to go first on this one.)
Since these are all less than inspriring, I also looked at some of third-party candidate and some candidates that have dropped out of the race.
Since the Larry Lessig wesite doesn’t have a meta description written on the page, Google will pick text from the content of the page, which is why you have “portrait image for lessig” displayed in the results.
It looks like Gary Johnson, Gary Johnson, Gary Johnson, Gary Johnson, Gary Johnson, Gary Johnson is trying to stuff keywords. Note that keywords in the meta description don’t have a direct impact on rankings, but Google and other search engines will bold keywords in the description when they match search queries.
You probably don’t need a link to the webpage in the meta description on that page.