Whilst Google may say they don't use meta descriptions for ranking I beg to differ and especially so when that description is identical to important on-page information.
Good descriptions definitely assist with CTR and usually take, for me, 3-5 days for them to be shown.
12:44 pm on Jul 4, 2011 (gmt 0)
Thanks all, I've given it a tweak so now I'll just have to wait and see...
3:57 pm on Jul 4, 2011 (gmt 0)
Just make sure that each page has its own unique description. Using the same description for every page is useless.
4:04 pm on Jul 4, 2011 (gmt 0)
I'd be looking at my logs to see what and how many, if any, refers carried terms found in my current description before making any big changes.
Google may not use the description for ranking, but they do highlight terms/words/phrases in the used for the snippet.
Since that snippet might be your meta description, and highlighted terms/words might enhance CTR, caution is advised.
4:29 pm on Jul 4, 2011 (gmt 0)
I'm only doing the home page, all the product page descriptions are generated automagically.
I doubt the highlighting will make that much difference, I'm going from:
'Widget and other widget from My Widget Brand. Buy online with delivery throughout mainland United Kingdom.' To:
'Find the best widget deals at My Widget Brand. We stock widgets and other widgets from brand, brand, brand and more.'
The majority of traffic to that page is from 'widget' or 'other widget' and we are p1 above the fold.
5:01 pm on Jul 4, 2011 (gmt 0)
all the product page descriptions are generated automagically.
11:17 pm on Jul 4, 2011 (gmt 0)
Outside of Google the meta description is used when you share a link on Facebook and other social blog-ish sites.
4:07 pm on Jul 5, 2011 (gmt 0)
Search engines are said to use clickstream data to a certain degree as a ranking factor. Adjusting a meta description can affect your click-through rate. I would guess that a meta description has the potential to indirectly impact your search rankings. I think the impact is probably not noticable on one or two pages, but perhaps scaled across a product catalog maybe.
Again just a guess based off of what I've read. I'd welcome anyone to add to or counter it.