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Search Engine Optimization November 4th, 2008
Ever heard of a meta tag? Many people in the SEO industry believe that they have been devalued over the last few years in terms of their ability to get you ranked. Whether this is true or not is not the purpose of this post. What I wanted to discuss was how a properly written meta tag description can help you improve your click through rate from the search engines themsevles. A meta description tag is a brief, concise overview that describes the entire contents of a website page accurately and succinctly. This description is also displayed by the search engines and appears in the search results often.
Want to know where it appears in your code? It is placed inside the <Head> </Head> section of a web page and comes after the ‘title’ tag but before the meta ‘keywords’ tag. The appropriate syntax for this HTML tag is <META NAME="Description" CONTENT="Description here." /> Now that we have that figured out lets move on!
Below are 3 hints to help you with your website Page Descriptions!
Many times when the user searches for something, they will see what we call the meta tag ‘description’ below the ‘Title’ in the actual search results. If the user finds that the keywords and key phrases he used in the search, in the SERP there is a better chance that he will click on that particular find! The description is a user’s first contact with your site and he would usually prefer to click on a concise, well written description that contains relevant keywords he was looking for rahter than a description that is a mere jumble of keywords. It can also be written in advertisement style that should create an awareness and interest in a web user and entice him to click on the results. If you run a PPC campaign you will know the importance between a good description for your ads and its positive effects on click through rates. A good description can induce a user to click on your site
While writing the meta description you should try to include your most important keywords at least twice and two or three other keywords at least once. There is also a limit to the number of characters you should include in your description. Google generally displays up to 160 characters, Yahoo up to 165 and Bing up to 200. The description should be informative and compelling and should contain correct grammar, correct spelling and correct sentence structure.
Each and every page should have a separate meta description and should summarize that particular page only. For the main home page, you should use a site level, broad description. Never use the website’s URL address in the meta description tag. All major search engines usually want meta description tags present in every page’s HTML code. If the search engines do not find the description tag present, they will take the most relevant content from the page and include it as the description. This is usually an arbitrary decision the search engines makes depending on what it likes better.
There are many things that effect your overall search engine ranking results. A well written page description back in the day could make a huge impact. These days while still somewhat relevant to improving rankings, it actually can do much more to improve click through rates then people realized years ago.