Friday, August 20, 2010

Describing the Description Meta Tag

The <description> Description Meta Tag directly represents what will appear as the "summary" of your web page. This will be displayed after the title of your web page in any search result SERP or "listing". The content of the description should clearly communicate what a visitor to your web site can expect to find when linking to your site, and you should include keywords in the description to help boost the ranking of the page even further.

Avoid simply pasting your keywords here as most search engine users will not respond well to a search result that does not contain a short explanation of your page. You should try to 'hide' the keywords within the description so that you achieve more favourable results within an engine listing. This makes the Description Meta Tag the perfect opportunity to repeat keywords and add more key phrases for your web page!

The description tag should be about 250 characters maximum, include the primary five keywords repeated 2x/3x each within this description (but NOT more than three times). Description Tags should contain between 12 and 24 words and written as a call to action to encourage users to click on it. Many search engines will display this summary along with the title of your page in their search results. Keep this reasonably short, concise and to the point, but make sure that it's an appropriate reflection of your site content.

Here's a HINT; It is beneficial to reflect the content very similarly in the first section of text that appears on your actual page. Try to make your description content very user friendly for humans to read. This tells them what the page is all about. It should reflect the title, but NOT repeat it word for word. Google does not use the description verbatim, preferring instead to return what they consider a relevant snippet from the page’s content. In any case, the description is still a valuable on-page factor, as Yahoo does use the description as intended, and Google will sometimes return relevant parts of the description in snippets.

Every page should, if possible, have a unique description. Descriptions should always reflect what a user can expect from a page, be proper sentences and read well. It should not be a repeat of the title, but instead expand upon the title.