THE META DESCRIPTION TAG

Meta Description Tag is a snippet of HTML code that belongs inside the <Head></Head>section of a web page. It is usually placed after the Title Tag and before the Meta Keywords tag, although the order is not that important.

The Keywords and phrases you use in your Meta description tag may not affect your page’s ranking in the search engine, but this tag can come in handy in your overall SEO and social media marketing campaigns.

The proper syntax for this HTML tag is:

<META NAME=” Description” CONTENT=Your descriptive sentence or two goes here.”>

If you are using a content management system (CMS), look for a field to fill out that’s called Meta Description or just Description.

Reasons Why Meta Descriptions are important:

  • They can be used as the description (or part of the description) of your page if it shows up in the search results.
  • They are often used as part of the descriptive information for your pages when Google shows ” extended site links” for your site.
  • They are often used as the default description in social media marketing links such as Facebook and Google+

META DESCRIPTIONS IN THE SEARCH RESULTS

Although what you put in the meta description tag may be used as the default description by search engines under the clickable link to your site in the search results, this is not always the case.If you search for a site by its URL e.g. http://www.businessandlifetips.com, Google tends to use the first 20-25 words of your Meta description as the default description in the search result pages (SERP). On the other hand, Bing and Yahoo don’t always default to the Meta description tag for URL searches. Sometimes they do or don’t. A search for http://www.businessandlifetips.com shows content from my home page as the description rather than the contents of my Meta description tag.

People don’t normally search for a site by URL, instead most of the times they use KEYWORDS. If you want to find more information on this, go to your favorite web analytics program and find the keywords phrases that are currently bringing you the most traffic. Then see what your description looks like at Google, when you type in those keywords. To your surprise you will find that each search result description is different for every search query. You may see any combination of the following used:

  • A full sentence pulled from your Meta description tag, but not the entire Meta description (If it contains more than one sentence).
  • Your entire Meta description tag next as the complete description (typically) if it is highly relevant and contains no more than 25 words
  • Text from one part of your Meta description mashed together with text from another part of it (If it’s more than 25 words long)
  • Some text from your page mashed together from some other text from your page (nothing from the Meta description)

Circumstances that may cause Google not to use text from your Meta Description may include:

  • The information in the Meta Description tag was not specific to the page it was on.
  • The search query used some words that were not in the Meta Description, but those words or some of them were used in the page content. This includes words that Google considers somewhat synonymous like ”copy” and ”copy writing” or  ”SEO” and ”search engine optimization”.

Note that, they are no exert rules to this. Google doesn’t always use all or part of the Meta description even when the exact search phrase was contained within it-especially if the search query is also contained within the content of the page. Suffice it to say that there are no rules for when Google will show it and when it won’t.

Always use description tags on any pages where you get search engine visitors ( or hope go get them). Make them very specific to the page they are on by describing what someone will find when they quickly click-through to the page from the search results, while also using variations of your targeted keywords.

Since Google will only show around 20-25 words as your description, it is recommended that you limit this tag to a certain number of characters although in reality you are not limited to any specific number. Your Meta description tag can be as long as you want it to be because Google will pull out the relevant parts and make their own snippet.

Google often uses the first few words from your Meta description tag when they create the “Extended site links”  for your website. This is highly keyword dependent. You will see site links and different descriptions showing up depending on the words a searcher used at Google.

If your article has a Meta description, Facebook and Google+ will default to that when you share a link on your profile or page. If there isn’t a Meta description, you’ll see the first sentence or so from the page being used as the default. Therefore it is advisable to always write a compelling 1-2 sentence description for all of your articles and blog content that may be shared via social media, and place it into your Meta description tag. This will enable people to know what the article is actually about before they click it.  Sign up a for a blog or Website at  IPAGE

Bottom Line

Meta description tag gives you a little bit more control over what people might see before they click over to your site. The more compelling it is, the more click-through s you will see. Hence it is paramount to  take a few minutes of your time just to create that interesting, keyword-rich tags that sum up what users will find in your article when they click.