Geek Speak: The Key to Search Engine Optimization: Meta Descriptions


There are many ways to optimize your website for the search engines. It can be overwhelming for a website owner or webmaster to properly optimize their site. But, that doesn’t mean it isn’t VERY important. Today instead of giving you a long list of stuff to do, we are going to focus on the most important type of SEO. Let’s get to work and update your Meta Descriptions.

What are meta tags?

Meta tags are small bits of text that describe a page’s content; the meta tags aren’t visible on pages, but they can be seen in the code. Here are 3 primary meta tags.

Title Tag: This is the text you’ll see at the top of your browser. Search engines view this text as the “title” of your page. This is important.

Meta Description: A brief description of the page. This is the most important.

Meta Keywords: Keywords that you can place in a webpage. But, search engines no longer use meta keywords in their ranking algorithm. So I don’t recommend that you add them.

Here is an example of some Meta Tags:


<title>Home – Valley Bugler Newspaper</title>

<meta name=”description” content=”The Valley Bugler is favorite local newspaper for Cowlitz County, WA. The Bugler is Good News, Inspirational Stories, Funnies, and Events. Longview / Kelso”/>

<meta name=”keywords” content=“not needed, ~:-)”/>

Google and other search engines don’t use your description for ranking, but they DO use them in search results. You should use them to invite visitors to click on your link. If they click and like what they see this will improve your search ranking.

What should they say?

This is your opportunity to let people know what they will get if they click on your link. Make it compelling AND relevant. If you wrote, “Click Here for Free Beer” you would likely get a lot of clicks, but unless you actually offered a complimentary beverage visitors would click away from your site. This won’t help in the search engines at all. But, if you offer good stuff AND deliver, the search engines will send more people your way.

How long should your Descriptions be?

It is currently recommended that you use 135-160 characters. Google only displays the first 135 characters so make sure that you have your message in that space. You won’t be penalized for writing more, and sometimes Google will display longer descriptions. But make sure your nail it in the first 135 characters.

Can I use the same Meta Description for each page?

Yes, but it is recommended that each page has its own unique description.

Ready to add those Meta Descriptions?

If you know your way around HTML, you can manually enter the unique description for each page. But, hopefully, you have a CMS content management system that can give you a hand. I’m a big fan of Yoast, a free plug-in for WordPress and Drupal. Go and update those Meta Descriptions.

Source: by By Oscar Myre IV