Optimising a Meta Description Tag

Meta Description tag - what on earth is that? Description tags appear in the head area of your website source code. If you view the source code of this page, you will see this page’s meta description in the head area:

<title>Optimising a meta description tag - how to optimise meta description tags - head tags</title>
<meta name=”description” content=”Optimising a meta description tag - how to optimise meta description tags - head tags”>

Your description tag has a couple of purposes. Firstly, if it’s on focus, and Google doesn’t find another piece of content from the page that it feels is more on-focus than your optimised description meta tag, it will use it in your page listing in their search index, as below, from yesterday’s article about optimising your page title:

Google example listing

It also helps with the optimisation of your website. That’s a fairly controversial statement in the SEO world, as the gumflappers that sit all day on SEO forums will tell you that a description meta tag does not help optimisation in any way, without ever testing the theory. They simply repeat what they have heard from other “Gurus” and as very few of them are successful in optimising websites, despite talking a good game on the forums, they have likely never tested the theory. We have. Over the past ten years we have regularly tested different SEO techniques to see what actually works in the real worldand test after test convinces us that a well optimised meta description tag gives you an advantage over the same site, with the same content, with a poorly optimised description, or no description tag at all.

You will note from seeing the samples above, that we use the same or similar keyterm string in the Page title, as we do on the Meta Description tag. We do this to keep the page fully on-focus for the keyterms that you are targeting. You can expand your meta description tag up to 150 characters and spaces, but to keep the site on focus, I suggest you limit it to the length of the page title (around 74 characters and spaces) and only add a couple of extra terms, if you feel it is important to include them.

Remember, like your Page title, your meta description tag must be unique on every individual page of your website and on-focus with the content of the page and use sentence case - Capital letter only where they would appear in a regular sentence.

That’s it - you now know how to optimise a description meta tags - go do!

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The Big Man's SEO blog is primarily aimed at website owners looking for ethical SEO tips, optimisation advice and who are interested in reading articles and opinions related to search engines, the internet, technology and software.