HTML Meta Description Tag Explained

The HTML Meta Description Tag can be used on web pages you control. It is placed within the <head> of your HTML document. By itself, it looks like this:

Meta Description Tag HTML Code

<meta name="description" content="YOUR Description" />

Simply copy and paste the code into your page and replace YOUR Description with a description of the page.

How To Add The Meta Description Tag To Your Page

Add the Meta Description Tag in-between the <head> tags:

<head>
<meta name="description" content="YOUR Description" />
<title>YOUR Page Title Goes</title>
</head>

The Meta Description is Your Advertisement

The Meta Description is often displayed by Search Engines within the SERPS after a search is performed. What this means is that this Tag should be used to write a short compelling and exciting advertisement for that page.

A sample Google SERP for the key phrase weight loss secrets:

google-serp-meta-description

Contrary to popular belief, the Meta Description and Meta Keyword Tags are not used by Google when calculating relevance, but they do sometimes use it within their Search Engine Results Pages. Having said that, there are many other Search Engines which probably still use it to calculate relevance.

You will notice when viewing a SERP that the search phrase (keywords) you just searched are bolded within the search result. This can often play an important part in increasing click-through rates.

Therefore, even though the Meta Description Tag is not an important factor when it comes to actual SEO, it can be an important part of the On-Page Optimization process because it can help improve click-through rates.

Improve Click-Through Rates from the SERPS

Treat the content of the Meta Description Tag as your advertisement to drive traffic from the SERPS to your pages. Next time you are using a search engine, pay attention to what causes you to click a particular result. Use this insight to craft your own compelling advertisement.

This is just as important as if you were writing a PPC ad which costs you money! The better the ad, the better will be your click-through rates.

Tips For Meta Description Usage

Make Each Page Unique – The content of the Meta Description Tag should be unique to each page on your website. If the Meta Description is the same on all your pages, people could think that all your pages contain exactly the same information and thus will not click-through.

Don’t Use extra “Quotes” – Put your description only within the content quotes like this: content="YOUR Description" Don’t put extra quotes inside the quotes

No Spamming – Make sure that the content of your Meta Description also exists in the body of your page as real content. Don’t trick people by placing irrelevant content into the Meta Description which does not match the content of your page.

Not only does this practice make people angry, it has been known to get pages penalized by certain engines because it is considered black-hat. Play it safe and make sure whatever content is within the Meta Description also exists on the page as well.

Meta Description Tag Length – Most search engines do not display more than 160 characters within the SERPS. Therefore the length of this Tag should be no longer than 160 characters.

The Meta Description Tag Is Not Really Required

Search Engines can also pull relevant content from your pages and display that content within the SERPS and the searched keywords will be bolded as usual.

Additionally, Google can pull and display content directly from your pages regardless of whether or not the Meta Description tag exists.

Webmasters and Internet Marketers who are targeting short specific SEO keywords and phrases generally use the Meta Description Tag on their pages.

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