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Knowledgebase: 2. SEO Basics
Make use of the "description" meta tag
Posted by Ouali Rezouali on 10 December 2012 06:22 PM

 

Make use of the "description" meta tag

 

Summaries can be defined for each page


A page's description meta tag gives Google and other search engines a summary of what the page is about (1). Whereas a page's title may be a few words or a phrase, a page's description meta tag might be a sentence or two or a short paragraph. Google Webmaster Tools provides a handy content analysis section that'll tell you about any description meta tags that are either too short, long, or duplicated too many times (the same information is also shown for <title> tags). Like the <title> tag, the description meta tag is placed within the <head> tag of your HTML document.

 

What are the merits of description meta tags?

 

Description meta tags are important because Google might use them as snippets for your pages. Note that we say "might" because Google  may choose to use a relevant section of your page's visible text if it does a good job of matching up with a user's query. Alternatively, Google might use your site's description in the Open Directory Project if your site is listed there (learn how to prevent search engines from  displaying ODP data).

 

Adding description meta tags to each of your pages is always a good practice in case Google cannot find a good  selection of text to use in the snippet. The Webmaster Central Blog has an informative post on improving snippets with better description meta tags.

 

Words in the snippet are bolded when they appear in the user's query (2). This gives the user clues about whether the content  on the page matches with what he or she is looking for. (3) is another example, this time showing a snippet from a description meta tag on a deeper page (which ideally has its own unique description meta tag) containing an article.

 


How you can make use of the Description Meta Tag through the Cabanova Sitebuilder:

 

- In the website builder, select the “File” tab and hit the “SEO” icon [a]:

 

 

A popup will open, where you will find a list of the pages in your website on the left [b]. Select a page by left-clicking it with the
mouse.

 

 

- Enter 1 to 2 sentences summarizing the content of the selected Webpage in Short Description [d] field.

 

Best Practices

 

Accurately summarize the page's content

Write a description that would both inform and interest users if they saw your description meta tag as a snippet in a search result.

 

Avoid:

- writing a description meta tag that has no relation to the content on the page
- using generic descriptions like "This is a web page" or "Page about baseball cards"
- filling the description with only keywords
- copying and pasting the entire content of the document into the description meta tag

 

Use unique descriptions for each page

Having a different description meta tag for each page helps both users and Google, especially in searches where users may bring up multiple pages on your domain (e.g. searches using the site: operator). If your site has thousands or even millions of pages, hand-crafting description meta tags probably isn't feasible. In this case, you could automatically generate description meta tags based on each page's content.

 

Avoid:

- using a single description meta tag across all of your site's pages or a large group of pages

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