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Examining the Meta Description tag


The DESCRIPTION tag is important because search engines often index it (under the reasonable assumption that the description describes the contents of the page) and, in some cases, may use the DESCRIPTION tag to provide the site description on the search-results page.

In most cases these days, the major search engines usually don’t use the DESCRIPTION tag to provide the description in the search results. Instead, they typically find the search words in the page, grab a snippet of information from around the words, and use that as the description. (In some cases, Google and MSN may grab the description from the Open Directory project, while Yahoo! may use the description from the Yahoo! Directory.)

In some cases, though, if the search engine can’t find the keywords in the page (if it finds the page based on its TITLE tag, for example, or links pointing at the page rather than page content), it may use the DESCRIPTION tag. Open a Web page, then open the HTML “source” (select View➪Source from your browser’s menu), and take a quick look at the DESCRIPTION tag. It should look something like this:

<META NAME=”description” CONTENT=”your description goes here”>

Sites often have the same problems with DESCRIPTION tags as they do with TITLE tags. The tags aren’t there, are hidden away deep down in the page, or simply aren’t very good. Place the DESCRIPTION tag immediately below the TITLE tags and create a keyworded description of up to 250 characters (again, including spaces).

Related SEO Tips

Meta Description Tag Optimization
Many search engines still support it and display it in their page description snippets in their search results.

Description Meta Tags
Description Meta tags are special HTML tags that can be used to carry information

Importance of Meta Description
In most cases, Google doesn’t use the text from the description meta tag in its search results page.