What Is a Description Meta Tag?

In this post, we will discuss one of the fundamental ingredients in Search Engine Optimization. The Description Meta Tag, when used properly, gives search engines an accurate description of your web page content. What is a Description Meta Tag?

meta description tag

Simply put, it is an accurate summary of what a web page is all about. It can be a short paragraph or just a sentence or two. The description meta tag is located in the <head> section of your HTML web page document. A meta tag is a tag (that is, a coding statement) in the Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) that describes the contents of a Web page.

The Description Meta Tag

Why Is a Description Meta Tag Important?

This is a concise description of your web page that may be used by Google as a snippet just below your page title in a search result. Sometimes Google may choose to use a selection of text directly from your web page content instead if they consider it more relevant to the search users query. Therefore, it is good to ensure that your description meta tag is as accurate as possible in describing the content of your web page. If a word in your description meta tag matches a word used in the search query, it is bolded in the search result. This helps to user to determine if the search result linking to your web page is relevant to them.

description meta tag in Google search

A Description Meta Tag Should be Accurate

Here are some guidelines provided by Google for writing a good Description Meta tag:

♣ Do not write a description meta tag that is an inaccurate description of the web page

♣ Do not use generic terms like: "This is my web page" or "This page is about Baseball."

♣ Do not use only keywords. Use complete sentences to describe the web page content.

♣ Do not copy and paste the entire content of a web page into the description meta tag.

Use A Different Description Meta Tag for Each Web Page

Each web page should have an accurate and unique description meta tag. If you have hundreds of pages of content or more on your website, it is acceptable to use software that creates an automatic and unique description meta tag for each page. Content Management Systems like WordPress have software tools available (plugins) that generate description meta tags automatically from web page content. Ideally, for the best description, it is good to edit each Description Meta Tag manually.

Does A Description Meta Tag Benefit Search Engine Optimization?

Not directly. Its prime benefit is to give search engine users an accurate preview of what a web page is about before they click on the link to it. If the Description is accurate, well written and compelling,  it may attract more visitors to your web page for that reason.

You may enjoy reading the first article in this series: Page Title & SEO


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The Description Meta Tag & SEO…