Search Engine Articles

KB: How does META Description affect your website search rank?

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2010

I found the META Description element in a webpage to be very useful element of a webpage. The Description content was displayed as it is on search engine results. Everytime I created a website, I used this description tag on all pages, just writing what this website was mainly meant for, or what the company serves through the result. But sooner I observed that this is limiting my results on the search engine.

The META Description finds its place on the HEAD part of HTML

<HTML>
   <HEAD>
      ....
      ....
      <META name="Description" Content="This website ....." />
      ....
   </HEAD>
   ....
   ....
   ....

META elements in HTML header are optional elements which describe or attribute the page in many ways. You can read more about META element from W3Schools HTML Meta Element

The Meta Description element content will be used by the search engines to display your site or page on search description, and it'll look really good. But it actually will hide the other contents from getting displayed on the search results. When a search engine crawls a webpage, it indexes all readable information and keywords from the page. If you page content gets a hit on any search, it'll get listed on the search results, but only the description will be displayed. The relevant content may be on the page, but that will not be pointed on the search results.

If your page has description as follows:
Online market place for selling used goods

If person in need searches for Used laptops, and one or more website pages has relevant contents as follows:
Intel Celeron M Laptop, 3 years, good condition - Call for details.

The search results will still show the description, but not the contents inside. The description in such a case will just be vague, and will give an impression that the site would sell used goods, but may not have the item one is looking for.

If the META Description is not available on the page, the search engine will show any relevent text from the page content rather than showing a fixed description.

Recommendations:

  1. Do Not use META Description on text-content-oriented pages. If you webpage has more text contents or is a dynamically rendered page, do not use the META Description, and let search engine display contents from your page body.
  2. Use META Description if your pages are designed with more images or Flash, with less text content. For example, if you main page of site is just a Flash presentation, with a link to enter into the site, you can use META Description so that the page contents can be indexed well.
  3. If you want to use META Description, DO not use same description all-over the website. Do not place them on Master Pages, so that they appear same on all page.


 

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