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October 11, 2011

Reader Rescue : Should My Meta Description Tags Just Duplicate My Title Tags?

Hi Everyone

From early days learning SEO, I went ahead and did all my meta descriptions with a bit of blurb about the page but my *Guru* has told me this is incorrect and I should include only the title of the page in the meta description, eg “Antique Dining Chairs” whereas I had put in “Antique Dining Chairs – over 500 chairs on display at the Glebe Antique Centre.  Dining chairs to match your table, occasional chairs for that special place in your home”.

Any thoughts before I go and change everything yet again?

Christine

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Hi Christine

From where I’m sitting, your *guru* is wrong. Remember, your meta description tag is often used as the snippet on the search results pages to describe your site.

So apart from including keywords, it has to do the job of convincing people to click on it. A nonsensical list of keywords is not going to convince people to click so you have to balance it out with an appealing sentence, preferably including a call-to-action or reason to click.

Yes, it’s important to put your keywords at the start of the tag if you can, but you have up to 160 characters in that tag indexed by search engines, so you should use the space to your advantage. Having a short, unimaginative meta description or simply copying your title tag is not going to make any difference to your overall rankings and is more likely to turn your potential visitors off.

Google admitted that it no longer considers the meta description tag in their ranking algorithm anyway, so, other search engines aside, the main job of the tag in Google SERPs is to convince people to click on the link and visit your site.

Put it this way: if you were in the market for an antique chair and you saw the following two listings in Google, which one would you click on?

  • Site1.com – “Antique Dining Chairs.”
  • Site2.com – “Antique Dining Chairs – over 500 chairs on display at the Glebe Antique Centre. Dining chairs to match your table, occasional chairs for that special place in your home.

I’m thinking Site2.com – am I right? And – oh look! The longer tag managed to include *dining chairs* twice and a whole bunch of other keyword phrases as well: *dining chairs Glebe*, *chairs Glebe*, *occasional chairs*, *Antique(s) Glebe*.

Case closed.

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Got a Reader Rescue question of your own? Post it in the comments and you might see it featured here on the blog.

7 Responses to “Reader Rescue : Should My Meta Description Tags Just Duplicate My Title Tags?

    Timely post and thanks for the share. Though I dont have any question right now will get back to you….

    Ofcourse most of people will look for site2.com.
    Because that what human want to see and they will likely to click on .
    Your website is build to get human read and not for search engine read.

    If you try to hard to spam in keywords, you will get an opposite result.

    It’s unfortunate a lot of “SEO Gurus” are still selling out-dated information. I look at the meta description as an ad. Like you pointed out, it should be used to convince the person to click through to your site.

    Its true , using lots of keyword in meta description is useless, I will prefer to use my targeted keyword in meta description beginning.

    avatar roger says:

    Keywords is vital role promoting our small business.Sharing your brilliant ideas its really makes sense.I salute your team.Keep up this good deed.
    Kindest regards

    avatar Jeff Ellis says:

    Ha! I just worked with a client on this topic today. Another web designer had steered my client into believing that the description should be the same as the meta keywords list and each page should have the same description. Too many well-intentioned experts fail to recognize that the requirements for good SEO are always evolving. I have re-educate most of my clients when we begin working together.

    This was a well written response. Good job!

    Your meta tags and title tags should always be different as well. Check google webmaster tools to see if you have duplicate tags, titles, alt tags. Try to make each page and each tag unique to avoid duplicates.

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