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Using Page Content For The Meta Description


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#1 paranoidandroid

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 03:03 PM

In the past I've been a little lazy and rather than writing the meta description from scratch I've copied and pasted a couple of relevant sentences from the page content (not altered them at all).

I've noticed some wordpress SEO plugins do the same, and obviously Google may or may not choose to display what you have used for your meta description based on a user's search query.

Would it be better to make the meta description different to the page content (providing it's still relevant)?


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#2 EGOL

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 03:21 PM

I write my title tag to be competitively optimized. I often toss a value proposition into the title. (If you rank at #2 below the publisher shout your discount price to steal all of their sales. Or if you sell something that people use on trips shout "Ships Right Away!" to grab people in a hurry.)

For the description tag... I write mine to include my primary search terms a few words in (they will be bolded in the SERPs)... and I include something sexy or provocative to entice those who read it to click... words like "secrets"... "free".... etc... might be good. Elicit the click.

#3 DonnaFontenot

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 03:44 PM

The only real purpose of the meta description tag is to "elicit the click" as Egol says, so the only goal then is to make it as enticing as possible for the user to click on your listing and not someone else's. So, it's not really a matter of whether or not it's a duplicate of a page snippet. A couple of sentences from the text might be very enticing - or it might not. If, for instance, you spent considerable time and effort making sure the first sentence of every blog post was one that would be highly clickable within a SERPs snippet, and then copied that into your meta description, you would have achieved the goal of eliciting the click - even though the meta descrip tag was a duplicate of the first sentence. So...the duplication question is neither here nor there. The only question is:

Should I make my meta description enticing to the user so that I achieve a high click-thru rate?

The answer to that then, would be "yes".

#4 Wit

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 03:58 PM

And even IF you optimise your "description" meta tag, chances are the search engines won't even show it on the serps. They prefer showing bits of on-page text surrounding the keyword people searched for

#5 DonnaFontenot

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 04:01 PM

Very true, Wit. Although, I've found that if I've created a meta descrip tag that contains the keyword phrase that the page is most likely to rank for, then it will usually be used for that particular search. Of course, that may only cover one or two possible searches that the page ranks for, while the other umpteen phrases will probably show the on-page text as you describe.

#6 paranoidandroid

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 07:51 AM

Thanks for the advice everyone, I'm going to make sure the descriptions are optimized for the click :wub:

#7 A.N.Onym

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 06:44 PM

Wit, in my limited keyphrase checking experience, they show matching phrases from the meta description (or meta description as a whole, if it's relevant) and only in the absence of good stuff do they resort to showing content from the page.

Where did you see the opposite and how come your experience differs?

Just curious.

Thanks.

Edited by A.N.Onym, 15 July 2009 - 06:45 PM.


#8 arien101

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Posted 16 July 2009 - 02:43 PM

I have experienced the same as A.N.Onym. My meta description is nearly always used. Only if a term from the query is found on the page but not in the meta description will Google display the surrounding snippet from the page and partly ignore the meta description.

#9 Wit

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Posted 16 July 2009 - 09:46 PM

I guess I never really search for one-word or two-word stuff and always go for the "long tail" :) Those long search combos rarely ever appear in the meta.

Unless of course you copy the whole text but that would be pointless because it's already there on the page :D



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