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MainStreet228

Meta Tag Question

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Hi,

 

I think I already know the answer to my question but I want to reconfirm that I'm correct. Here is my question, do all of the major search engines always show there users what you have in your meta tag descrption or what is on your page ? depending on what there users search for ? If you target the keywords "las vegas travel guide" and in your meta tag description you use the term "las vegas travel guide" twice but on your page you use it eight times, what will the search engines show ? Your meta tag description or whats on your page ? or does that depend on the the search query ?

 

The reason why I ask these questions because I currently don't use any meta tag descriptions on my internet site ?

 

Thanks for your time.

Edited by MainStreet228

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If you don't use meta tag description it will take a snippet from the content. I've seen this for a site I have.

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MainStreet

 

Meta descriptions are displayed by some search engines under the title of your site in the search engine results. Currently, Yahoo & Ask seem to use them. I almost always include these because when they are displayed it's an opportunity to sell the reader on your site and get a click.

 

Google and MSN don't use the meta description page, but instead pull random snippets from your page and use it as the description.

 

Meta descriptions are not thought to be a significant factor in search engine ranking algorithms.

 

One thing to look out for if you're not providing a meta description and you have an old listing in either DMOZ or Yahoo! directory ... these directory descriptions could be displayed in your listing. If those descriptions are unattractive or inaccurate, you can prevent this by using a meta tag:

Yahoo! <META NAME="ROBOTS" CONTENT="NOYDIR">

DMOZ/ODP <META NAME="ROBOTS" CONTENT="NOODP">

 

Hope that helps.

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I can't speak for all search engines, but I believe Google's first priority is to take the snippet from your page (so you're okay). If they can't find one, they'll take it from the meta description.

 

More info here.

http://www.seroundtable.com/archives/006780.html

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Generally, Google and Yahoo create their snippets from the first text they find on the page that includes the exact phrase the searcher used in their query. If you want to increase click-throughs (not ranking), that absolutely should be your meta-description.

 

Here's some earlier posts I made in somewhat more detail:

 

The Importance of Meta Tags

 

Max Meta Description Length

 

Punctuation in Meta Description Tag

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There's some excellent 'meat' in those links you give, Ron. I particularly like the 155 character suggestion in the last one.

 

As you suggest, I try to limit the meta description to 155 characters, which is what Google will likely show if it includes the keyword phrase being queried. Since most of the other snippets on the SERP will likely be gibberish, your well-written 155 characters will likely get the click. :)

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Hi Everyone,

 

Thanks for the responses. If yahoo and ask currently use them is it possible for them to pull up other words on the page that the user was searching for ?

 

If you do have a page with a meta tag description will the page only be optimized for those words in the meta tag description or whats on your site ? or both depending on the query ?

 

Thanks everyone.

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its better to have a unique meta description tag for each of your page, but it doesn't mean that search engines rank web pages based on it. Search engines looks the page content as a whole, and also at those links pointing to that particular page.

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I think you'll find most people will say that the meta description has a negligible to zero effect on rankings.

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The Description meta tag can be used on all the major search engines to increase click-through rates, and more importantly, to pre-qualify visitors who won't be interested and thus lower the bounce rates and increase conversion rates.

 

However, all the major search engines also have certain quirks about when to use more trustworthy data for snippets too. Yahoo will use the description from its Yahoo directory for example. Google will use the description from a dmoz listing for the precise URL (thus usually only a root domain), and so forth.

 

You have to know enough to know when to use the NOODP and other snippet controlling meta tags; to understand how Google determine the best snippet to use on a searc term by search term basis; and to recognise that no matter what, there are times when the snippet is going to be pulled from the page.

 

There are still mllions upon millions of web pages out there that use the same meta content for every page, describing the site rather than the page, and even then making a poor job of it. There are millions more pages out there that are auto-generated by poor CMS systems and may have no meta content at all.

 

The search engines have to deal with all of these pages and issues, and have developped a system that is about te best all-around system they could create within realistic resources.

 

Making the systems and limitations of the search engines work to your benefit is what SEO is all about.

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I think for MSN and Yahoo Meta Tags are important but in case of Google meta tags are not so important.. :)

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