I’ve often said the most important meta tag is your Title tag and the least important (of the three major tags) is the keywords tag. But in the middle is the Description tag and it’s pretty doggone important for your on site search engine optimization.
As you know, the Title tag determines the text in your SERP listing that links back to your web page. It’s also the verbiage that visitors on your website will see in the top left corner of their browsers. But what is the Description meta tag and what does it do?
In a word, the Description tag becomes the snippet that Google and other search engines use to describe your website in the SERP. If you don’t include a Description meta tag in your web pages then the search engines, and Google is bad about this, will just pick text at random from your page to turn into a snippet for your SERP listing. When you do that then you are leaving your success to chance. I’ve seen some pretty weird snippets for SERP listings and it’s because the website owner didn’t include an adequate Description tag.
Even if you do include a Description tag, Google can sometimes use other text on your website because it doesn’t like your Description tag. You really need to put some thought into that tag. Here are three things every Description meta tag should have:
- Your keyword – preferably near the beginning of the tag
- An adequate and accurate description of your web page
- No more than 150 characters
You can write a longer Description meta tag, but Google will only show the first 150 characters. Other search engines will show between 150 and 200. The point is this, your most important information about your web page needs to be in the first 150 characters of your Description tag.