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DIY SEO for Small Business – Optimising your meta description tag

by Kelly Exeter | April 29th, 2011 | 2 comments

Optimise Meta Description

In our sixth post on DIY SEO for Small Business, we discussed the best way to add keywords to your Page Titles. In this installment we’ll look at the META Description Tag in more detail. The META Description tag is a short description included in the source code of each website page. It is not seen by people visiting your webpage, but it is often (but not always) displayed by Google after the Page Title in the search results.

MetaDescription

Your META Description tag should give the searcher a good reason to click through to your website

It is designed to be a summary of exactly what visitors will find on that page. Most of our guidelines for Page Titles apply to Descriptions as well: They should be attractive, readable, and unique to each page. But there are some differences:

  1. Length: Descriptions can be up to 175 characters (with spaces). Generally stick to one or two sentences.
  2. Style: Descriptions should be full sentences, not just phrases or sentence fragments. This may be a consumer’s first impression of your business, so it should sound professional and trust-worthy.
  3. Keywords: Reinforce the keywords used in your page title by using them again in the description, with perhaps a slight variation (using singular instead of plural spellings for instance). If you can work other keywords in without making the sentences awkward, go ahead.

  Be sure you are accurate about what information people will find on your page. If they click and can’t find what they’re looking for, all you are likely to get is a bounce. A “bounce” is a term used for visitors who get to your page, look at it for a second, and then hit the Back button because it isn’t what they were looking for. Bounces will not get you customers. Our next instalment in this series will cover how to write your META keywords, image ALT tags and H1 tags. In the meantime, if you missed the beginning of our series, head over to “What Is Search Engine Optimisation?

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