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by Beth Jackson
on July 8, 2014

What Are Description Tags?

Description tags, also known as meta-tags, are used to store metadata in HTML documents for a webpage. Metadata constitutes information on a webpage that doesn’t appear to people who view the page but is easily read by Search Engine crawlers and bots. A keyword in description tag data will most commonly appear amongst a brief summary of the type of content that a webpage contains. When you say search engine optimization tips, the list of results that follows your query is presented in the format of a webpage title, followed by the URL, and then a brief paragraph displaying a sample of text containing the keywords that you requested. Many web pages choose not to utilize their description tags, but when they do, they appear in this paragraph space. If the description tag is not used, a sample of text from the webpage will appear here.

Are Description Tags Useful for SEO?

Generally speaking; not really. Major search engine algorithms like Google often provide very little mathematical weight, if any, to description tags when it comes to ranking websites based on keywords. This is due to the fact that since description tags are limited to roughly between 150 and 170 characters, it is far more likely that a keyword search will find better results in the WebPages’ actual content than the relatively brief description tag. A keyword in description tag data will be acknowledged by search engines, but only as a snippet of text to confirm that the web content from that page is indeed what the user is looking for.

Is It Worthwhile for Me to Put Time into My Description Tag?

Absolutely, but not too much. While description tags do have some effect on how likely a person will click on a search result, the magnitude of that effect is proportional to the length of the description tag relative to the actual web content. Since your description tag doesn’t actually appear when a page is opened, it shouldn’t be as scrutinized as your content in terms of quality; however, it can help draw in a few extra hits if a person happens to search for keywords that appear within it.

Does a Keyword in Description Tag Data Carry More Weight Than One in the Content?

Again, it is important to stress that a keyword in the description tag does not affect search engine criteria for rankings in any way. If you’re looking to improve the SEO rankings quality of your webpage, consider editing your titles, subheadings, and overall content to ensure that keywords are properly used.

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