Optimizing Description Tags – 7 Top Strategies

Site owners don’t often put much thought into meta descriptions tags. They will write anything that comes into their heads without considering who’s going to read them.

What are meta description tags?

These are the tags you insert after the title tags of your web site. The description displays under the title of your web site in the search engine results pages (SERPS).

7 Top Strategies for Optimizing Description Tags:

1. Include keywords

Don’t duplicate the keywords used in your title tag. Try to vary them a little ie if you used the plural form in the title tag use the singular form in the description tag.

If you used an abbreviated word in the title tag use the full word in the description tag.

2. Write a different description for every web page.

Make sure the description adequately describes what the web page is about so the visitor knows immediately what to expect.

3. Get into the head of your visitor.

You only have a few sentences to make an impression on your visitor. A well-crafted description will help differentiate your site from your competitors. Try to understand what will draw the visitor into your web site. Make sure you write full sentences, not an abbreviated ones.

4. Length of description

The search engines will read anywhere from 150 to 250 characters. Google displays about 150 to 160 characters. If it is over 160 characters it will be truncated. Other search engines allow more characters. A general rule is to write 200 characters (approximately 25-30 words.)

5. Include keyword phrases used in web content

Search engines give more weight to sites which include the same keyword phrases in the web copy and description tags therefore incorporate keyword phrases used in your web page content.

6. Word order

Place your most important keyword phrase at the beginning of your meta description tags. It should also be a phrase that captures your visitor’s attention so they will want to check out your web site.

7. Correct coding

Errors in your code slow the search engine spiders or they may not read your description correctly. Check your code by running it through an online validator at: http://validator.w3.org/

The description tag is coded differently for HTML and XHTML.

In HTML the tag has no end tag. ie

<meta name="description" content="7 Top Strategies for optimizing description tags">

In XHTML the tag must be properly closed.

<meta name="description" content="7 Top Strategies for optimizing description tags" />


Optimizing the description tags is is not as important as optimizing the title tags because the description tags don’t impact your rankings as much. Instead focus on providing a well-written description that will make visitors want to check out your web site.

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