The “description” META tag is probably the second most important thing that you should spend some time on to get your Web site properly listed in the search engine results pages (SERPs) like Google and Yahoo. It helps you get the position you want, but it’s useful to entice people to click through to your Web site. The “title” tag, which we described in the last post, and the “description” tags are your customers very first impressions about you, even before they look at your Web site.

Where Is The Description META Tag?

If you go into your browser and pull up one of your pages, view the source (or look at it in your HTML editor). Look between the <head> and closing </head> sections near the top. Hopefully you’ve got a section that looks like this:

<meta name="description" content="some text goes here" />

The content=” “ section is the part that we’re most concerned with here. You can have a maximum of 250 characters (including spaces!) between the quotes. If you have more, Google will ignore the rest. But typically, Google only displays the first 165 characters in their search engine results page (SERP).

Title and description search engine results META tag example

Title and description search engine results META tag example

A typical entry might look like the sample here, which shows the blue <title> tag, which is an active link to the company’s Web site. The “description” tag consists of the two black lines shown below the <title> tag.

What Do I Put In The Description Tag?

You want to make the “description” tag compelling and entice your customers to click through to your Web site. You have 165 characters to give them a reason to come into your virtual store, and you only have one chance. If they don’t click on you and leave, it’s as if they are window shopping and just walked right on by. They may not come back. In the example above, they entice you with a “beautiful smile without all the ugly hardware”. Pretty compelling, isn’t it?

They’ve also made it easy on someone who might be looking for their services by providing the phone number right in the “description” tag. A browser may just decide right on the spot to give them a call, because they already know about them. This makes it so easy for their customers, that they don’t have to do anything but pick up the phone and call.

What Happens If the Description Is Missing?

If you don’t have a “description” META tag in your code, you risk that Google will display random content from your Web page or just the top content, which may not really be what you want to show up. Some people do this as a deliberate, advanced SEO technique, but you have to craft your content very carefully for this to work. In most cases, it’s easier to just give Google what you want them to display, complete with “hooks” and compelling reasons for your customers to come into your virtual store.

By the way, ALL pages should always have a unique “Title” and “Description” tag. Every page on your site needs to be completely unique in order for Google to distinguish between them.

Flex Your Internet Marketing Muscle!

Remember, that if you don’t work your muscles, they go flabby and get soft. Just like your muscles, you have to practice what we teach. The more you practice, the better you’ll get, and the stronger you’ll get. Practice the techniques we teach and those that you learn from other people. Make them your own, and you’ll succeed.