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Proper use of ‘meta description’ tag for SEO

March 31, 2008 by Mainak Biswas under Internet Marketing262 views
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‘META DESCRIPTION’ tag lost its shine after the emergence of off-page factors (like link popularity) for rankings in SERPS. In fact it lost its purpose to a great extent when Google started using contextual content from within the page as the description of the URL in its SERPS.

However in an interesting turn of events, ‘META DESCRIPTION’ is back in business!

Most search engines, including Google are now using the ‘META DESCRIPTION’ content as the description of the URL in their SERPS. The page ‘TITLE’ is now being shown as the listing title with ‘META DESCRIPTION’ as the description of the URL. If you compare it with Google AdWords, you can consider the ‘TITLE’ as the Headline and ‘META DESCRIPTION’ as the Description. Therefore, you must use it to outline your strength, your unique selling proposition and if possible your offer.

Loren Baker of Search Engine Journal mentioned cited this interesting Meta Description used by NextStudent.com in his article,

Looking for federal or private student loans for School? Get up to 40k Fast: Call 877-680-9879. Student loan consolidation? Call 800-299-4639. NextStudent- College Funding Made Simple.

You can also include your phone number (as cited in the above advertisement – description) for the prospect who is in a hurry! May be you will end up prospecting without having the visitor hit your website! In fact, with the latest version of IE and the FireFox plugins, the phone numbers listed in this description become hot-links, which a visitor can simply click and get connected on a voice call through Skype. And you can close a sale! 🙂

And yes, many SEO specialists believe that higher CTR on your SERPS listing (due to improved ‘TITLE’ and ‘META DESCRIPTION’) can help you further improve your rankings.

BTW, I forgot to mention that some expert copywriters may like to even put in their headlines and teasers to pre-sell the product / services!

Lisa Ditlefsen says:

Basically if you think about it the meta description tag is your FREE ad! If you have experience in running a pay per click campaign I’m sure you have put a lot of thought into what the PPC ad says. The ad is what distinguish you from all the other PPC ads right? So why should it be any different in the organic SERPs? The title tag is your free headline and the meta description tag is your FREE ad, this is where you have a chance to ad hook someone in. How many times have you searched for something, got to the results and been put off by the description, it can’t possibly be what you were looking for!!?

May be people do not give so much importance to this FREE ad, because it is FREE! It is never late. Give proper attention to your website ‘META DESCRIPTION’ tags and turn your organic traffic to a highly targeted FREE traffic.

 

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