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A way to ensure you write better description meta tags

Here’s an interesting idea which might overcome the problem of improving that most neglected part of most web pages: the description meta tag. Now, we all know that we should write a good description meta tag along with a good title for every web page, but it doesn’t look to me as if most companies get around to doing that. But what if that description meta tag appeared on the page itself, rather than being invisible, behind the scenes code? Then we’d all make sure it was great, wouldn’t we?

On the web version of this blog, for example, I have a dual-purpose field which serves as a “quote box” on the right hand side, and the description meta tag. For those of you who are running more of a product-oriented website, with a content management system which already uses the page’s title as the headline too, I wonder if you could get the system amended by its developers to include the page’s description meta tag as a subheading? It shouldn’t be that difficult. A subheading usually looks great on any product page, as the before-and-after examples below show. So you’d get things arranged such that there was a “sub-heading” field beneath your “headline” field, and just as the headline field is automatically used as the page’s title by default, so the sub-heading field would be used as the page’s description meta tag by default.



3 thoughts on “A way to ensure you write better description meta tags”

  1. I really like the idea Chris – as a way of getting companies that miss their meta description tags entirely to write them at all.

    I suppose the only drawback, and I’ve encountered this with title tags that double as headlines as well, is that a more sophisticated user loses a lot of flexibility.

    For instance, numbers in meta-descriptions are proven to increase click through rate and a telephone number can obviate the need for click through at all. Eg:

    “What if 50% of your description meta tags appeared on the page, rather than as invisible code? Could it double results? Find out why they should: 0845 602 525.”

    I think that would be much too sales led and off-putting to appear on the page but ideal for the SERPS. What do you think?

  2. You’re quite right, Richard. My suggestion really is that the system is set up so that if a description meta tag is not explicitly written, it defaults to the subheading. Both would have their own fields, but completion of both would be optional. If you chose not to write a description meta tag, the system would use the subheading. If you chose not to write a subheading, because it wasn’t appropriate for the page, it’d force you to write the description meta tag.

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