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Meta Description Tag Now Affecting Seo In Google?


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8 replies to this topic

#1 tigger

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Posted 14 July 2010 - 05:48 PM

Hi, I've been away from SEO work for a while and I went to some training today at a local firm that specialises in SEO and was told that keywords in the Meta Description Tag now DEFINITELY affected your SEO in Google (and where your site is placed in the results).

I thought that the description tag didn't affect your SEO directly (not like the title tag) but instead was to be used as your "call to action" to prospective visitors to your site - telling them in the description exactly what they are likely to see if they click through.

I realise that "ranking" per se isn't really a factor nowadays - due to local search - but I was interested in what other people thought.

Have I missed a massive algo change at Google?

Cheers.

Jane

#2 Michael Martinez

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Posted 14 July 2010 - 06:51 PM

QUOTE(tigger @ Jul 14 2010, 03:48 PM) View Post
Hi, I've been away from SEO work for a while and I went to some training today at a local firm that specialises in SEO and was told that keywords in the Meta Description Tag now DEFINITELY affected your SEO in Google (and where your site is placed in the results).


That is an SEO myth that has been circulating for quite a while. You can optimize the description tag to provide a more useful and compelling message to searchers but that is all.



#3 qwerty

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Posted 14 July 2010 - 10:49 PM

It's a good idea to have keywords in the meta description because, should the page come up on a search for those keywords, it increases the chances that the search engine will use the meta description for the snippet rather than text lifted from the page (and there's no guarantee they will either way), and a well-written meta description can increase your clickthrough rate. But as Michael said, I'm not aware of any evidence supporting the claim that this has any effect on ranking.

I wouldn't be surprised if the people making this claim are basing it on seeing the keywords from the meta description bolded on the SERP, but we know that that's a completely independent process.

#4 tigger

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Posted 15 July 2010 - 12:49 AM

Thanks querty and Michael.

I've searched high and low for any proof of this but can't find anything. I even checked Jill's article on "how to create a meta description tag" - and that seems to agree with what we are saying - although I notice it hasn't been updated since 2004 (but I guess there's been no change):

QUOTE
Now, if I felt that "SEO copy" was a viable keyword phrase that people might be searching on, I may want to adjust my page accordingly so that the phrase appeared in my Meta description tag as well as somewhere in the body text. Again, this is not because it would help it to rank highly, but because I would receive a more suitable description that was more in tune with what the searcher was looking for. One can surmise that they might be more inclined to click on my listing in that case.


Interested to hear what others think.

Cheers. Jane

#5 chrishirst

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Posted 15 July 2010 - 06:12 AM

Where the "experts" might be getting confused, (which is never difficult) is with the increasing use of such pointless "tools" as "website value checkers" as "backlink sources".

These "tools" display the meta description on a page in a similar fashion to SEs do, and this page is crawled by SEs.

#6 tigger

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Posted 15 July 2010 - 06:15 AM

Thanks Chris. You could be right. I've no idea where they have got it from - I'm going to ask them...

Cheers. Jane

#7 Jill

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Posted 15 July 2010 - 08:51 AM

QUOTE
keywords in the Meta Description Tag now DEFINITELY affected your SEO in Google (and where your site is placed in the results).


They're wrong.

Recent tests I've done (and others have as well) show that they won't pull up a page where the keyword is ONLY in the Meta description.

If it's on the page somewhere AND the meta description, the meta description will often be shown and the keyword highlighted, however.

#8 tigger

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Posted 15 July 2010 - 09:20 AM

Thanks Jill. I value your opinion on this. Cheers. Jane

#9 Dwain Dibley

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Posted 15 July 2010 - 11:39 AM

QUOTE(tigger @ Jul 15 2010, 02:20 PM) View Post
Thanks Jill. I value your opinion on this. Cheers. Jane


So say we all... notworthy.gif

Had this 'discussion' with client just recently so this has helped a lot! Cheers

DD




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