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Blogger And Meta Tags Missing


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16 replies to this topic

#1 Shamatae

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 08:39 PM

I do have a question that may be more of a Google Blogger issue.

I composed my blog post, in Blogger, and include labels, description, keyword optimization (title, headers, image file names and image alt). I even optimized my template to change the title from each post to have the "post title | site name".

After publishing it, I'll go to the SiteReportCard site and find that its stating, "No Meta Tag found" on both description and keywords. This is true on my main site.

My report card ends up being pretty bad. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.



#2 qwerty

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 07:49 AM

I believe there's a setting in the control panel that allows you to add a meta description to the home page, and once you do that, you should be able to add it to individual posts as well.

 

Don't bother with the meta keywords tag. Unless you want a place where you can keep track of the specific keywords you're targeting for each page, it's useless.



#3 Mikl

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 11:09 AM

I believe there's a setting in the control panel that allows you to add a meta description to the home page, and once you do that, you should be able to add it to individual posts as well.

 

That is correct. You can set a default description in the "Search preferences" settings. Once you've done that, it enables another option in the side-bar of the post editor, which lets you enter a description for the specific page. It's usually worth doing that, otherwise you get a generic description that applies to the site as a whole.

 

Mike



#4 Michael Martinez

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 02:43 PM

There is absolutely no need for a meta description tag. The search engines prefer you let them figure out which text snippet to show in the SERPs.

In fact, because so many sites continue to implement duplicate meta descriptions, Google is now officially advising people to just leave them out if you cannot make them unique:



#5 qwerty

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 08:36 AM

I agree that if you're not in a position to a give a page a unique meta description, you're probably better off leaving the tag out altogether. But there is an advantage to having the tag: you can include a call to action in it, which can improve your CTR.

 

If you exclude the tag, Google's going to grab some text off the page in order to generate the snippet, and while it's likely to be relevant, it may not be very attractive or enticing.

 

One caveat to keep in mind is that as always, it's all up to Google to decide not just whether your page will appear on the SERP, but how. In the same way they may present something other than the content of your title element, they might grab text off the page even if you provide a unique meta description. It all depends on what the algo determines to be the snippet that best reflects your page's relevance to the query, so it's up to you to not just get a call to action into the description, but to include the keyword phrase(s) you hope/expect the page to be returned for.

 

Is it worth the effort? As our pal Mr Cutts suggests, it probably is for your most important pages. Depending on the size of your site, it might be worth it to do this for every page, but maybe not. I've been slowly cleaning up duplicate titles and descriptions on one of the sites I run since early this year, and I'm now considering the possibility of just recommending that the meta description tag be dropped from a lot of pages, But that may not be possible, if the template these pages are based on would need to be edited, and that would end up removing the tag from pages that do have a unique description.


Edited by qwerty, 20 November 2013 - 08:37 AM.


#6 Michael Martinez

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 03:10 PM

If you exclude the tag, Google's going to grab some text off the page in order to generate the snippet, and while it's likely to be relevant, it may not be very attractive or enticing.


A little over 2 years ago I wrote in "These Aren't the Meta Descriptions You're Optimizing For":

Your Holy SEO Mantra for Meta Descriptions for the next THREE YEARS must now be: “The Entire Page Is The Meta Description”. GET THAT THROUGH YOUR THICK, CONSERVATIVE, GRAND-FATHER CLAUSED NOGGIN’ because I am *not* going to repeat myself again for a long, long time.

NOTE: Don't take the language personally -- I was on a roll that day.
 
One can place text on the page that is appropriate for targeted queries and still embed calls to action. The search engines are pretty good at matching precisely targeted on-page text with queries.

And the visitors actually see what they are clicking on in the SERPs when they arrive at the landing page.

Edited by Michael Martinez, 20 November 2013 - 03:11 PM.


#7 qwerty

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Posted 21 November 2013 - 01:14 PM

That's certainly true for a lot of sites, but I don't think for all. I work for an online casual games company. The call to action I want to show up on the SERP is usually play a game, play some type of game, or play some particular game title. Once someone clicks through to the page, there's the game. I don't need to tell them to play. Instead, there are other calls to action I can put on the page for the user to pay attention to either before or after they play: join us, sign in, buy some credits to play lots of games, check out these related games, etc. I don't want those CTAs to show up on the SERP when the query involved playing a game, and they're not likely to, but the CTA that does relate to the query doesn't really make sense on the page. There's the game, there's some information about the game if you want to study up before you play, but the closest thing to a "play this game" CTA that shows up on the page is a "play now" button.

 

So if I want the CTA in the SERP to get someone looking to play a game to click over to my page, I'm putting it in the meta description.


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#8 Michael Martinez

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Posted 21 November 2013 - 02:51 PM

...The call to action I want to show up on the SERP is usually play a game, play some type of game, or play some particular game title....

You canot guarantee that any specific snippet will be displayed for a given query -- certainly not by using a meta description tag.

You'll have more success by providing the CTA snippets in the body of your on-page text, close to the text that matches whichever queries users employ to find content like yours.

Meta descriptions are pretty much obsolete and have been for years. This is equivalent to believing that everyone reaches a Website through its root URL and not through the thousands of secondary pages that the site publishes.

#9 qwerty

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Posted 22 November 2013 - 08:35 AM

You canot guarantee that any specific snippet will be displayed for a given query -- certainly not by using a meta description tag.

I know. I pointed that out in this thread a couple of days ago:

 In the same way they may present something other than the content of your title element, they might grab text off the page even if you provide a unique meta description.

But in the example I gave, I don't think the same CTA that would bring a person to the page would be relevant or useful on the page. Giving the user what they're looking for, in this case, isn't a matter of them easily finding a particular snippet of text, but seeing the actual game or games they were searching for.



#10 Michael Martinez

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Posted 22 November 2013 - 10:33 AM

I know. I pointed that out in this thread a couple of days ago:
But in the example I gave, I don't think the same CTA that would bring a person to the page would be relevant or useful on the page. Giving the user what they're looking for, in this case, isn't a matter of them easily finding a particular snippet of text, but seeing the actual game or games they were searching for.

Trust me, you can get a call to action to appear in an appropriate SERP without embedding it in a meta description. I have done it. There are no exceptions to the rule, but it takes practice and you have to allow for the fact that a well-made page will attract traffic for more queries than you can possibly target.

You're being too mechanical. You want a free advertisement next to every listing in the SERP. That's just not natural; nor is it necessary. If the snippet is descriptive enough the potential player will understand they can play even if the snippet doesn't say "play this game NOW right HERE -- click through TODAY!" (figuratively speaking).

People who are looking for a certain kind of content mostly want reassurance from the SERP that they will find it when they click through. The meta description is a very poor tool for providing that kind of reassurance.

If you don't trust the page's content to reassure the visitor that they have found the right content, then your meta description isn't trustworthy. It's supposed to reflect what is already on the page, not substitute for what you don't want to put there.

#11 qwerty

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Posted 22 November 2013 - 10:48 AM

...you have to allow for the fact that a well-made page will attract traffic for more queries than you can possibly target.

We're in complete agreement on that. We've been working on a redesign for these particular pages that will allow for more content, both from us and user-generated, and I'm counting on those changes helping the pages get traffic from a wider variety of queries and making them stickier and shared more. And when we show up in the SERP for those many different queries, I will be perfectly happy to see relevant text from the page being used as the snippet, even if that text doesn't include anything I would call a call to action, although I think that in many cases it will.

 

But in the interest of stopping this discussion from becoming completely circular, I think I'm going to bow out and agree to disagree. In my opinion, for this one particular targeted query type, a snippet containing content from the page that includes the call to action related to the query would require me to put text on the page that I don't think ought to be there.



#12 Michael Martinez

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Posted 22 November 2013 - 07:03 PM

Consider this my agreement not to take the discussion into circular territory. :)

#13 Jill

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Posted 23 November 2013 - 09:57 AM

 

Trust me, you can get a call to action to appear in an appropriate SERP without embedding it in a meta description.

 

 

 

Of course you can, but why not just do it anyway?

 

Plus, meta descriptions are critical for content marketing and social media as that's what shows up as the description when you post on Facebook, G+ etc. Otherwise you get the first few sentences which are not always the best description for your article.



#14 qwerty

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Posted 23 November 2013 - 01:02 PM

We actually use separate tags for Facebook (og:description) and Twitter (twitter:description), and once we get schema code onto our pages, Google+ will use that. Until then, it grabs the OG data. So... more meta data :)



#15 Michael Martinez

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Posted 24 November 2013 - 10:22 AM

Plus, meta descriptions are critical for content marketing and social media as that's what shows up as the description when you post on Facebook, G+ etc. Otherwise you get the first few sentences which are not always the best description for your article.


Facebook search is powered by Bing, which like Google will grab what it thinks is the most relevant part of the page (although they try to match the query to the title tag as much as possible).

Social graph search is in its infant state anyway; it's not very good, judging by the horrible quality of Facebook and Google+ search. To be found in a social media query is mostly a matter of blind luck. The user has little control over the crap that is returned by these so-called search tools. So optimizing for them isn't a very appealing task in my book.

I find my sites get better social media response by ignoring the social media markup. Most of the traffic is coming from the sharing, which you cannot see because the services won't tell you where the shares come from.

There is really no measurable ROI from trying to goad the social media services into selecting the most appropriate text for your page. If someone shares your article then their friends and followers will either click on the link because of who shared it more than for whatever teaser information is provided.




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