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Optimizing one’s website to get found in a search is the foundation of SEO (search engine optimization). One of the three key meta-data components you should be concerned with is your meta description tag. Too often this is either overlooked or done poorly.

What is a meta description tag?

Text (usually in summary format) that is placed within the non-visible section of a website to describe to the search engines what the web page is about.

The html code appears as follows: <META NAME=”Description” CONTENT=”insert your informative description here”>.

Meta descriptions ideally should be added to all your web pages – especially your home page and other popular web pages. Important keywords and search terms should be crafted into your description.

Note: Google’s search engine indexing limit is no more than 155 characters (including spaces).

So… why is this important?

Search engines, such as Google, often use the meta description of a web page (when available) on the search engine results page (SERP). It appears as a short summary in a snippet shown below the title and above the URL.

Here is a simple example:

WebFuel’s site meta description is as follows:

WebFuel is a Canadian professional search engine optimization 2.0 and Internet marketing company that improves search engine visibility for your business.

Google search query result for “WebFuel”:

WebFuel Snippet

As you can see, the snippet summary for WebFuel was pulled directly from the site’s meta description.

It likely goes without saying… but appearing in a search result is only the first step. The quality of your snippet (meta description) will have a direct impact on whether or not a web searcher will click on your site’s listing.

Are your meta descriptions available for search engines?