One Stop Meta Tag Mania

Some say that meta tags have no influence on your ranking with the search engines. Well that is nearly true except for one ” the description meta tag. Almost all search engines (including Google) do not actually take it into account for ranking purposes ” yet ” many use it in their search results.

The content of the description tag is used more often than not by Google when it shows the results pages for a keyword. It uses only the first 156 characters though so make sure if you are using it to check the length of the text. If you do not check the length your text will be truncated and it will look funny.

Microsoft Word has a great tool that will allow you to check the text length very quickly. This tool is visible on the status bar at the bottom of the page. To use it choose the text you want to control the length and then double click on the word count statistics box.

The meta tags should appear in the head section of the page between the head tags.

Google is a little rascal when it comes to using or not using the meta description tag. When it does use it you can have full control of what is exposed to possible visitors but it will often change what it uses at will with sometimes it just plucking a piece of text from your webpage.

To make sure you have more control over what Google picks out as the text in the search results as well as setting the description tag carefully also make sure that the first 156 characters of text on your page says what you would like to appear in Google.

If you have a flash site or just use pictures with a little text, you have a problem! We have seen Google pick up the alt text from an image and exhibit this when it didn’t select to use our description tag. This will tell you to ALWAYS have some text on your page even if it is only 156 carefully chosen characters (including spaces).

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