June 20, 2015

Put 'description' meta tag on your blog for better search visibility

In the last post, we discussed how to give blog posts a SEO-friendly URL while giving them an attractive title that visitors see. In the present article, we'd discuss how to easily put a description to the post so that it gets more search engine visibility and search relevance. 

You might have noticed that in search results, you get 'snippets' of what the post is about. That comes from 'description' of the post. The description thus helps search programmes as well as human searchers in finding relevance of particular post to search keywords.

A proper description not only helps the blog / post come high on search pages but also increases the chance of searchers clicking on the link.  

Adding Description to blog posts in Blogger

In Blogger, you have four ways to give a description to the post, and all with similar or different purposes.

1. Go to Settings. Under Basic, you'll find Description. If you click on Edit next to it, you get a text box where you can type a nice description of the blog. This comes just below the title and is visible to visitors. Look at the top of this very page that you are reading and you'll  find 'Blogging tips,...' written just below the title. Remember, this is description of the BLOG.

Point 2: adding meta description to blog
2. Go to Settings and then Search preferences. Under Meta Tags, you find Description. Next to it, you find 'enable search description' and then Edit. Click on it and you are offered a text box in which you can put another description of the blog. This description is not for your visitors but for search engines and those searching content on Google, Yahoo or some other search engine. Again, this description is for the BLOG.

Enabling this 'search description' does one more thing. It offers you the facility to give a search description for individual posts! Read point 3 below.

Point 3: adding search description to post
3. Go to the post editor (where you compose or edit posts). If you have enabled 'search description' as mentioned above, the right hand column will have a link Search Description. Click on it and give a decent description to the BLOG POST. This description is for visitors as well as search engines!

4. Go to Template and then Edit HTML. Put a meta tag 'Description' manually. But let us not play with it, especially when Blogger gives you a safe and easy way to put a description meta tag on the blog as well as posts.

'Description' in Wordpress blogs

1. Go to Site, then Settings and then General. It gives you the option to put a Tagline to the blog. The tagline comes under the title of the BLOG. 

Point 2: adding excerpts to a Wordpress post
2. Go to post editor, and look for Screen options on the right top of the window. Click on it and you get an Excerpt text box. Give a nice description to the post and that's it. Your post now has a description meta tag.

What do you lose if you don't put description(s) in the blog and its posts?

Almost nothing, except that you lose a golden chance of telling visitors, searchers and search engines what the blog and the post are about. If you don't put the meta tags (point 2 above), search engines use the first few words of the article. If these do not make much sense, search engines try to interpret the content of the post. In both these cases, what they see (and show as snippets after the search results) may not be the way you would like them to do.

It is known that Google doesn't use description meta tags for ranking blogs but there are other search engines too. They do not disclose their ranking / search algorithms. If we go by Google's statements and research done by SEO experts, Google also seems to give preference to it in search results, in some unstated way.

Previous post in this series: Catchy titles for visitors and search engines
Next in this series: What is the best 'search description'?