Summarize the Page in the ‘Description’ Meta Tag

Summaries can be defined for each page

Screenshot of HTML code highlighting the description tag

HTML description tag

A page’s description meta tag gives Google and other search engines a summary of what the page is about. Whereas a page’s title may be a few words or a phrase, a page’s description meta tag might be a sentence or two or a short paragraph. Like the <title> tag, the description meta tag is placed within the <head> tag of your HTML document.

What are the merits of description meta tags?

Description meta tags are important because Google might use them as [tippy title=”snippets” reference=”” header=”on”]Text displayed beneath the title of a corresponding web page on the search results pages of a search engine. A web page summary and/or parts of the page that match the search keywords will be displayed.[/tippy] for your pages. Note that we say “might” because Google may choose to use a relevant section of your page’s visible text if it does a good job of matching up with a user’s query.

Alternatively, Google might use your site’s description in theĀ [tippy title=”Open Directory Project (ODP)” reference=”” header=”on”]The world’s largest volunteer-run web directory (a list of Internet links collected on a large scale and then organized by category).[/tippy]
if your site is listed there. Adding description meta tags to each of your pages is always a good practice in case Google cannot find a good selection of text to use in the snippet.

Screenshot showing a user query in the Google search box

Google search query for "baseball cards"

Words in the snippet are bold when they appear in the user’s query. This gives the user clues about whether the content on the page matches with what he or she is looking for.


Screenshot showing a Google query for rarest baseball cards

Google query for "rarest baseball cards"

Another example, this time showing a snippet from a description meta tag on a deeper page (which ideally has its own unique description meta tag) containing an article.


Best Practices

Accurately describe page content
Use unique descriptions for each page

Further Study

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