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Basic SEO Snippets and Google Meta Tag Descriptions

Updated on July 3, 2016

This article talks about basic SEO, what it is and why it is useful. The next step is how to apply SEO to a website. Keywords and correct Meta tags are important, but so is the description and link that search users see when browsing search results; this is often known as the ‘snippet.’ Tailoring these snippets to the website they advertise will not only attract more customers and users but also create targeted links the pages that the site designer wants customers to land on.

Writing Good Snippets for Search Engines

When trying to write snippets the first step is to know what they are and what creates them. To see what a snippet will be for a certain page, users can look at the page source. Click 'view,' then 'page source' while on a site and the screen is filled with the HTML that the search engines see when looking at that page.

The snippet is created from specific parts of this HTML. Taking for example the search term ‘Computer’ when searching with Google, the user is presented with a list of page snippets, one of which is shown below:

Snippet Titles and Title Meta Tags

The top line ‘Computer - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia’ is known as the title Meta tag. Changing this will change the title of the snippet that is displayed to users. This means site designers can quickly make their websites eye catching and specific to users with effective title descriptions.

Snippets and Description Meta Tags

The second part ‘A computer is a programmable machine that receives input, stores and manipulates data//information, and provides output in a useful format. ...’ is known as the description Meta tag.

This page doesn’t have a specific description, and this can often be seen because of the ellipsis at the end of the description. If a search engine does not find a description tag, it will take the first few lines of the content text on a web page and display those instead.

This not only looks messy and unattractive to users, but can also be misleading. If, for example, a website sells computer parts but the first lines are about new computer sales and aftercare, users will only see these lines and think that the site is not about parts at all, hugely reducing the numbers of customers that will click on the site link.

Descriptions also allow for some keyword placement, and given that keywords and increased relevancy boost site rankings, this is a great place to include some well-chosen words or phrases.

Well written snippets are a great way of increasing click through rate and conversation rates .


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