I-Search #124: Meta Description

                    SearchReturn Discussion List
             "Understanding Internet Search Technology"
Moderator:                                          Published by:
Detlef Johnson                                       SearchReturn
April 10, 2007                            SearchReturn Issue #124
Refer a friend:       http://www.searchreturn.com/subscribe.shtml

                   .....IN THIS DIGEST.....


                        ~ Michael Brandon


            "Meta Descriptions"
                        ~ Michael Brandon
                        ~ SearchReturn




==> WordPress, Meta Descriptions

From: Michael Brandon <>

I note with interest the recent email about wordpress SEO. 
I have written a post on my wordpress blog about Word Press SEO
http://www.coreseo.com/cat/wordpress-seo/ - now ranking top ten
for that phrase.

In it, I talk about changing orientation of the wordpress title,
meta descriptions, url's, introductory paragraphs, h1's,
redirecting index.php to root, ... and show off some of my
success stories with wordpress SEO.

It is certainly interesting that the out of the box wordpress
templates are not SEO friendly.

Page titles 

Your emails have had some great points about page titles.
Following your discussion, I have decided on a number of my
clients sites, to not include the sitename/branding in the 71
characters of the title.  It has allowed me to target another
phrase, and so get great additional traffic into home pages.

Branding is totally important, and that is why I have until now
advocated having the brandname as the last characters of the 71
in the title.  However, getting ranking [and] therefore traffic
is also rather important.  So I include the brandname in the meta
description, and its generally part of the domain name ;)

Kind Regards 


Michael Brandon 
Search Engine Mastery 
Getting you to the top of the Search Engines 

Moderator Comment:  The Meta Description is our follow up plan
for what to write for our set of tips.  So here it is.

The key with choosing words to write in the Meta Description is
to first look at the page content.  One temptation that you can
endulge is to write a more general Meta Description that is
deployed site wide, however the cost to this is a lack of
specifics in search results that would otherwise lead to more

If you can, it is recommended that you write unique Meta
Descriptions for each page.  Take the first sentences from the
page copy (where keywords make appearances), and try to craft
more concise language for Descriptions that may display to
search users.  If you don't find the text in the first sentences,
continue down the page until you do.

Choose two to three sentences for this purpose and trim out
needless wording.  Then fix it up so that it reads logically.
You want to retain any call-to-action (or benefits) and include
them if they aren't already there.  Finally, make sure to write
to keep the essence of what Meta Descriptions are for.  That is,
descriptions allow a more verbose descriptor for the page and
what users can expect to find if they click.  You get plenty of
space to do so (175 character or more).

Michael's experience about changing title branding by placing the
brand in the description is perfect.  Follow his example when it
makes sense.  The brand can be incredibly strong at the front of
a title, but if you plan not to include it there, be sure to
include it in the Meta Description.  He notes that you get
branding in the domain anyway, regardless whether the description
displays, but at least you can have it there without a negative
SEO affect.  Nice going MB.

In the case that you decide to include brand in the description
rather than the title, the same logic follows as with titles:
include the brand at the front.  This would provide you the
branding boost in search results that you want, even for small
brands where appearance in the title is not really warranted.
It is a similar mistake to put brand at the end of descriptions
as it is with titles.  We recommend always placing brand in
front of the description whenever it's not in the title, and
always leave it out of the description when it is in the title.

The search engines do not display the Meta Description every
time.  When they do, they don't always display it from the start.
But generally The Meta Description appears starting with text
from the front in most cases.  That way, your branding has more
chances to appear in the effective spot at the front of a listing
additional times when it's not in the title.  Place your brand in
the front of the Meta Description to get this effect.

On a last note, remember to use text that makes a good descriptor
for the page and lets search users know what to expect (and why
they should click).  There is no noticeable ranking benefit from
keywords in Meta Descriptions so you can write with abandon.
Remember though, search users look for keyword usage in listings,
so don't avoid keywords altogether just because you know you can.

Stay Tuned.

Got feedback?: http://www.searchreturn.com/feedback.shtml

Archives: http://www.searchreturn.com/digest-archive.shtml

Alternate formats:

Manage Subscriptions:

Problems unsubscribing? Contact the postmaster:

Information on how to sponsor this publication:

Published by SearchReturn

Website Membership:

The contents of the digest do not necessarily reflect the
opinions of SearchReturn or Detlef Johnson. SearchReturn and
Detlef Johnson make no warranties, either expressed or implied,
about the truth or accuracy of the contents of the SearchReturn

Copyright 2007 Detlef Johnson. All Rights Reserved.