I create Search Engine Optimized WordPress Themes and include both the keywords meta tag and description meta tag in the WordPress themes mostly because customers expect them.

As an experienced SEO consultant I know meta tags today (2014) have little search engine value beyond blocking search engines from indexing pages, caching them etc…, the keywords meta tag for example is ignored by major search engines, Google in particular ignores the keywords meta tag completely.

If I developed the Stallion Responsive SEO Package only for my own use, it would not include the keywords meta tag feature (complete waste of time).

Meta Description Tag

That being said the description meta tag has some value because Google might use it as the description for a webpages SERPs and though it won’t increase a pages rankings (your webpage won’t move up in the SERPs because of a meta tag description) it might increase the number of clicks (the click thru rate: CTR) from a Google search IF the description tag is written well (like an ad).

HTML Meta Tags

Meta Tag Description HTML

First off, when you view source of a web page the top of the HTML code will look something like this (will probably be more lines, especially if you run a blog with RSS feeds, but below is the basics):

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN” “http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/loose.dtd”>
<HTML><HEAD>
<title>Title of the Page</title>
<meta name="description" content="You really want to view this site because it's blinking awesome, click me, CLICK ME!!!">
<meta name="keywords" content="bunch, of, keywords, that, major, search, engines, like, Google, IGNORE">
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=ISO-8859-1">
<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="../stylesheet.css" media="all">
</HEAD>
<body>

Of the above the only code that really matters to Google is the Title element (some SEO’s call this the title tag, but it’s not a meta tag it’s an element), the title element matters a LOT, and the description meta tag matters a little, since it doesn’t increase rankings (it won’t increase how high in a search result a page will be shown), but it might increase the click through rate from a Google search IF you write awesome ad like descriptions that result in Google searchers having to click your link because the world will end otherwise :-)

Description Meta Tags Value for Google SEO

When you do a Google search each of the results have a title (copy of the title tag from the page in question) and a description of the page that can be automatically generated by Google from a snippet of text from the page (usually it will include all or some of the keywords searched for), from the pages DMOZ listing description (which can be an awful description) or from the pages meta description tag.

If the page in question isn’t listed in DMOZ or the website owner has blocked Google from using a DMOZ listing by using the DMOZ robots meta tag that blocks Google from using the DMOZ description:

<meta name="ROBOTS" content="NOODP">

The page description will either be the automated snippet of text generated by Google or the contents of the description meta tag.

Note: even when you create a custom description meta tag Google won’t always use it, you might still see the automated, almost random description. If a webpage targets a very important search and you think have a specific description will increase CTR include the search phrase in the description, Google is more likely to use the description tag if the the search phrase is in the description

Beyond the meta description tag no other meta tags have any SEO ranking value and since even the description meta tag doesn’t have any search engine rankings value NO meta tags result in better search engine results.

What this means is if you don’t write custom meta description tags (I don’t) you can add no meta tags to a page that you want indexing by search engines and don’t want to use any of the meta tags that block caching or block spidering by specific search engines etc…

David Law

David Law > AKA SEO Dave
*
: Experienced WordPress SEO Expert, Internet Marketer, Developer of the Best SEO Package Stallion Responsive WP SEO Theme (tested to WordPress 4.8 June 2017) and Nice Guy :-)

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