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Jeremy Patterson

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Keywords in the Meta Description

The code of a website often contains fields in the head portion of its pages.  Visitors may not necessarily see them, but they are seen by search engines.  Many moons ago, experts and non-experts alike were stuffing as many relevant keywords as possible into one of these fields called "meta keywords" in attempts to boost SEO.  Now that this field is all but irrelevant, many developers wisely ignore meta keywords.  However, the "meta description" field is still important to SEO and to how your pages appear in search results.

Many developers now understand the science of focusing the various pages of a website around specific keywords.  Preferably, each page would have it's own keyword focus.  It is fairly well known at this point that the keyword should appear a few times naturally in the text and in the title tag.  One overlooked place that keywords can also appear is the "meta description" field.

When someone searches a keyword or phrase, it is bolded in the search engine results page wherever that exact keyword or phrase appears.  The title tag is what the search engine will use for the link to the page in results, while the meta description field is what it will use for the description, if available.  Thus, if the keyword is used in both the title tag and meta description, it will be bolded twice in search engine results, increasing the odds that it will be seen and clicked on.  Increased click-through typically results in increasingly better placement in search results.

Additionally, having the keyword in the meta description also adds a few minor points of SEO relevance to a page.  In these times, one can't afford not to use everything at their disposal to ensure that they will appear when relevant for a keyword.  Therefore, the meta description should nearly always include the focus keyword of the page.

While having keywords in the meta description will help aid SEO, it is not the only method useful for increasing presence.  What are some other ways you all utilize the header area of a website to boost SEO?

Carl Maeda
Since impressions, clicks and click through rate (CTR) on Google are available to view in Google Webmaster Tools, we use that information to match changes in CTR as we change the Title and Meta Description tags. If we see a negative impact in CTR, we'll revert back to the old description. If we see an increase in CTR, we'll keep the new tags.

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