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This is only one man's opinion but interesting...

Search Engines and The Meta Description Tag
By Jill Whalen

The keywords and phrases you use in your Meta description tag don't affect your page's ranking in the search engines (for the most part), but this tag can still come in handy in your overall SEO campaigns.

What Is the Meta Description Tag?

The Meta description tag is a snippet of HTML code that belongs inside the <Head> </Head> section of a Web page. It usually is placed after the Title tag and before the Meta keywords tag, although the order is not important.

The proper syntax for this html tag is:

<meta name="Description" content="Your descriptive sentence or
two goes here."> 

I used to believe that the purpose of the Meta description tag was twofold: to help the page rank highly for the words that were contained within it, as well as to provide a nice description in the search engine results pages (SERPs). However, today it appears that, similar to the Meta keywords tag, the information you place in this tag is *not* given any weïght in the ranking algorithms of Google, and only a tiny amount of weïght in Yahoo's.

In other words, whether you use your important keyword phrases in your Meta description tag or not, it won't affect the position of your page in the SERPs for the words that are important to you. In fact, you could easily leave it out altogether. But should you?

Well, if you're already happy with the "snippets" of text that the search engines post from your page in any given search query, then there's no reason to have a Meta description tag on your pages. However, it's important to note that the snippet the engines use will vary, depending on what the searcher typed into the engine.

Let's take a step back and look at what the search engines show in the SERPs. It can get a little bit confusing, but if you try out your own searches in the various engines, you'll have a better idea of what I'm talking about. The search engines are constantly changing this sort of thing, plus they all behave in slightly different ways, as you'll see in my examples.

At Google, if you search for a site by URL like this: www.highrankings.com, the snippet you see is the first instance of text on the page. Interestingly enough, on my home page, an image alt attribute tag is the first instance of words "on the page," and that's what shows up as part of my "snippet" for this particular search. (The image is a clickable image, so this jibes with my other theory of Google indexing the words in the alt attributes of clickable images. See this forum thread from Dec. 2003.

For this type of search, Yahoo displays the Meta description info. It's important to note that generally the only people searching using URLs are site owners trying to see if their pages are indexed. Therefore, you shouldn't worry too much about what you see under those circumstances.

So let's try something that a real person might search for when looking for what I have to offer -- how about "SEO copy"?

In Google, my Nitty-gritty handbook page shows up second in the results with the following snippet:

"techniques: Search engine optimization (SEO) consultants who need to edit the existing copy of their clients' sites as a matter of course. ..."

Not the best of snippets, to say the least.

In this case, I don't have the phrase "SEO copy" in my Meta description tag, nor is it anywhere on the page as a complete phrase. Because of this, Google has simply found instances where the word SEO and the word copy were near each other, and used the surrounding text as the snippet.

So, if I felt that "SEO copy" was a viable keyword phrase that people might be searching on, I may want to adjust my page accordingly so that the phrase appeared in my Meta description tag as well as somewhere in the body text. Again, this is not because it would help it to rank highly, but because I would receive a more suitable description that was more in tune with what the searcher was looking for. One can surmise that they might be more inclined to clïck on my listing in that case.

Let's look at Yahoo for the same phrase. They've ranked the page at #3, and used the following snippet:

"Learn SEO copywriting with Jill Whalen's special report -- The Nitty-gritty of Writing for the Search Engines."

That's a good snippet! Well, guess what? That's my Meta description tag for that page. Even though the exact phrase wasn't in the tag, and neither was the word "copy," Yahoo still chose to display it for this search query. I'm guessing this is because that phrase is actually nowhere on the page, other than in the Title tag. So with Yahoo, having a decent Meta description tag was very worthwhile in this instance.

More Tests

I also recently discovered that when I tested a nonsense word in the Meta description tag of a page (with the word not appearing elsewhere on the page), Google did not find it. But when I added the word to the visible text copy on the page, Google would bring up the test page when the nonsense word was searched for. Not only that, but it displayed that part of the Meta description tag where the nonsense word appeared.

In Yahoo, my nonsense-word test page was found, even if the word appeared only in the Meta description tag and nowhere else on the page. Interestingly enough, however, Yahoo didn't display the part of the tag where the word was placed. They displayed only the beginning of the description, and cut it off after about 45 words. I purposely placed my nonsense word deep into my description tag to see if it would get picked up. In this case, the word appeared as the last of 138 words in the tag. I'll probably add even more words at some point to see if there's any cutoff point where Yahoo will stop indexing.

Other Engines

I also tested a few searches at Teoma and MSN. Each engine is slightly different in how they display the Meta description tag. Teoma seems to find the words in the tag, but doesn't necessarily display them. When I searched for a unique sampling of text from one of my tags, Teoma found the page, but chose to display the first sentence on the page instead. Not surprisingly, the current MSN search worked the same as Yahoo. However, MSN's search technology prevïew (which is the new engine they're working on) behaved similarly to Google on all tests regarding Meta descriptions.

My new recommendation for this tag is not to worry too much about it. If you have some great call-to-action statements utilizing your keyword phrases on your Web pages, they will probably show up in your snippets at the engines. But since it's easy enough to create a compelling sentence or 2 that incorporates your main keyword phrases, you might as well do this for your Meta descriptions.

Certainly, the more control you have over your listing in the SERPs, the more clickthroughs you should see. If your Meta description tags can help with that, then it's certainly worth the time to create compelling, keyword-rich ones.

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    The White House Made a List of All the Times Fauci ?Has Been Wrong? on the CoronavirusThe White House has undertaken behind-the-scenes efforts in recent months to undercut and sideline Dr. Anthony Fauci?even going so far as to compile a list of all the times he ?has been wrong on things,? according to The Washington Post. After canceling some of his planned TV appearances and keeping him away from the Oval Office, White House officials and President Trump have taken to publicly expressing a loss of confidence in the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and face of the administration's coronavirus task force. The apparent attempts to undermine Fauci come as he continues to counter the president's overly optimistic narrative on the state of the pandemic. Against this backdrop, an unnamed White House official told the Post: ?Several White House officials are concerned about the number of times Dr. Fauci has been wrong on things.? The official attached a list of incorrect predictions Fauci had made, including his doubts early on that asymptomatic spread would play a large role in transmission and a February assurance that Americans did not need to change their behavior. Like many other public health officials, Fauci said at first that masks were not necessary but recently recommended that they be mandated nationwide.?Dr. Fauci has a good bedside manner with the public but he has been wrong about everything I have ever interacted with him on,? Peter Navarro, the president?s trade adviser, told the Post in a separate statement.?Now Fauci is saying that a falling mortality rate doesn?t matter when it is the single most important statistic to help guide the pace of our economic reopening. So when you ask me if I listen to Dr. Fauci?s advice, my answer is only with caution.?In recent days, the 79-year-old doctor has offered unsparing assessments of the United States? current situation. In an interview with 538 published Thursday, he was perhaps at his most blunt: ?As a country, when you compare us to other countries, I don?t think you can say we?re doing great. I mean, we?re just not.? The same day, the commander-in-chief told Fox News host Sean Hannity in an interview that Fauci was ?a nice man, but he?s made a lot of mistakes.? The two haven?t spoken in months, but Fauci has reportedly not complained about that. David Barr, an AIDS activist who knows Fauci, told the Post the doctor has become exasperated that state and local officials aren?t listening to experts.?Our bigger issue with Fauci is stop critiquing the task force...and try to fix it,? another White House official told the Post. The official said Fauci?s high approval and trustworthiness ratings have upset the president as his own deteriorate.The White House has also reportedly sought to keep Fauci out of the the public eye. A CBS anchor said last week that the White House has ignored requests to interview Fauci on air since early April, though he has spoken to print and podcast outlets. The White House maintains the authority to approve or deny interview requests for high-profile public officials and granted requests from PBS, CNN, and NBC to speak with the doctor only to cancel them after Fauci disagreed with Trump in a conversation with Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL), according to the Post. The epidemiologist said that Trump?s contention of a lower death rate indicating success in tamping down the virus was ?a false narrative.? He warned against ?false complacency.? Fauci has also said he?d like to go on Rachel Maddow?s show, which routinely critiques the president, a request that was rejected.Trump himself has been wrong on the coronavirus in a laundry list of ways as he?s pushed to reopen the country, and going after Fauci is not the only time he has attempted to contravene public health guidelines. He famously told Dr. Deborah Birx, the chief medical adviser on the White House Coronavirus Task Force, to ?look into? the injection of bleach and the ingestion of sunlight as possible COVID-19 curatives. He?s also pressured the Food and Drug Administration to reinstate its emergency authorization for the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a treatment, as has his former personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who said doctors ?don?t know what they?re talking about.? Trump himself has said he took the drug despite FDA advisories warning it is unsafe to do so and unlikely to prevent or treat the coronavirus.The president donned a face mask for a Saturday visit to Walter Reed Hospital, one of the first and only times he has done so in public after repeatedly shrugging off their importance in recent weeks and even mocking Joe Biden for wearing one. In Dr. Fauci We TrustRead more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


  • United or Divided States of America? 6 ways to think about removing Confederate statues -

    United or Divided States of America? 6 ways to think about removing Confederate statuesThe more difficult work will be to dismantle the byproducts of slavery, such as mass incarceration and educational inequalities for children of color.


  • Chen Quanguo: Leader of Xinjiang crackdown under US scrutiny -

    Chen Quanguo: Leader of Xinjiang crackdown under US scrutinyThe Chinese Communist Party official hit with US sanctions over the mass detention of Muslims in the troubled western region of Xinjiang is a soldier-turned-politician known as a security enforcer. Rights groups and experts estimate that more than one million ethnic Uighurs and other Turkic-speaking minorities have been rounded up into a network of internment camps since Chen Quanguo was appointed party chief in Xinjiang in 2016. A year after his Xinjiang assignment, he was rewarded with a prestigious promotion to the top of the CCP pyramid: a seat on the 25-member Politburo.


  • Rep. Collins on accusations of 'pandering to the left', 2020 presidential election -

    Rep. Collins on accusations of 'pandering to the left', 2020 presidential electionGeorgia Senate candidate, Rep. Doug Collins, joins Jon Scott on 'Fox Report Weekend.'


  • Jared Kushner said the US would be 'really rocking again' by July. 7 states are shutting back down, and new COVID-19 cases have set records 6 times in July's first 10 days. -

    Jared Kushner said the US would be 'really rocking again' by July. 7 states are shutting back down, and new COVID-19 cases have set records 6 times in July's first 10 days.In Kushner's confident Fox & Friends appearance back in April, he also proclaimed the US was "on the other side of the medical aspect" of the virus.


  • Singapore ruling PAP party wins elections, but support falls -

    Singapore ruling PAP party wins elections, but support fallsStrict safety measures were put in place during the voting overshadowed by the coronavirus outbreak.


  • Reparations for Black people in this North Carolina city could be coming. Here?s how -

    Reparations for Black people in this North Carolina city could be coming. Here?s howThe city council will vote on a resolution supporting reparations for the Black community next week.


  • University professors fear returning to campus as coronavirus cases surge -

    University professors fear returning to campus as coronavirus cases surge"I am anticipating this semester with a good bit of dread," one professor said.


  • Mali opposition rejects president's concessions aimed at ending impasse -

    Mali opposition rejects president's concessions aimed at ending impasseMali's opposition on Sunday rejected concessions by President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita aimed at resolving an escalating political crisis that has sparked deadly protests, saying it would be satisfied only if he resigns. Keita announced in a speech late on Saturday he was dissolving the Constitutional Court and would move to implement recommendations made last month by regional bloc ECOWAS, which included re-running some of March's contested legislative elections. A spokesman for M5-RFP, a coalition of political, religious and civil society leaders that launched protests over a month ago calling for Keita to resign, rejected his proposal.


  • Trump's defiant help for Stone adds to tumult in Washington -

    Trump's defiant help for Stone adds to tumult in WashingtonPresident Donald Trump?s intervention into a criminal case connected to his own conduct drew fierce rebukes Saturday from Democrats and a few lonely Republicans, with calls for investigations and legislation. Shortly before heading out Saturday morning for his Virginia golf club, Trump made unfounded accusations against his political foes while taking another swipe at special counsel Robert Mueller?s investigation, which led to convictions for six Trump aides or advisers, including Stone, a larger-than-life political character who embraced his reputation as a dirty trickster. ?Roger Stone was targeted by an illegal Witch Hunt that never should have taken place,? Trump tweeted.


  • 'This is not the summer for a spontaneous road trip': The case for canceling your vacation -

    'This is not the summer for a spontaneous road trip': The case for canceling your vacationVacationing during a pandemic is an act of pure selfishness. It doesn't just endanger your life. It could spread COVID-19 and prolong the situation.


  • Egypt grounds kites for 'safety', 'national security' -

    Egypt grounds kites for 'safety', 'national security'Egyptian police have seized kites from people flying them after a ban by a northern governorate for "safety" reasons and a lawmaker's warning they posed a "national security threat". Police seized 369 kites in Cairo on Friday, Al-Ahram reported, while Akhbar Al-Youm, another state newspaper, said police confiscated 99 kites and fined five people in the northern region of Alexandria. Fines imposed for kite-flying in the Mediterranean city can reach up to 1,000 pounds (about $60).


  • Letters to the Editor: What white people are finally starting to understand about antiracism -

    Letters to the Editor: What white people are finally starting to understand about antiracismMany people of privilege are beginning to see the cause of justice for Black people as a way to create a fairer society for everyone.


  • Six professional 'Fortnite' streamers on YouTube gave a tour of the multimillion dollar mansion they bought together ? see inside -

    Six professional 'Fortnite' streamers on YouTube gave a tour of the multimillion dollar mansion they bought together ? see insideThey posted a tour on YouTube, showing off bedrooms, gaming setups, and the pool.


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