For SEO (Search Engine Optimization) purposes, it’s best that all elements of your web site are optimized. A lot of times, people focus on text content, forgetting that images can be optimized, also.
The title tag, known by some, a bit incorrect, as the title „meta” tag, is considered one of, if not the most, important on-page element.
The meta description meta tag is considered to be a tag useful to use on web sites, whether they are large or small. For a small web site (<50 pages), it’s entirely feasible to write the meta descriptions by hand. What happens, though, when we’re talking of a web site with hundreds or even thousands of pages (online stores, large publishing web sites)?
A first solution is to automatically take the first sentence in the description/text of the page. The problem with this approach is that the sentence an article starts with is likely to have much more or much less than the recommended size of 110/130 (minimum) to 155/165 (maximum) characters with symbols. In this case, my advice is to avoid using the meta description at all and just let Google determine itself what’s the best text to take from the page.
I want to present, in this article, a second solution for creating meta descriptions for large web sites.
Screaming Frog is a very useful tool with a bit of a strange name. It’s excellent for having an overall look at a web site for on-page SEO audits. It’s especially useful to find the right KPIs in your web site. The free version allows crawling of 500 internal + external URLs, while the premium version removes this limitation and adds options such as saving results, data exports, reports creation, sitemap creation and some more.
At times, I meet this scenario. I go to a client of mine, and I tell him that he/she does something wrong. He looks, surprised, back at me, and he/she tells me that within the company Google’s rules are strictly followed, and this is common practice – there’s nothing wrong with this practice. I go on to explain that Google changes, it’s not the same, as time passes. Unfortunately, if you go to Google.com to search for things, you get various articles, with various dates. And what was valid in 2008 is not valid in 2014. And what was valid in 2012 in Romania is not valid in 2014 in Romania. Even some of my own articles are so out-dated that, even though they have a warning right at the top, they might still lead people into potentially dangerous measures. “You are doing something which is wrong!” “No, it isn’t, I abide by Google’s best practices!” “Which version of Google are you referring to?”
I have seen other examples, in which people have tried doing “SEO” based on old practices. Yes, at various times it was OK to do keyword stuffing, have a network of other sites linking to you, get links from web directories, and so on. But these things don’t apply to today’s Google.