Q and A: Will Multiple Description Tags affect my Rankings?

Question

Hi Kalena,

I just noticed that my company’s homepage has five meta description tags within the head tag. Will this have any negative ramifications? Thank you,

Heather

Hi Heather,

The Meta Description Tag in itself is not likely to have a significant effect on your rankings one way or another, but it is still important because more often than not, the snippet displayed in Google search results is taken from the description tag.

Using a description tag therefore gives you some control over the “message” you are providing to searchers about what your page is about.

Having multiple description tags on the same page, will not provide any SEO benefit – only the first one will be considered – the rest will probably be ignored. However, there is a chance that search engines could consider multiple tags as “spammy”.

There is NO good reason to have multiple description tags on your site – at best it is proof of lazy coding, which increases the size of you page and slows down page load times – at worst it could be considered spamming and may result in search penalties.
What about Keyword and Robots?

Using multiple Keyword and Robot Meta Tags are also probably not a good idea. Google will aggregate the content for multiple Robots tags (but don’t advise using more than one). It is not clear how multiple keyword tags are treated – but these days their use is mostly irrelevant anyway.
Duplicate Descriptions?

While we are talking about Description Tags… You should also try not to have “duplicate” description tags – i.e. multiple pages with the same description tag.

The fact that Google webmaster tools goes to the trouble to flag duplicate descriptions as a “warning”, should provide an indication that Google doesn’t think this is a good idea either. Description tags should be unique, and provide a succinct (and keyword rich) description of the content of the page.

Andy Henderson
Ireckon Web Marketing

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