Q and A: Should my meta description tags just duplicate my title tags?

QuestionHi Everyone

From early days learning SEO, I went ahead and did all my meta descriptions with a bit of blurb about the page but my *Guru* has told me this is incorrect and I should include only the title of the page in the meta description, eg “Antique Dining Chairs” whereas I had put in “Antique Dining Chairs – over 500 chairs on display at the Glebe Antique Centre. Dining chairs to match your table, occasional chairs for that special place in your home”.

Any thoughts before I go and change everything yet again?



Hi Christine

From where I’m sitting, your *guru* is wrong. Remember, your meta description tag is often used as the snippet on the search results pages to describe your site.

So apart from including keywords, it has to do the job of convincing people to click on it. A nonsensical list of keywords is not going to convince people to click so you have to balance it out with an appealing sentence, preferably including a call-to-action or reason to click.

Yes, it’s important to put your keywords at the start of the tag if you can, but you have up to 160 characters in that tag indexed by search engines, so you should use the space to your advantage. Having a short, unimaginative meta description or simply copying your title tag is not going to make any difference to your overall rankings and is more likely to turn your potential visitors off.

Google admitted that it no longer considers the meta description tag in their ranking algorithm anyway, so, other search engines aside, the main job of the tag in Google SERPs is to convince people to click on the link and visit your site.

Put it this way: if you were in the market for an antique chair and you saw the following two listings in Google, which one would you click on?

  • Site1.com – “Antique Dining Chairs.”
  • Site2.com – “Antique Dining Chairs – over 500 chairs on display at the Glebe Antique Centre. Dining chairs to match your table, occasional chairs for that special place in your home.

I’m thinking Site2.com – am I right? And – oh look! The longer tag managed to include *dining chairs* twice and a whole bunch of other keyword phrases as well: *dining chairs Glebe*, *chairs Glebe*, *occasional chairs*, *Antique(s) Glebe*.

Case closed.


Struggling to get better search rankings? Download our Free SEO Lesson. No catch!

Death of Steve Jobs Fails to Break Twitter Record

RIP Steve JobsWe all heard the sad news yesterday that Steve Jobs, founder and visionary at Apple, had died at the age of 56 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

I heard it from a client who lives one mile from Apple headquarters and was awoken by helicopters over his house at 4.30am. But most people heard about it via social media. Within seconds of an official statement released by Apple, the first tweets started to appear.

“#ThankYouSteve for the magic you brought to people’s lives.”

“iSad. RIP Steve Jobs for leaving your mark on technology.”

“My iPhone made all the difference during earthquakes on 4 Sept, 22 Feb & 13 June – it found my kids & reassured my family #eqnz #ThankYouSteve”

“Life is the only thing Bill Gates has beaten Steve Jobs at. #ThankYouSteve”

“Steve Jobs changed the world. We have lost a true pioneer and American visionary #iSad #ThankYouSteve”

Twitter users started spreading the news of Jobs’s death, adopting #SteveJobs #iSad and #ThankYouSteve hashtags attached to their tweets. For the first few hours, the rate of Twitter activity about Job’s death looked like it was going to break the tweet per second record of 8,868 tweets per second, set after U.S. R&B artist Beyoncé announced her pregnancy at the MTV Video Music Awards in August.

Australian social media monitoring firm SR7 estimated that Twitter activity hit 10,000 tweets per second following the announcement:

“We’re awaiting the official Twitter data to be released, however, from the numbers that we’ve been monitoring through the day since the announcement it’s certainly been trending to break that record,” Peter Fraser, co-founder of SR7, told the news agency Agence-France Presse.

TwitSprout went even futher, claiming tweet activity reached 42,000 per second at one point.

But it was Twitter who finally revealed the truth. In a statement given to Forbes last night, a spokeswoman from Twitter said that their internal data showed a rate of 6,049 tweets per second. That’s faster than tweets following the death of Osama bin Laden (a little over 5,000 TPS), but below the 8,868 tweets per second that followed Beyonce’s pregnancy announcement.

But even though the death of the technology icon failed to break the all-time tweet record, Steve Job’s death *did* break Twitter temporarily. The site fell over for around 2 minutes under the weight of the heavy initial tweet load.

Apart from anything else, it’s an interesting insight into the growth of Twitter. Consider this: following Michael Jackson’s death in 2009 there were just 493 tweets per second being sent, yet this was still enough to crash the service.

As a final tribute to Steve Jobs and the impact he had, Twitter staff put together a fascinating infographic portrait, consisting of a visualization of public #thankyousteve Tweets, sent over about 4.5 hours yesterday.

RIP Steve Jobs.

Article: Making Sense of Trademarks in AdWords

The issue of trademark usage in Google AdWords ad text and keyword bidding was raised on this blog recently thanks to a question submitted by Dom.

As I discovered when I resarched the topic for Dom, AdWords trademark usage rules are different for advertisers in different countries and they differ also based on the use of trademarks in ad text and bid keywords. The subject proved so complex that I decided to write an article about it in order to clarify the issue for confused advertisers.

Coincidently, a landmark case about this very issue was playing out here in Australia while I was writing the article and the Federal court made their decision just in time for me to add the outcome to the article.

The article is called Making Sense of Trademarks in AdWords and was published today by SiteProNews.

Search Industry Job of the Week – SEO Director

Search industry job of the weekJob Title: SEO Director
Job Reference #: Unknown
Position Type: full time
Name of employer: HomeAway Inc.
Location: Austin, Texas
Date Posted: October 2011
Position description:

HomeAway is seeking a Director with a successful track record of implementing SEO strategies with a goal of increasing traffic and revenue building. The position requires a minimum of 7-10 years direct working experience as a Search Engine Optimization professional performing at a high level for world class e-commerce sites. The ideal candidate will have a strong grasp for defining product strategy, possess excellent problem solving skills and will work closely with other business groups across function and location to implement SEO strategies.


  • Build and manage internal SEO team, identifying and executing new opportunities for improving high-quality organic search engine traffic
  • Ensure a careful balance of on/off page optimization including content generation and link building (internal/external).
  • Clearly understand search algorithms to properly leverage these components in the SEO strategy.
  • Measure and report on all organic traffic and sales across all properties and page types.
  • Work with Product managers to build SEO roadmap and properly execute against it.
  • Contribute to content and work with development teams.
  • Serve as a liaison with software engineers to create new tools and optimize data feeds.
  • Stay up to date with industry trends and inform other stake holders on required changes.
  • Must be a strong and credible leader with team development and training in background.

Required Skills:

  • BA/BS in Marketing with a strong understanding of technical SEO or BA/BS in Engineering or similar technical discipline.
  • Must have experience in driving product management and strategy, push for product changes and releases and be able to make site decision changes.
  • Will have experience working in a leadership capacity, interfacing with a global or remote international team.
  • Specific successes performing in e-commerce business.
  • Thorough understanding of datafeeds and means to effectively optimize them.
  • Understanding of basic HTML, CSS and code structure as it relates to SEO.
  • Experience with link building and proper usage while representing the brand in the best possible light.
  • Working knowledge of the latest web technologies, social tools and methods for effectively leveraging them to improve brand visibility.
  • Understanding of web development, design, search engine algorithms.
  • Strong analytical focus and site analytic tool experience.
  • Solid verbal and written communication skills.

Company Description:

HomeAway, Inc., based in Austin, Texas, is the world’s leading online marketplace of vacation rentals, with sites representing more than 625,000 paid vacation rental home listings throughout more than 145 countries. HomeAway® offers an extensive selection of vacation homes that provide travelers with memorable experiences and benefits, especially more room to relax, for less than the cost of traditional hotel accommodations. The company also makes it easy for vacation rental owners and property managers to advertise their properties and manage bookings online. The HomeAway portfolio of websites includes HomeAway.com, VRBO.com and VacationRentals.com in the United States; HomeAway.co.uk and OwnersDirect.co.uk in the United Kingdom; HomeAway.de in Germany; Abritel.fr and Homelidays.com in France; HomeAway.es in Spain; AlugueTemporada.com.br in Brazil; and HomeAway.com.au in Australia.

In addition, HomeAway operates BedandBreakfast.com, the most comprehensive global site for finding bed-and-breakfast properties, providing travelers with another source for unique lodging alternatives to chain hotels. For more information about HomeAway, please visit www.HomeAway.com.

Salary range: Unknown
Closing date: Unknown
More info from: HomeAway Inc.
Contact: Send resumes via online form: HomeAway Inc. Careers

For more search industry job vacancies, or to post a vacancy, visit Search Engine College Jobs Board.