iNoobs: What are HTML Meta Description Tags?

Categories Articles, iNoobs

If you’re an experienced web designer/developer, it’s likely that you already know what HTML Meta Description Tags are. To help some of the newbies out there, I’ve put together a bit of a simple explanation and how-to for using HTML Meta Description Tags.

HTML Meta Description Tags are pretty important (although not required) – this information essentially “tells” Google (or your preferred search engine) what each page on your website is about. These description tags are HTML attributes that when searched, will display a bit of information about a specific page:

Meta Description Tag

This is what is displayed in the SERPs (search engine results pages) when user searches Google for InspiredM – it’s almost like a preview of what information can be found on a website. This text is a description of a particular page – I like to think of it as another form of an advertisement.

How to Write Meta Description Tags

When you are writing your Meta Description Tag, treat it like you’re writing an advertisement. This is what a user sees FIRST when they search for you in Google, so it’s VERY important to grab their attention. For example, if you’re selling Marvel comic books, you could say something like:

Welcome to Zach’s Marvel Marketplace! Browse our awesome variety of limited edition Marvel comic books. Free shipping on orders greater than $50!

You will want to keep this copy to 155 words or less since Google will cut off any characters after that limit has been reached. Now that you’ve got your awesome ad copy, here’s how you will plug in the HTML code:

<head><meta name =“description” content=”Welcome to Zach’s Marvel Marketplace! Browse our awesome variety of limited edition Marvel comic books. Free shipping on orders greater than $20!”></head>

A Meta Description Tag DON’T


The great thing about Meta Description Tags is the ability to give a preview of what your website is about, but make sure you customize this tag for each page. Let’s go back to our Zach’s Marvel Marketplace example. The first copy I wrote would deal with the homepage – an overview of the site in its entirety. I would want to write DIFFERENT Meta Description Tags for a different page of the site – let’s use a “Collector’s Edition” page as an example. Rather than using one generic description tag, I will change it to match that specific page of the site:

Are you looking for a limited edition Marvel comic book? Browse our great variety of collector’s comic books for every dedicated fan!

Be sure that your tags match each website page – writing these things shouldn’t take more than a couple minutes each. While it’s not a complete necessity, it will definitely help users identify who you are and can even serve as another advertisement for your site. Having some information displayed in that snippet is always better than none, right?

Have any other helpful Meta Description Tag suggestions? Leave your thoughts and comments below!

Zach Katkin - Entrepreneur, Web Developer, Designer and Writer - is the co-founder of Florida Web Design Company Atilus. In business for nearly a decade, Atilus has more than 600 clients worldwide.