In the early days of SEO, (like, back when Infoseek was the big thing) what you did with your meta tags had a huge impact on the success of your site. Relevancy was determined by your meta tag, and stuffing it with keywords was how the game was played.
Now however, as search engines have shifted their attention to other avenues and methods of proving relevance, the meta tag is widely ignored.
This is a mistake; meta tags still can have a great value to your site if utilized properly. They might not be the catapult to the SERPs they once were, but once you finally get there meta tags can be an incredibly useful tool.
Some major search engines will be displaying the meta tag descriptions of the search results, which is why it is still so important to pay attention the wording of your meta tag. This doesn’t mean stuffing it with keywords; this looks like spam and doesn’t encourage consumers to click on your result.
Nor will simply repeating your title tag do you any good. Your title tag is automatically displayed as a hypertext link, so why waste your chances to attract attention on boring repetition?
Try providing a secondary keyword phrase that might define your site a little better to the searcher. This could be a localized piece of info, an intuitive guess at what searchers are really looking for, or even just a ’Best’ or ’How To’ hook.
You can also use the meta tag top include your call to action, but the important thing is to compose a sentence which is short enough to not cut off mid word and which delivers a valid reason why the searcher should click on your site.
Various search engines have slightly different methods of awarding relevance and ranking your site, but the same thread holds true no matter where the search for your product originates. Search engines want people to be able to find what they are looking for quickly and easily.
If you set up your site, your SEO and your tags to provide the most accurate description of your company as possible, you will be hitting the most important goal. That is not to say that your site will simply sell itself, but if you have a great site that just needs some interest then pointing people in the correct direction should be enough.
Meta tags can hurt you or help you. Your job is to make sure they improve your chances of getting the consumer’s attention, not the search engine’s. Once you have made it up the SERPs, it is a battle among the top spots as to who can present the more convincing argument for a click through, and hopefully a sale.
Utilize your meta tags for the correct purpose – for consumer information, not useless courting of the search engines – and you may be surprised at the sharp increase in traffic you can receive!