SEO is a hot topic these days. How do you increase your Google page rank? How do you build a better site for readers and search engines? Go to your Google Webmaster’s Account and look for duplicate meta descriptions errors and duplicate title tags errors. Here’s how to correct some and prevent more errors.
Differentiate the descriptions for different pages. Identical or similar descriptions on every page of a site aren’t helpful when individual pages appear in the web results. In these cases we’re less likely to display the boilerplate text. Wherever possible, create descriptions that accurately describe the specific page. Use site-level descriptions on the main home page or other aggregation pages, and use page-level descriptions everywhere else. If you don’t have time to create a description for every single page, try to prioritize your content: At the very least, create a description for the critical URLs like your home page and popular pages.
We WordPress.com bloggers cannot access metadata files and set meta descriptions for our blogs. As we don’t have the access WordPress.org bloggers do we cannot place robots txt where they can to prevent duplication. At best we have workarounds to work with.
When there is no page specific description provided, the default is the site title and tagline which appear on very page. Wherever possible we want to address that because brief meta descriptions might be displayed in Google search results – if the description is concise and of high enough quality.
Why does Google care about meta descriptions?
We want snippets to accurately represent the web result. We frequently prefer to display meta descriptions of pages (when available) because it gives users a clear idea of the URL’s content. This directs them to good results faster and reduces the click-and-backtrack behavior that frustrates visitors and inflates web traffic metrics. Keep in mind that meta descriptions comprised of long strings of keywords don’t achieve this goal and are less likely to be displayed in place of a regular, non-meta description, snippet. And it’s worth noting that while accurate meta descriptions can improve clickthrough, they won’t affect your ranking within search results.
Category descriptions provide a brief introduction to each one of your category pages. Only some WordPress.com themes will display the category description when you view a category page. I’m using the Expound theme and it is designed to display categories descriptions. Here’s an example of the display of category description for the Better Blogging category.
Here’s a partial list themes will display the category description. If your theme doesn’t appear on the list and you haven’t developed category descriptions yet it’s easy enough to experiment.
Posts > Categories
To add a description to a post category, you go to Posts > Categories hover under the title of the category, click Edit, enter text in the “Description” field, click Update.
If you have not written Categories and Tags descriptions then when a dynamic Categories or Tags page displays the site’s tagline is being used, which creates a duplicate.
I have been quietly working behind the scenes to improve my blog’s searchability. I created unique static page descriptions for the top of my static pages like About, Commenting, Copyright, Photo Credits, Guest Posts, Translation, and All Posts pages first.
Then I did the same for my index pages like Basic Blogging, Popular Posts and my latest Featured Posts page. I’m not watching to see how much is displayed in the SERPs (search engine page results). As I do that I am paring them down and I’m eagerly awaiting Google and Bing to crawl my site again so I can see what’s displayed.
The content in your meta description categories and tags should be concise and valuable. So this past week when I wasn’t visibility blogging here and fixing broken links I made the time to create unique descriptions for each of my Categories. Doing that made me realize how many unnecessary Categories and Tags I have created. I have already reduced the duplicate meta description errors appearing in my Google Webmaster’s Account. Next I’ll be working on my Tags to reduce those duplicate meta descriptions errors and duplicate title tags errors I see in my Google Webmaster’s Account.
Note: I’m currently converting Tags to Categories, eliminating most, if not all, Tags and providing descriptions for the Categories and Tags I choose to retain. Please accept this apology, in advance, for any inconvenience you experience.
Bottom line: I’m aiming to fix everything that can be fixed on my WordPress.com blogs so I can provide a better experience for readers and for search engines. That fixing includes:
- links to pages that redirect to other pages and posts
- links to pages that have 404 errors
- unique title tag on every page of the site
- unique image alt tag attributes on every image
- unique meta description tag on every page of the site
Related posts found in this blog:
Top 5 Site Title Tag Tips
Avoid Special Character Use in Titles and Tags
WordPress.com: Heading Tags from h1 – h6
Get the Most Out of Image Search
Twelve Tips For Improving Your Search Queries Ranking Position
Avoid creating 404 pages
How to Maintain and Track Links