Meta tag is the HTML tag added in the head section of the HTML code as seen in the screenshot below. The purpose of this tag is to inform the search engine about the web page and its contents. There are quite a few Meta tags that provide description, keywords and copyright information to search engines. In this article we are going to concentrate on Meta description tag and Meta keywords tag.
Meta tags are not visible on a web page and are solely to serve search engines except when search engines show Meta description in the description of the search listings as seen in the screenshot below:
Instances such as these make Meta description tag almost as important as title tags as discussed in the article "How to write Title tags". Also, Meta description tag can influence ranking in some search engines although the significance of Meta keywords tag is debatable.
Considering all this, here are some points to remember when writing a Meta description tag and Meta Keywords tag.
As I explained in the article "How to write Title tags" that title tag for each page on your website should be unique and relevant. The same rule applies to Meta tags. Make it unique and relevant to each page on your website.
As a rule, I try to keep Meta description tag less than 200 characters (including space) and try to list only around 30 relevant key phrases in Meta keywords tag. This is because when it gets too long then it tends to become irrelevant and diminishes the power of Meta tags.
Again, keyword analysis as explained in the article "How to write Title tags" does help to write an effective and powerful Meta description tag. However, do not forget that stuffing keywords is always a bad idea. Meta description tag just as title tag should be relevant and meaningful because this description can be your ad in the natural search section of the search engine. It can be the deciding factor for your potential client to click on your link or not.