Avoid Duplicating Meta Descriptions

Often times, it is easiest to copy something that you have already made in the CMS, to use as a starting point. Am I right? This is particularly true with Generic Pages. You’ve already made this particularly awesome webpage and now you want to copy it. You duplicate the item in the CMS, update the content, publish, and you’re done with it. Easy! One issue that we are seeing more and more though, is duplicated meta descriptions. This is often because people don’t know what a meta description is or why it is important.

What is a Meta Description?

When looking at your content in the CMS, the meta description is the “Description” box towards the top of the Properties > Parameters screen for the page. Below the title field and right above the “keywords” field. The description provides Google and other search engines with a summary of your webpage. When someone searches on Google, they see a list of the top results. In the results, there is the title of the webpage, the URL, and the description. Having a good description will help the user decide if they want to click on YOUR page, versus the other options.

There is even more importance in a meta description than just informing the user. An issue arises when Google detects that two or more webpages have the same description. Which webpage is the real one? Which one is more important? Is the company trying to trick the user by having two pages with the same description?

The Bottom Line

It is OK to copy/paste content items in the CMS. It saves time. It is easy. Just make sure to update all the content fields of your new item. That includes the description field. This will help the user find your content when they need it. Google detected over 600 duplicated descriptions on Michigan Tech websites in September. We can do better than that. It starts with a little education.

Thank you for your help.

Joel Vertin
Digital Services Manager