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TERMINALFOUR (T4) Tip 9: Using The Meta Section

Last Updated – 3/23/2019

Intended Audience:

TERMINALFOUR WEB MAINTAINERS, END-USER MODERATORS, PRIMARY WEB COORDINATORS, and CONTRIBUTORS

TIP: Supply a website description to the Meta section of your T4 site channel. If Meta descriptions are present, Google is more likely to use the description when your site shows up in search results.

Explanation:

In TERMINALFOUR (T4), you can add Meta-information for your entire website or individual pages. Meta descriptions provide explanations of the contents of web pages. Meta descriptions are commonly used on search engine result pages (SERPs) and display as preview snippets for a given page. Meta description tags, do not improve search engine rankings, but they are essential for gaining user click-throughs from SERPs. SERP descriptions should show content searchers exactly what the website or web page contains. (Reference: Moz.com Blog)

Choose Your Route:

 

FOR CONTRIBUTORS:

Follow these steps to modify the T4 META section for your entire website.

  1. Login to TERMINALFOUR and find the section called “site configuration”. If you are using an older template look for the section called “META”.
  2. Click the Actions arrow next to the section you located in #1.
  3. Select “Edit Content” and look for the content piece called “Meta Information”. In an older template, you can change the information in your META section.

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To modify the Meta for a specific page/section on your site:

  1. Select a Section
  2. Click the Actions arrow next to the section you located in #1.
  3. Select “Modify Section” and navigate to the Metadata tab to add information specific to an individual page.


*You can go here to understand why website Metadata and webpage Metadata are different.

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——————CONTRIBUTORS CAN STOP READING HERE!———————————-

FOR WEB MAINTAINERS AND MODERATORS:

Three important points regarding Meta information or data and search rankings:

  1. If you don’t provide a clear and concise description that communicates the purpose of your website, Google will create a description for you. However, Google often reads and then scrapes content from the web page to supply the search result description. This is problematic because the text Google scrapes and then uses as the description for your website, may or may not be relevant to your audience or what you desire to communicate with them.Example of a supplied Meta description taken from code on the UF/IFAS main website. The Meta description was added to the Meta section in T4. I searched “UF/IFAS” and the following appears on the SERP page:Meta3Example of a Google supplied/scraped SERP description about the UF/IFAS main website. I searched “IFAS”. Note that this time, the scraped description provided in the search results is randomly taken from the description that describes “Research” NOT the supplied Metadata:Meta4
  2. As a best practice, your description should be between 155- 160 characters with spaces… maybe. The character count is a source of industry controversy. Controversy exists because sometimes Google adheres to this rule and sometimes they do not. That is, after 155-160 the description text is usually cut-off in the search results- indicated by an ellipsis (…). You can read more here. Also, since 155-160 characters is the current standard, use your words wisely when writing your descriptions.Meta5
  3. Another caveat is that Google gives Wikipedia descriptions special appearance on SERPs, so be sure that whatever is listed for your website on Wikipedia is accurate and desirable.Meta6

Always remember that after you supply a Meta description, you can always go back and refine the text for SERP display.

Finally, adding a Meta description makes your website more compliant with UF/IFAS web policy. See the  UF/IFAS web policy section entitled “coding and identity”.

Additional reading, resources, and sources here: