Meta description for Drupal.org

catch's picture

The slogan proposal wiki and no follow discussions got me thinking about more seo stuff related to Drupal.org

One big thing that's missing is a meta description tag. This doesn't affect ranking so much any more, but it's often used in results listings and sometimes relevancy. It's also a good place to put all the buzzwords we might not want to stuff into a slogan.

Here's a first run:

The open source content management framework for building everything from personal blogs to complex web applications. Much more than a CMS.

That runs to 160 characters. Needs to be between 150-250 - hard to fit CMS into the first sentence.

Comments

Global Redirect?

Bence's picture

And wouldn't it be useful to install the Global redirect module?

There's not that many path

catch's picture

There's not that many path aliases on Drupal.org. A few handbook pages, a few front page posts, so I'm not sure it'd be worth the overhead.

But contents are accessible

Bence's picture

But contents are accessible two ways, for example:
http://drupal.org/upgrade
http://drupal.org/upgrade/

And these are different pages in a search engines view, aren't they?

That's true, I'm pretty sure

catch's picture

That's true, I'm pretty sure you can do that particular job with rewrite rules though, although I haven't that one yet.

Search engines don't distinguish those but...

jbrauer's picture

Search engines won't tell the difference between those two generally. And it could be done through rewrites in Apache if it's a major concern.

For other areas if since there are relatively few duplicated paths it might be better to use robots.txt to exclude indexing of content the search engines might see as duplicated.


Blog: Adding Understanding | Drupal Developer Search

@catch, I believe with yahoo

elvis2's picture

@catch,

I believe with yahoo it does effect ranking. Google no, MSN don't think so, yahoo yes.

===
Elvis McNeely
Blogging about Drupal and web development: http://www.elvisblogs.org/drupal
Offering Drupal, eCommerce and Web services: http://www.lafayetteweb.com

Can affect traffic if brief and persuasive

controltheweb's picture

First off, the page title affects position and click-through (traffic), while the Meta Description only affects click through. The page title needs to be improved: "drupal.org | Community plumbing" is poor.

Click-through and SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) position affect traffic. Meta Descriptions affect click-through in Google when Google shows the description in the SERPs listing. It is the "sales pitch" portion of the listing. Only the first few words have much effect and so "pitch" words and relevant keywords need to be early on, and overall tone must strike a balance between relevance and selling the reader on clicking the link (focus on their needs with action words). Hence an edit might be (250 characters, including spaces):

"Drupal, the foremost CMS open source framework for creating Blogs, Forums, Web Apps, Portals, Community Websites and more. Gain control, traffic and possibilities for your site. Powerful, elegant content management beyond what you'd expect from a CMS."

META description sometimes will only show if a search query term is in the META description. So including keywords that users coming to Drupal are using in their queries is essential. For some more generic queries, where a logical snippet matching the search query isn't found in the text, the meta description is used by Google. Yahoo used to also default to the Meta description info; however, they tended to take just the first part of the Meta description and then add a snippet of text from the visible page copy that happens to have the searched-upon keywords within it. Don't think this is their default anymore.

acquiel's picture

Whoever says Google and others ignore the meta descriptions is absolutely incorrect, and I'm tired of seeing this response wherever I've looked for technical code examples that would help me to implement needed meta tags in Drupal. But instead of help, I'm seeing these "google doesn't use meta description tags anymore" comments all over the place. That is false. Drupal should provide native support and control for ANY user-specified meta tags (which help with everything from SERP rankings to accessibility). Period.

That having been said: I'm looking for a way to use a variation of "php print $content" to at least temporarily fill in my meta description tag, which I'm adding to "page.tpl.php" - ala:

<meta name="description" content="<?php print $content?>">

The problems are this: (1.) ANY special characters or quotes in my content will break this tag. (2.) I only want to use the first x-number of characters from the content, and not all of it - because that, again, would break the tag or cause it to be ignored by the search engines.

Can anyone give a dumb PHP wanna-be-coder some help in using print $content, where special characters and HTML are removed, and where I can specify the first x-number of characters?

Thanks in advance,
Tk

taggartj's picture

ok have a look at this code :

<?php
$mystring
= $content;
// strip and trim
$trimedstring = strip_tags(trim($mystring));
// limit to 150 in car..
$thedec = trim(substr($trimedstring,0,150));
?>

then
<meta name="description" content="<?php echo $thedec;?>">

worked for me on http://dynamicadwords.com

hope this helps some one
http://evansheadweb.com

Added canonical tag

ressa's picture

Thanks taggartj! I think the Nodewords module is a bit overkill, if all you want is description on your pages...
I also wanted the canonical tag on my pages of the node type 'question', so I added this to the code above:

<?php if ( ($node->type == "question") && (arg(2) != "edit") && (arg(2) != "delete") ) {
// strip and trim
$trimmedstring = strip_tags(trim($node->content['body']['#value']));
// limit to 160 in chars..
$thedesc = trim(substr($trimmedstring,0,160));?>

<meta name="description" content="<?php print $thedesc ;?>" />
<link rel="canonical" href="http://<?php print $_SERVER['HTTP_HOST']; ?>/<?php print $node->path; ?>" />
<?php } ?>

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