My aim is "not at all".
1. the keyword metatag has not been a part of the Google algo for some time
2. the description metatag is used to compose snippets - but again, it's not apparently used for ranking purposes at present.
Because of this, I try to write a good description - one that "attracts the click" - on the first shot. I only change the description if something looks really wonky on a SERP. This can happen if a page starts to rank and drive traffic for a search that I didn't plan for. If that keyword or phrase isn't included in the meta description, then Google might assemble the snippet from other ingredients. In that case I may re-write the description to gain some control of how the result looks to the user.
If you're concern is improved ranking, frequent changes to meta tags are not the best place to spend your energies, IMO.
I agree with Tedster. If a page is ranking well and the keyword and description are relevant, why would you mess with it?
Ditto. Do it right the first time and move on.
I wonder -- and I'm speculating here -- if the search engines (especially Google) get suspicious of websites that change their descriptions and/or titles too often, thinking perhaps that it's an attempt to manipulate the algo.
Because of that thinking, I follow Tedster's advice as much as possible -- write one time and then leave well enough alone.
Title elements are another issue - the title is probably THE most important on-page factor in the algo. Frequent tweaking of the title can definitely cause ranking troubles. And contrary to common speech, the title element is NOT a metatag.
[edited by: tedster at 8:59 pm (utc) on Dec. 12, 2007]
Thanks for elaborating on that Tedster. The one thing I did recently is to shorten some of my titles, after I ran a few pages through a couple of those "how the search engines see your page" tools and got the message that a few of my titles were tooooooo long. Hope that will not cause trouble.
Just remember the old adage from carpentry - "measure twice, cut once". Frequent changes of title elements is not a good thing - one nice edit is no problem.
One time this is very important is where you are using a CMS, and the newest item is tagged as item 1.
Tomorrow it will be tagged as item 2 and the day after item 3. Item 1 will have a new title, description, and content.
That is a problem, but one that most CMS and forum designers have not yet woken up to.
Avoid changing, but do what's right. I've changed mine globally about three times but the last change was over two years ago.
I recently read a comment by MC which seemed to encourage changing descriptions to make them more "enticing" to the viewer, I'd sort of assume he wouldn't have mentioned it if there was a downside...
very interesting! Unfortunately I had to change the title for every page a few months ago.
I was told to remove my domain name off the title!
Keyword-keyword 2 ¦ Example.com
I don't know if having the domain name in the title is a bad thing for SERPs. I don't do it myself but Google, youtube, and many other sites do. I think it wastes space for keywords in the all-important title.
|I wonder -- and I'm speculating here -- if the search engines (especially Google) get suspicious of websites that change their descriptions and/or titles too often, thinking perhaps that it's an attempt to manipulate the algo. |
Google does collect your history and reviews it. If I were a search engine, what would I think?
Many changes of tags are uncommon, unnatural, and unjustified, especially without corresponding significant on-page content changes. Must be an evil optimizer fiddling. (Who else does that?)
Maybe a bit off of the originally stated topic, but still inline with a number of the replies, could someone comment:
If title tweaking is bad, what about 301 to a page with a new/different title?
On one of our e-commerce sites with about 2000 products, we're planning on implementing a more SEO friendly url and part of that process is to make a "better" title. Would it be better to get all the titles re-done at once, or gradually work them into the site? And, ideally, should the title be updated before the SEO friendly url is implemented, or at the same time, or after implementing SEO friendly urls?
I update my titles and descriptions if the content of the page changes. There's nothing more frustrating than clicking through to find the page content is not appropriate to the title/snippet.