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Meta description and content same, Best practice for low content page

2:35 pm on Aug 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

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For pages that don't have a lot of text, for example pages with flash games. Is it good seo practice to use the exact same text as a meta description and as content text?

This is the way my content management system is set up and I worry that it's not an ideal situation, especially when the text is a bit long and becomes, in fact, much more than a "description".
3:09 pm on Aug 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Don't know how much meta description affects SEO. But surely this isn't ideal situation.

Webmaster tools marks missing, but also too long meta description on my site. Also Google show only first 175 (I'm not sure with exact number) characters of your meta description in SERP.

I sometimes leave Google decide it's own meta description (by leaving meta description "tag" blank). But can't tell if this is good practice.

Some reading on this topic can be found on Google Support under "Site title and description" (not sure if I'm allowed to paste link here).
3:38 pm on Aug 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

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It's fine to link to Google Help Pages. You may be referring to this page, which I think is a pretty thorough introduction: One source of information is here: Site title and description [support.google.com]

One goal of a snippet (and title) is to get a good click through ratio when your URL does get an impression in the search results. One challenge is that a given URL sometimes appears for more than one query phrase, and this means one description may not work well as a snippet in each situation.

This is partly why Google reserves the right to create their own snippet for some search results, even when the site offers its own meta description.

And yet there are situations where generating any meta description at all may not be practical. This used to mean seeing a description snippet that read like a pasted-together ransom note. Today, it's not usually that bad and Google's automated description snippet can work out pretty well.

So I don't think there's any single answer for all low text content pages. If the number of pages is manageable, you can take your best guess and then see whether you get clicks when you rank. For large sites, it's usually not practical to review everything and duplicating page content may be the best you can do, especially if you need to automate the process. But even then, you can still cherry-pick the URLs that get the most search traffic and given them some one-on-one attention.
4:00 pm on Aug 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

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The bigger problem here is that, from experience on one particular site, it seems hard to rank text-less Flash and video content unless it has a voiceover. I know a lot of the time it's a pointless excercise for users but it seems to be essential for most search engines. Part of that I think is that with no text, you can't do relevant internal links.

Actually to qualify that, I got a reasonable ranking for the main site term but getting any longtail term to rank was a major problem. I haven't found the solution after 4 years of trying. Well, I did in the end - by adding meaningful but ultimately pointless text to each page. This is a scenario where - if your flash/video is engaging - you wish user metrics were more a factor.
4:50 pm on Aug 28, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Yeah, the editor seems to have added "best practice for low content page" to the post title, but really my only concern is if it's good SEO practice to use a (sometimes) lengthy content text for the meta description. I write texts that are about 400 characters long at the least, usually longer. The text is a review of the game. So not only is it not really a description but it's far over the 150-170 ideal character length for a good meta description.

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