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I just built and released a site for someone. He has an SEO firm working for him. They made a really big stink about the meta tags not being completely customizable on a page by page basis. Yes, the meta tags are tailored to each page, but the tags are built on existing database data. Here's how our meta tags are created:

Home page
Title = "Set in a single field in the db.";
Description = "Set in a single field in the db."
Keywords = "Set in a single field in the db.";

Brand page
Title = "Specific Brand" + "Home page title";
Description = "Specific Brand" + "Home page description"
Keywords = "Specific Brand" + "Home page keywords";

Model page
Title = "Specific Brand" + "Specific model" + "Home page title";
Description = "Specific Brand" + "Specific model" + "Home page description"
Keywords = "Specific Brand" + "Specific model" + "Home page keywords";

Each site is about a specific product type. Pages are broken down by brand and then model. So, each page page is exceedingly similar content, plus brand and model specifics.

Here are the working sites:

http://i-treadmillreviews.com/
http://i-ellipticalreviews.com/
http://i-exercisebikereviews.com/

My question is how much more or less value would a page have if it had more tailored meta tags for this specific set of sites?

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3 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted

What you've done is fine. Really all you need to do is the titles. The description is only useful if you don't have a lot of content on the page and the keywords and other meta info aren't used at all by any search engine of significance.

It ticks me off when self-proclaimed SEO experts go around sell this meta-tag snake oil to unsuspecting site owners.

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The more your meta information relates to the specific page it's on rather than just some rigid pattern(what you're doing), the better.

There's a lot of value in being able to customize the description meta information, because that's often used as the snippet text in search results. Your current setup basically just sticks a keyword(brand/model) in there, but it would probably be better for that to be an actual description or blurb of what's on that page.

The same largely applies to page titles.

Keywords are not terribly useful anymore, but if you concede to producing the code that allows for customizing the other two fields, it'll easily be reusable for this purpose and you'd save time by not having the argument.

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So, you are suggesting that the meta data has little value (are not terribly useful) but that I should code the site so that the site owner must spend many hours customizing them? If they don't have much benefit, why would I encourage someone to spend time and money working on them? –  Evik James Oct 4 '11 at 17:50
    
No, I said the exact opposite of that for most of my response. It's only meta keywords that are of relatively little value anymore. –  Su' Oct 4 '11 at 17:54
    
How about we just go to the actual evidence? Here is what i-treadmillreviews looks like in Google right now So much for your information being unique. –  Su' Oct 4 '11 at 18:04
    
You were correct about these being non-unique. This was before the change was made. You are making the argument that a "rigid pattern" is not as good as "meta that relates to the specific page". These two are completely unrelated. –  Evik James Oct 4 '11 at 18:18
    
Point taken on old information, though you said you'd just launched, not that this was a change after the fact. Beyond that, my answer above stands as is. You can do what you want with it. It's become clear your position was set coming in. –  Su' Oct 4 '11 at 18:35
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Meta tags have no effect on rankings so from that perspective it doesn't matter.

Since the meta description tag can be used as the snippet displayed in Google's search results, it should be unique and contain good copy that accurate describes the page and encourages click thrus. If the meta descriptions are duplicated it may cause Google to choose text from those pages rather then using the meta description tag's content.

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All meta data will be unique to each page. I made that clear, right? I suppose that you could tailor each tag to be more likely to be used by the search engines, but from what I understand, 90% of the time, they use whatever they want to use. It's seems of little value to spend much time writing for them when they will render what they want. –  Evik James Oct 4 '11 at 17:51
1  
Yes, that was clear. I was just giving a simplified explanation so it could be applied to all websites so if someone read this answer it would be easier to apply to their website. Actually, you have much more control over what Google shows in the search results. Definitely more then 10% of the time. –  John Conde Oct 4 '11 at 18:01
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@EvikJames You might want to reconsider that uniqueness comment. –  Su' Oct 4 '11 at 18:05
    
The example you provide with your "reconsider" link is before the unique meta tags were created, so this no longer applies. Thanks for looking that up though. You WERE correct! –  Evik James Oct 4 '11 at 18:14
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