One of the questions I get asked most frequently is, “should I use an automatic metatag generator?”.
Should we leave our metatags for machines to create?
My answer depends on your website…
Small sites: you should probably take the time to craft descriptions for each page. A well-written meta description is going to appear in the search engine results and may well increase the number of click throughs.
Medium and large sites: you should create metadata for your key pages such as your homepage, about us page and so on. You should also add metadata to particularly popular pages. If you write an interesting article that is likely to appear high in the search engines, take a little extra care to optimise that page.
For the remainder of your pages, especially if you have a lot of user submitted content, it is perfectly Ok to leave your metadata to an automatic generator. Its also OK to leave it empty. I say this for four reasons:
- Google can do it for you. Search engines will take the data that people are searching for and show it on the results page, so potentially an empty description can be more relevant than one you have written.
- Meta keywords aren’t important. The value of the keywords tag nowadays is almost zero so why not let a machine do it?
- Its annoying. Nothing is more off-putting to a user than needing to add metadata to an article they’re submitting.
- You have better things to do with your time. Instead of adding keywords, spend that time writing another article.
However – don’t forget to write your metatitles by hand if you possibly can. The metatitle is what appears at the top of your page in the browser bar and its perhaps the single most important SEO technique you can use to optimize your site.
So, whereas the page title for this blog post is: "Should I Bother to Write Joomla Metatags?", the metatitle is "Joomla Metatags – Joomla Automatic Metadata Generators". The keywords are to the front, but the title is still readable. A machine hasn’t been invented yet that can do that properly.