Daniel Burstein

What is the Easiest Tactic to Improve SEO?

July 20th, 2012

To help you improve your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts, here’s a quick tidbit for your Friday from the MarketingSherpa blog …



SEO is usually seen as some complex, magical, always evolving formula you need to master. And, while the constant changes to Google’s algorithm (so there’s this Panda all hopped up on Caffeine …) is enough to make your head spin, Optimization Summit 2012 attendee Matt Brutsché of Austin Search Marketing advises marketers to start by focusing on the basics – meta tags.


Meta description tags

According to MarketingSherpa’s 2012 Search Marketing Benchmark Report – SEO Edition (free excerpt at that link), meta tags are HTML components that can include page titles, descriptions and keywords. These components are visible to search engine spiders but do not affect the appearance of the webpage.

The report found that marketers consider meta description tags to be among the easiest SEO tactics, while being about mid-range in effectiveness, suggesting a pretty good bank for the buck.


Click to enlarge


“More than 80% of organizations do not find it difficult to add meta description and title tags. As such, these two tactics are also the second- and third-most widely used,” said Kaci Bower, Senior Research Analyst, MECLABS, and lead author of the report.

Here are a few agency insights from the report that correlate with Matt’s experience …

  • We have gotten the best results from revising the meta description tag, which is part of an overall effort to produce a compelling blurb in SERPs.
  • [Most effective tactics for improving rankings are] new and fresh content along with effective meta tags.
  • [Most effective tactics for improving results from SEO efforts are] keywords analysis for title tags and meta description.
  • [Most effective tactics for improving rankings are] properly formatted meta tags and keyword placement.


Meta World Peace

While meta tags might not bring world peace, perhaps they’ll bring you a little personal peace when it comes to SEO, a constant source of agita for many marketers.

What is your experience with meta tags? What have you found to be the easiest way to improve SEO?



Austin Search Marketing

MarketingSherpa 2012 Search Marketing Benchmark Report – SEO Edition (free excerpt at this link)


Related Resources:

Personal Branding: 3 tips for personal SEO

Local SEO: How geotargeting keywords brought 333% more revenue

Content Marketing and SEO: The world doesn’t need another blog post

[Most effective tactics for improving results from SEO efforts are] keywords analysis for title tags and meta description.

Daniel Burstein

About Daniel Burstein

Daniel Burstein, Senior Director of Editorial Content, MECLABS. Daniel oversees all content and marketing coming from the MarketingExperiments and MarketingSherpa brands while helping to shape the editorial direction for MECLABS – digging for actionable information while serving as an advocate for the audience. Daniel is also a speaker and moderator at live events and on webinars. Previously, he was the main writer powering MarketingExperiments publishing engine – from Web clinics to Research Journals to the blog. Prior to joining the team, Daniel was Vice President of MindPulse Communications – a boutique communications consultancy specializing in IT clients such as IBM, VMware, and BEA Systems. Daniel has 18 years of experience in copywriting, editing, internal communications, sales enablement and field marketing communications.

Categories: Marketing Tags: , , , ,

  1. July 20th, 2012 at 09:54 | #1

    There is no evidence that the meta-description affects the ranking of web pages.

    However, if the meta-description includes search query terms, the engines are more likely to use all or a portion of the meta-description as the search snippet, and thus increase the perceived relevance of the page to the searcher and therefore increasing the likelihood of a click and higher CTR%.

    While your first bullet point addresses the fact that relevant content can make the description more compelling and increase the likelihood of a click, the third bullet point seems to imply that the meta-description plays a role in ranking webpages, which is not the case.

  2. July 20th, 2012 at 15:48 | #2

    Excellent point. I was a little too cavalier in using the term “improving rankings,” it’s really more about improving the results of your overall SEO efforts, so I’ll revise that bullet point to reflect that.


  3. July 21st, 2012 at 12:22 | #3


    I strongly disagree that meta-descriptions don’t affect the ranking of webpages. I recently revised the meta-descriptions for a half a dozen pages belonging to a client and –without making any other changes– I saw small but definite ranking increases in all but one of those pages. Granted, the improvements were all less than five spots but simply by making that the meta-tag includes the selected keyword has to help some, even if only a miniscule amount.

  4. July 23rd, 2012 at 11:07 | #4

    Links, by an ENORMOUS margin, are by far the most important thing you can do to improve your rankings… It’s so old, it’s almost tired and worn out, but the Google bomb is still alive and well today. We have pages that are totally off topic, don’t have ANYTHING to do with what they are ranked for with keywords with competition in the 13 million range (granted – not competitive, but not 100,000 gimme keywords either), that have ranked in under a month with under 200 links from PR0, PR0, and N/A pages….. Multiples, so it wasn’t a fluke…. Can’t do that with meta tags… However, if you have a compelling call to action in your meta tag, and depending on your niche, perhaps your phone number, then you can get conversions straight out of the serps, without a click thru…..ultimately, in most cases, conversions or actions are the goal of webpages, not rankings, so if you can convert from the SERPS without a click thru, you win… Especially for desperate buyer niches – 24 hour emergency plumber/ac/locksmith, etc…

  5. July 25th, 2012 at 16:24 | #5

    I think meta descriptions are a very key ingredient, but much more needs to be done to rank very high. SEO is very complex, when you have over 60 ranking factors tied into the largest algorithm in the world it takes a science to really figure it out.

  6. August 6th, 2012 at 21:57 | #6

    Definitely right Daniel. Using meta description, meta tags on all your content is surely be an effective tactics for your b2b website has proper SEO.

  7. December 4th, 2012 at 17:07 | #7

    The comment section has become an interesting debate on the effectiveness of meta title tags and information. 9 of the top 10 sites ranking for the term “SEO Company” all have that word in the meta title.. so either SEO Companies themselves are just superstitious or it still has a great impact on rankings. Although Mike is correct.. linking is still the highest factor in rankings.

  8. December 17th, 2012 at 21:25 | #8

    It’s interesting that more than 80% of organizations do not find it difficult to add meta description and title tags – but I wonder if they are effectively researching keywords and creating unique titles and descriptions for each page on their site. I have worked with organizations that understand that meta tags are of value, but not know how to implement tags effectively.

  9. Mwalmark
    February 14th, 2013 at 05:45 | #9

    I think that measurement of seo activities is very important things – it shows you the proper way. There are some tools for it, like ColibriTool, Google Analytics and many more.

  10. July 29th, 2013 at 13:36 | #10

    Google analytics is really the big player! @Richard – the title tags are one of the single most important parts of your SEO. It is the relationship and relevancy between title tags, content, headers, and your backlinks which determines your rank in the search engines.

We no longer accept comments on the MarketingSherpa blog, but we'd love to hear what you've learned about customer-first marketing. Send us a Letter to the Editor to share your story.