Every person who works in the content management system goes through 3 hours of training split over two days before they get access. The training covers the basics of the CMS, best practices, alt tags, meta tags, as well as a bunch of other accessibility and SEO stuff.
On a recent inventory scan of our website, I found 2833 pages that were missing a description meta tag. That equates to roughly 43% of the pages on the site are missing a description!
I’d guess that the content authors are busy and are focused on the forward facing content and not thinking about search engines and promoting their content. As a result, the description meta tag gets forgotten.
When a user published out a file, they are prompted with options to check the page for spelling mistakes, broken URLs, and accessibility issues. Only the spelling check automatically run and usually comes back with false positives making it only somewhat useful.
What happens if the content author is prompted that the meta description is missing and gives them advice and links to solve the problem?
The message reads:
Quality Control Check: It looks like the Description field in the ‘Title and Metadata’ section is missing. This field is important to help search engines find and understand what pages are about. Adding a description not only helps this page but pages that are linked to and from it. Please add a short sentence that describes the page and its purpose.
It provides two links, the first to edit the parameters of the page (where the meta tag content can be modified) and a second for more information about Meta tags and why they are important.
Will this encourage users to add the missing content?
Last and final chart update: 11/13/2017
When I started, there were 6,633 pages in the CMS and 2,833 of them did not have meta tag descriptions. Three weeks later there were 6,817 pages in the CMS with 2792 of them missing meta tags. The increase in pages is because we are actively converting sites into the CMS right now.
The next step would be to inform the end user of other quality control improvements for the page. What would happen if the user was prompted with the number of broken links on the page automatically?