[whatwg] <summary> tag to help avoid redundancy of meta description tag!?
rescator at emsai.net
Wed Mar 17 19:37:33 PDT 2010
I searched the list, and looked at the HTML5 briefly and found nothing,
nor can I ever recall such.
So this is both a question and a proposal.
On my own site currently I mostly replicate the first paragraph of an
article in my journal as the meta description,
and write one up for other pages, usually replicating some of the content.
I'm both looking for and want a solution to avoid such redundancy.
The perfect solution would be a <summary> tag, if you look at the
journal articles on my site you can imagine the first paragraph being
done like this:
<p><summary>This is just an example, it's a replacement for the old meta
description, and is a brief summary (description) of the page
This way the first paragraph in a page would remain unchanged from how
it is done today, and a search engine like Google or screen readers etc.
would use the summary tag instead
of the meta description (which is no longer needed at all in cases like
this), if more than one summary tag the first is considered the page
summary one, while the others are ignored (but still shown as content
If a new tag is overkill for this, maybe doing it this way instead
(using one of the new HTML5 tags):
<p><header summary>This is just an example, it's a replacement for the
old meta description, and is a brief summary (description) of the page
I really do not care how this is implemented/speced just as long as it's
possible to do.
I began thinking of this recently when it annoyed me that I basically
had to enter the same content twice, after looking at my site links in
and thought to myself...Why do I have to use a meta description to tell
Google to show the content in the first paragraph as the default summary
of the page link?
Why can't I simply specify that the first paragraph "is" the page's meta
description? Why am I forced to bloat the page unnecessarily like this?
Thee is no reason why the meta description can not be the actual content
as in most cases I've seen the meta description is supposed to be fully
unlike the meta keywords which no search engines bothers with at all any
So if the meta description is supposed to be humanly readable and
displayable as the page summary to humans in search results,
why can't it also actually "be" in the page content?
I can see at least two ways this will be used. The more elegant way I
showed, where the first paragraph is a summary/the lead in of the page
(and also happens to be the "teaser" content in my RSS feed as well),
or at the bottom of a page with possibly linked category tags or similar
within it, again allowing dual purpose and reduced redundancy.
To re-iterate, the idea of the summary tag (or however it is
implemented) should be to have a human readable summary (or teaser as
may be) of a page, which is itself shown in the page,
but also a replacement for search engines that use the old meta
description avoiding redundancy.
End result is (hopefully) less redundancy, and higher quality summary
(page description) shown in search engine results, and so on.
Also allowing people to quickly understand what a page is about by just
reading the first paragraph (or be enticed to read more).
Now if something like this allready exist/is possible I stand corrected
and ask, please tell me how to do that.
If not then I'd love to see something like this standardized.
BTW! The text in the first paragraph of this very email could for
example be the summary/description of this email.
So if it was html tagged in some way, a mail indexing or search engine
could use that as the summary or description view shown to a human user
scrolling through archived emails.
Roger "Rescator" Hågensen.
Freelancer - http://EmSai.net/
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