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Meta Description

Cal Poly Drupal sites now offer a user-editable meta description! Drupal provides a default value for this tag that attempts to summarize your page content, but for more curated control over your site messaging and SEO, you can manually configure it.

It is strongly recommended you take advantage of this manual option on your home page! This is especially important if you're using a hero rotator home page with the "Special Front Page" enabled, as the default page description for that specific format is blank.

Writing Meta Description

The meta description appears on various search engine results and social sharing sites as a short message that you use to communicate to the end user what your page is about. Here's a few tips to help you write a good one -

  1. Try to give users a preview of the content on your page.
  2. Be mindful of the difference between what you say and what your users hear - make your description clear and concise.
  3. There is a limited amount of space for your description, so keep is simple. Google, for example, truncates the description at 320 characters. 
  4. If you're stuck, try searching for similar pages on other websites (perhaps at other universities). Use your perspective as an end user on those pages to help you determine what works well - or what doesn't work well!

If you later want to revert back to the default meta description, this is the default token:


Adding Your Custom Meta Description

  1. Click on the New Draft or Edit Draft tab of the page you want to manage.
  2. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and select the Meta tags option.
  3. Replace the content in the text field under Description as desired.
  4. Select Publishing Options and use the dropdown to set your page status to Published.
  5. Click Save to commit your changes.

Preview of the meta tags user interface

Meta Tags and the Special Front Page Format

Finding the edit link for your home page with the Special Front Page format enabled can be tricky because the New Draft tab you would normally click won't be visible.

There are a few ways you can find that edit link - whichever one you choose, we recommend you bookmark the link (or even add it as a shortcut to your Drupal site) so you only have to do this "the hard way" once.

If you get stuck trying to find your edit link, please submit a ticket to the support center.

Method 0 - The default home page

The Node ID number for a Drupal site's default home page is 12. So, if your site is using the default home page, you can find your edit link at the following URL:


Method 1 - Site admins only

The idea here is to simply turn off the Special Front Page to make the New Draft tab appear.

The drawback is that doing this will temporarily expose a few things that the Special Front Page would normally hide, like the home page's H1, table of contents, and body content. Make sure you re-enable the Special Front Page format as soon as you find the home page's edit link!

  1. Go to Appearance, and then click Settings under the Cal Poly Responsive Theme.
  2. Uncheck the box next to Use Special Front Page format, then scroll down and click Save Configuration.
  3. Go back to your home page, and click the New Draft tab that should now be visible. Copy the edit URL and save it as a bookmark or a site shortcut.
  4. Go back to Appearance > Settings (as in Step 1) and re-enable the Special Front Page format.

Method 2 - Edit from Content table

In this option, we'll use the Edit link that is available in the Content (or Find Content) table.

First, we'll need to find the title of your home page. If you already know the title, you can skip to Step 6.

  1. Go to Configuration and then click on Site Information.
  2. Copy the path that appears under Default front page. (On most sites, it will be "home").
  3. Go to Manage My Site, and then click on Node, Alias, Title.
  4. Paste the path from Step 2 into the Node Alias filter field and click Apply.
  5. Locate your home page from the search results, and note the Title. If there are multiple results, look for the page that has an exact match to the Alias.
  6. Now that you know the home page title, go to Content (or Find Content) and search through the table for your home page.
    • Clicking the word Title in the table's header row will sort the table by page titles, alphabetically. This can greatly help reduce the search time on sites with a lot of content.
  7. When you find the home page, you can click Edit next to it in the table.
  8. Make sure to save the edit link as a bookmark or site shortcut.

Additional Help

If you need more help with meta tags, you can tap into University Marketing's SEO expertise at universitymarketing@calpoly.edu.

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