SEO Tips for the Meta Description Tag

Last Update: October 16, 2015

We all want our website to be on Google Page 1. So in this post I will give you some SEO tips for the Meta Description Tag that will help to achieve that goal. Now you may be wondering, is the Meta Description Tag important? It most certainly is, because it is the second most important aspect that people will look at in the search engines, that will make them want to click on your link.

DO YOU HAVE A GOOD CTR?

Not only do you want to be on Google Page 1 for either your targeted keyword or a keyword from a popular search query, as described in my last training blog, but you want to have a good enough Meta Description that will entice those looking through the search engines, to click on your link. If you have a snippet of text that accurately and fully explains what your page is about, your CTR (Click Through Rate) will go up.

For the majority of people who use the All In One SEO Pack plugin, this training blog is a must for you to implement. Why? Because the All In One SEO Pack plugin will automatically create your Meta Description Tag from the first 160 character spaces of your content. If you do not start out your content by explaining what your page is all about and include your keyword, you will not rank as high and/or your CTR will not be as high.

EXAMPLE OF ALL IN ONE SEO DESCRIPTION

The below image will show you what the All In One SEO Pack automatically created Meta Description looks like, for my DS Domination scam review. My keyword for this page of content on my website is, "Is DS Domination a Scam" as is displayed in the beginning of the page title.

As you can see in the highlighted text of the Meta Description, the first 160 characters of my content are not that enticing. So what I did was manually type up a more descriptive Meta Description Tag. However Google will only display the snippet that you typed up if it best answers the search query. The one I manually typed up does not answer my keyword well enough so Google displays what the All In One has created. Sometimes Google will display their own, based on other text within your content. How can I correct this?

Well if this page was not already on Google Page 1, position 7, and moving up, I would experiment by creating another manually written Meta Description to see if I have better luck. In the video at the bottom of this post, Matt Cutts explains that experimenting with different Meta Descriptions will help your web page SEO & CTR.

USING THE 1ST 160 CHARACTERS CORRECTLY

In the image below you will see two different DS Domination posts I have on my website that appear on Google Page 1, positions 4 and 5. Searching the keyword "DS Domination Monopoly Review" the top displayed post shows the first 140 out of 160 characters of my content. I made sure that my keyword and what the post was about, was written in the first 140 character spaces. Now you maybe asking yourself, why is it not showing all 160 character spaces?

That is because of the 15 character spaces being used by the date "Nov 13, 2014 - " and the remaining 5 characters are truncated because the word I used was more than 5 characters long. So when I either manually type in the Meta Description or write the very beginning content of my post, I make sure that my first 140 character spaces include my targeted keyword and a clear enough description of what the post is going to be about.

The bottom post in position 5 is showing an example of a Meta Description snippet that Google has created from other text indexed within my content. As you can see from the Bold Text, that is why Google is displaying that particular post for my search query of the keyword "DS Domination Monopoly Review."

HOW MANY WAYS IS IT DISPLAYED?

Three different ways: 1) You pay no attention and do nothing. Then the All In One SEO Pack automatically generates it from the first 160 character spaces of your content. 2) You do pay attention and begin your content by including your keyword and best description within the first 140 character spaces. 3) You manually create a Meta Description Tag with your keyword and hope that Google will display it, should it be a better answer to the search query.

Yes I know that is a lot to absorb. But once you realize how important your Meta Description is for those searching of answers in the search engines, I hope that these SEO tips for the Meta Description Tag that I have shared here today, will help you to gain better search rankings and click through rates. - Make sure to watch the video by Matt Cutts below where he explains that the Keyword Meta Tag is NOT important but that the Meta Description is. - If you have any questions (I bet you will) or comments, please leave them below the video.

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CandP Premium
Hi Rob and thank you for this really informative post. Even though it was written a few years ago it is clearly just as relevant today as when you wrote it.
We have made the beginners mistake of not adding a meta description when first publishing our posts and also we see that in our All in One SEO advanced settings the "Autogenerate Descriptions" is not checked.
From what we have read elsewhere it seems we will not cause any harm to our existing rankings if we go back in now and add appropriate meta descriptions. Would you agree with this?
Also, if we do that, would it be a good idea to Fetch each of those posts by Google? They are all currently indexed and a few have really high rankings.
Lastly, even if for all future posts we diligently add a meta description is it still advisable to check the "Autogenerate Descriptions" in the advanced settings?
We would appreciate any advice you have for us.
Colette and Philip
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boomergp08 Premium
First off I recommend that you do not change anything with the posts that are ranking high. Also do not do a fetch on them.

Secondly you should click the auto generate check box in the AIO settings regardless if you intend to write meta descriptions going forward.

And third, only do a fetch on the posts you go back and create a meta description for. If they are ranking high, do not do a fetch.
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CandP Premium
Thank you so much for the advice, Rob. We really appreciate it and will do as you say.
Colette and Philip
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boomergp08 Premium
My pleasure. Happy to help guide you in this matter.
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Avecita Premium
This is all still relevant, right?

Going to make my content writing a little more difficult...
but if it works, it works.
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boomergp08 Premium
Yes it is but it should have to make your content writing more difficult. Just keep writing your content the way you are now.

If you do not like how the meta description snippet reads in the All in One SEO Pack area, just type up a more descriptive meta description tag.
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Avecita Premium
I see. Thanks :)
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AFrenock Premium
Thank You.....I believe I will definitely write my own using these guidelines!!!
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boomergp08 Premium
You are welcome.
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AL13 Premium
Thanks, just did this for all my posts now...
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boomergp08 Premium
You are welcome
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Alan-1988 Premium
If i manually type the keyword im using in the meta description to provide a more detailed info about my post , but the keyword is not in the first 140 characters within the post is it going to still rank well or do i need to modify the post too?
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boomergp08 Premium
Yes you will still rank for the keyword if it is not in the first 140 character spaces of the meta description. As long as you have it within the 155 character spaces you will be fine.

Putting it in the first 140 just guarantees that all of it will appear within the first 6 months of the post, because Google always uses 15 character spaces of the total 155 for the date the post was created.
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mwanzaw2002 Premium
Now for older posts that are not ranking, does it help to go back and implement meta descriptions and other items that were not done earlier?
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boomergp08 Premium
Sure! As long as you do not change the page or post titles. You can definitely go back and change the Meta Description and even update your content too.
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mwanzaw2002 Premium
Thanks b
I'm not sure if I understand what Jay was saying on the URL of the posts in the 10 steps for ranking. What do we need to do if anything about it?
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boomergp08 Premium
When you create your page or post titles, just make sure it contains your keywords so that it will appear in your URL
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posinfo Premium
Really fantastic post. I have previously been wondering why I have had poor descriptions using the All In One SEO. I will now update my posts and pages. Many thanks Mark
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boomergp08 Premium
You are welcome Mark.
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MarionBlack Premium
Thanks for sharing, Robert. I use SEO by Yoast and I always change the snippet to include my keywords and provide a better synopsis of what the post is about. ~Marion
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boomergp08 Premium
Yes, with Yoast changing the snippet is normally something one must do. This post, though meant for everyone, was targeted more to those who use the All in One SEO Pack plugin because that auto-generates the snippet.
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TJRANDO Premium
Excellent advice and great training- Thanks Robert
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boomergp08 Premium
You are welcome.
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SuzetteH Premium
Great training thank you!
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boomergp08 Premium
You are welcome.
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justbobw Premium
I'm going to get on this right away.
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boomergp08 Premium
Cool!
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victor255 Premium
I remember reading a while back that Kyle said to just not mess with the meta description because you could get penalized from Google if you don't write it correctly. He said he recommeded to just leave the All In One SEO to do it for you.

However, After reading your content, I will take a risk and try writing my own meta descriptions and implement my keywords.
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boomergp08 Premium
Sometimes I let the All-in-One do it and sometimes I can do a better.

Remember: The All-in-One takes your first 155 character spaces and makes that your Meta Description. So if your first 155 character spaces are not compelling enough for people to click on your link, then yes, try writing your own.
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glycogen Premium
Thanks for this useful "from the source" info. Very helpful. About time I followed you!
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boomergp08 Premium
You are welcome. Happy you liked it.
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Inspiration1 Premium
Thanks for posting such useful information Robert. Now I get a glimpse of how google displays the information about our sites. In other words, how it is represented to the viewers. My best wishes.
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boomergp08 Premium
You are welcome Swadesh, it really does help to know how Google will display your descriptions in the search results and how you can have an effect on how it looks.
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felgue549 Premium
Robert, I've missed you a few times. It's good to see you here again and with more than useful ideas. Great reminder to keep alert for the things that work. Take care my good friend.
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boomergp08 Premium
Yeah, I have been busy elsewhere but I'm still here.
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robinjs Premium
Very useful post. :)

Now a couple of questions:
1. I have a couple pages fed by category posts. So these pages actually have no content themselves - they are fed by the content posts. Is it alright to manually create a Meta Description Tag with the keyword even though there is no actual content on the pages?

2. From what I understood above, it is alright to manually create a Meta Description Tag with the keyword even if the keyword is not in the title or the actual first 160 characters of the text. Is that correct?

Thanks,
Robin
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boomergp08 Premium
1) Not sure what you mean by "fed by the content posts."

2) Yes, that's correct
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robinjs Premium
"Pages fed by category posts" meaning that all posts of a certain category show on the page. So if you look at the page in the editor, it looks blank. but the page is set up so that any post in that category shows in the page - like a blog roll, but restricted to a particular category.
(You can see an example here: http://anywherenanytime.com/247-income)
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boomergp08 Premium
Yes I think you probably should because you currently have many pages on your website that have the same Meta description. You can see this by going up on Google and then typing

site:your domain name

Then click on search and it will show all of your website pages and posts with their meta descriptions.
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robinjs Premium
Thank you. I'll do it.
Robin
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boomergp08 Premium
You are welcome.
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KatieMac Premium
very useful information I had not given that much thought before now
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boomergp08 Premium
Thank you Cathy. I hope it was helpful.
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KatieMac Premium
your blogs are always helpful thank you
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JewelCarol Premium
Thanks very much, Robert. You are not only entertaining but also SEO knowledgeable, lol. :)
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boomergp08 Premium
You are welcome. I do tend to know a little bit of everything. :)
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JewelCarol Premium
Ha, ha... lol. :) It is better than not knowing anything at all. :)
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BenORourke Premium
Thanks Robert, that makes it very clear.
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boomergp08 Premium
Glad I was able to bring you some clarity
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darrellw Premium
Great post. Like a pretty wife that can also cook, this is a keeper. Thank you
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boomergp08 Premium
You are welcome Darrell.
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JSakanee Premium
thanks man. I've always wondered about this. :) great info.
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boomergp08 Premium
You are welcome. Glad it was helpful.
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TheCatherine Premium
Fantastic post thanks for sharing
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boomergp08 Premium
You are welcome. Glad you liked it.
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Christabelle Premium
Great post! :)
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boomergp08 Premium
Thank you Christa for reading it. :)
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Christabelle Premium
You're welcome!
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Great info, thank you.
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boomergp08 Premium
You are welcome Meredith!
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whos Premium
Excellent info. Thank you for sharing.
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boomergp08 Premium
You are welcome. And thanks for reading it.
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Shawn Martin Premium
Thanks for sharing
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boomergp08 Premium
You are welcome Shawn
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azgorilla Premium
Finally I "get it" about the difference between meta tags and meta description! Great stuff. So in many cases those first 140 spaces can either make or break our ranking within Google.

Thanks for sharing... :) Tom
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boomergp08 Premium
The first 140 have an effect but they are not the be all and end all as far as rankings. But they are the be all and end all as far as getting people to click on your link in the search engines.
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azgorilla Premium
Got it...
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Davidjardine Premium
Thank you for sharing.
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boomergp08 Premium
Thank you for reading. :)
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hildacbg Premium
Thanks a lot Robert. Great information!
Hilda
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boomergp08 Premium
You are welcome Hilda. Glad you liked it!
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VickiB Premium
Great timing I was wondering about this today - thanks for taking the time.
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boomergp08 Premium
You are welcome Vicki
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Lady May Premium
Great info Robert, haven't seen you for a while or have I been sleeping lol?
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boomergp08 Premium
Thank you and no you haven't been sleeping. I have not been around. I have been busy doing other things with my business.
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Krasi Premium
great info Robert..thanks a lot..and what about the SEO Title and SEO keywords..is it important to write them...
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boomergp08 Premium
Normally you do not have to do the title because you have done that already when you first start your page of post. As for the Keyword Meta Tag, you do not add anything to that at all.
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Krasi Premium
ok, thanks a million....cheers
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dhicks35 Premium
Robert, Thanks again...You are incredible!
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boomergp08 Premium
You are welcome. :)
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tlmoffett Premium
Thanks Robert. I've been using Yoast's SEO package and it encourages exactly what you describe here. Great information.
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boomergp08 Premium
Yes, Yoast does encourage this practice. Unfortunately the All In One SEO doesn't and uses its Auto-Generating feature, which isn't always a good thing.
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AngelaHall Premium
Hi Robert,
Can I just come spend a day with you and learn all of your wonderful knowledge? lol I know - it would take more than a day!
Oh to be a fly on your wall :)
Thanks again :)
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boomergp08 Premium
You are welcome. - If you were a fly on my wall you would be one of three things. 1) Bored because sometimes I am just doing research and learning. 2) Confused because I tend to multitask a lot. 3) Dead because I hate flies on my wall. LOL
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AngelaHall Premium
lol, well, there goes that idea! I doubt i would be bored though ;)
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jazminf Premium
I'm gonna have to bookmark this page for future reference, Thank you Robert. Great information to know:)
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boomergp08 Premium
Yeah, it is one of those types of posts that is worth bookmarking because it contains a lot to absorb. That's why I ended it with the statement, "If you have any questions (I bet you will)" LOL
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jazminf Premium
Yeah i caught on to that which is why i said to myself, I better bookmark this. It's rare when you say "I bet you will" lol. So i figured it's best to bookmark so i can continue going back to it. Thanks again Robert:)
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boomergp08 Premium
That is because after I proofread through it I said, I better put a disclaimer on it, by acknowledging that it could be a lot to absorb in one sitting. :)
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jazminf Premium
Well after reading half way through it, I definitely knew I had to bookmark it:)
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dhayman Premium
Thanks Robert. I have a much better understanding of meta tags now.
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boomergp08 Premium
You are welcome. Happy to be of service. :)
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Brez Premium
Great training a little above me right now but I think my pea brain is starting to get it, thanks for adding video also read your last training blog and Sunday's Blog #28, good stuff.
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boomergp08 Premium
Thanks Mark. I am happy you like my blogs and I hope they have helped and will help you for the future of your website creation.
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rosieM Premium
Thank you!!!!! I ran across a huge discussion the other day about this very subject! Thank you for this post! You have fully explained everything one needs to know....I really like the idea about multiple choices.....this is an excellent video, I have watched it a few times before and learn something new each time.....
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boomergp08 Premium
Sometimes when you are learning something new for the first or second time it is always good to watch the video multiple times to see what you can pick up that you may have missed before.
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SowAndReap Premium
Hey Robert, So I can change the Meta Description at anytime if i'm not getting a good click through rate on a particular post? In other words, I can test things out and not get penalized?
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boomergp08 Premium
Yup! You can change it at any time if you feel you are not getting a good enough CTR. Just remember that once you change it you should wait about 3-4 weeks to give enough time for the changes to take effect. That's how long I normally wait in between tries.
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SowAndReap Premium
Thanks Robert!
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boomergp08 Premium
You are welcome.
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