Friday, March 25, 2005

Google Snipets - A Google Secret

One of the most frustrating features of Google search results is how the web site descriptions are composed. Google takes snippets of text from the body of the page, selecting phrases that include the keywords used in the search. As a searcher I find the resulting Google descriptions to be useless. They don't have enough information and tell me little about the actual content of the page. As a web designer I see the Google snippets as presenting information that is unrelated to the message of the page. I'd prefer the description from my meta tags be used, as that would allow me to deliver a targeted message that is accurate and specific for the page.

Here's the "secret". You can get Google to display the page meta description in some circumstances.

If Google finds the search phrase in the meta description, it will display the meta description instead of snippets from the page. So, start checking your logs to find out what phrases searches use to find your pages. Or even better yet, set up your landing pages so they log the referrer. You can then incorporate the most common search phrases into your meta description--returning control of your Google description to you.


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