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Old 08-06-2008   #1
bigjohnjohn
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Google has changed how it describes my site

Was hoping someone could shed some light on this, but the site description that organic google searches comes up with has changed for the home page of a site i look after.

I found out that our webmaster had dropped the desciption and keywords meta tags from the home page html (at some un-determined point in the past) and was wondering if that would affect things?

I read that google takes its site descriptions from DMOZ but I wasn't sure from looking at DMOZ that its site descriptions are not based on (in part) on the site description on the home page.

All of the site descriptions for other pages on the site are unaffected.

My webmaster basically said that 'google are not that interested in meta tags nowadays. It's all about the words in the content.'

Thanks in advance for any help.
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Old 08-06-2008   #2
Gooner151078
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Re: Google has changed how it describes my site

I would certainly insist on having the meta informaiton included. Despite what your webmaster is saying, it remains best practice and it can't do any harm.

Google have in the past used DMOZ descriptions to describe sites. You can stop them from doing this by including the NOODP meta instruction listed below.

<meta name="Robots" content="NOODP">

Google will also display snippets, exctracts of relevant information from the page, in the serps. Google will also use a snippet of the information of the page if the search query is more relevant to the snippet than the listing in DMOZ.

Although Google does not place as much weight on meta information as it used to, your users still care about how your site is described so I would certainly use the META description. You may also want to remind your webmaster that there are other search engines!

If you PM me your site, I shall have a look at it.
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Old 08-08-2008   #3
bigjohnjohn
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Re: Google has changed how it describes my site

thanks for the reply. PM sent.

The reason I am trying to find out how to influence the site description is that we have recently experienced an unexplained drop off in inbound webleads, despite all of our rankings holding steady, and no other changes at work, I am at a loss to explain it.
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Old 08-08-2008   #4
Portran
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Re: Google has changed how it describes my site

Hi

The DMOZ description is purely based on the description in the DMOZ listing, once in place they don't pick this up from the tags. Regarding Google, people have stated that the description tag is becoming redundant but there are still hints in Google's own documentation that slightly disagree.

Essentially, they are saying that the better formed the tag, in terms of content, readibilty, relationship to the page content, reasonable length, the more likely they will use this, at least in part. So Gooner was spot on, get the web designer to put this back and you have more chance of controlling the snippet.
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