Meta description tag is used to display a short text of upto 160 characters on the search engine listing pages.However you may have noticed sometimes that search engines like Google would not show up the text which you have used in the meta description tag of your webpages.Rather,it shows a snippet randomly from the texts of your page (see the screenshot below).Seems familiar?In this blog,I am going to share how you can avoid this problem.
Let’s first understand that Google shows the snippet on the search listing page through one of the following sources:
1) Meta tags
2) Webpage texts
3) ODP (Open Directory Project)
If,for some reason,Google is not able to see the searched keyword in your meta description,it would display a piece of some relevant text based on the search query.In the above screenshots example, I had not added the keyword ‘SEO Consultant’ in one of my pages at SEO Services Singapore but my page is still showing up on the keyword ‘SEO Consultant Singapore’ however the search engine snippet doesn’t show the meta description that I had added.Instead, its showing up a piece of text from the body of the page which has the keywords ‘SEO Consultancy’ which according to Google is relevant to the search query.
Here are few ways through which you can overcome this issue:
#1 Focus on the keyword in your description tag
As I shared my case above,I had not used the keyword ‘SEO Consultant’ in the meta description of my page however Google had still ranked my page on this keyword.But in the search snippet,it was showing the text from the body instead of meta description.In this case,I must use the targeted keyword in the meta description of my webpage.
#2 Check on duplicate meta tags
There could be a possibility that due to the duplicate meta tags used in your webpages, Google is not able to show up the right page for the targeted keyword.Therefore,it is advisable to use unique meta description and meta title for all the pages of your website.
#3 Block ODP Listing
There could be some chances that Google is fetching the search snippet of your webpage(s) from the ODP (Open Directory Project).Hence, you can use the code below in order to block ODP to send the description to search engines.
<meta name=”robots” content=”NOODP”>
#4 Do Nothing
There is no harm if search snippet doesn’t show up your meta description text as long as your webpage is being found on the search engines for your targeted keywords.The users can still see the bolded words within your search snippet and those bolded words do contain their search query so they tend to click on your web link.