Google Dropping Snippets?

Tweet

I’m starting to see a lot more META descriptions and Open Directory (www.dmoz.org) descriptions appearing in Google search results, where in the past you could expect to see a snippet of text content from the listed page.

In some cases, I’m sure this is a good thing, but it can also lead to some really terrible results. Check out the Google search result for “SEO Consulting.”

If you’re seeing the same SERP I am (it’s possible…) you’ll find my site (www.seoresearchlabs.com) at #7, with the ODP description displayed underneath our link. Unfortunately, since the ODP editor couldn’t spell very well, Google is not doing me any favors by showing that description… in fact, the description is misleading because we don’t offer website design. (For reference, the ODP listing reads “Offers search engine marketing, keyword research reportes, website design, marketing training and consutlting.”)

Just above at #6 I see another website (www.increaseranking.com) with their META description displayed in place of a snippet. Which is great news for them, because it’s basically ad copy.

Increase Ranking is not listed in the Open Directory. My site was just recently added, and didn’t have a META description until a few minutes ago.

I’ll follow up in a few days to let everyone know whether the META description takes precedence over the ODP description. If the ODP description takes priority over the site’s content, I will no longer be able to recommend submitting sites to the Open Directory.

As readers of SEO Fast Start and the SitePoint SEM Kit probably know, I’ve questioned the value of a Yahoo directory listing for much the same reason. In the case of Yahoo at least, you can get someone to correct a spelling error.

Free book: Jump Start HTML5 Basics

Grab a free copy of one our latest ebooks! Packed with hints and tips on HTML5's most powerful new features.

  • Satya

    Same here. I’d rather them use the ugliest part of my page as snippets instead of an old DMOZ description. I didn’t use to believe so much in META description even when people say it’s a must because I believe in good content, but lately I make sure all my pages have META descriptions just to counter possible DMOZ description appearing.

  • neuraxon77

    I found the same out after adding META descriptions to my site. Google lapped it up.

  • http://www.deanclatworthy.com Dean C

    Both google and yahoo have always used the meta description in my SERPs.

  • Saumendra

    During the 1998 to 2002 web development , SEO’s are using extensive META TAGING techniques, which is honoured by all the search engines including Google. Where the greater share of META TAGS goes to the hand of ALTAVISTA.com. But the scenario changes from then when google comes with its “NO META TAG ” and replacing with the
    Page Ranking Algorithm. From that time onwards , slowly and slowly most of the SE’s followed the same concept. With the inception of W3C Standards, the web developers and the web community started migrating from the old school of SEO to the new one. Now as of this article, if the things comming with the Boomerang ….we hope to see this changeover a positive one.

    Comments are invited !!!!

  • joaquin_win

    I have my site in the Open Directory and it shows my meta information (which sucks by the way). See ya!

  • kmsiever

    Dan,

    For the record, you listing on ODP is not the same as you claimed Google had.

  • http://www.seoresearchlabs.com DanThies

    Sure enough, someone has edited our DMOZ listing in the past day. That’s good news, it’s just too bad they don’t have a few thousand more editors like that.

    For those waiting to see if Google would pick up and use our META description, they have. Over at Threadwatch, I offered to use my META description to send a personal greeting to Danny Sullivan, but I think I’ll leave it alone.

    This will also give us an opportunity to measure how long it takes for Google to update their DMOZ data. Just for fun…

  • Pingback: Marketing Defined

  • Pingback: » Google and Meta Descriptions - Tanya Martin

  • Andy

    I think this is potentially the worst thing for companies looking to market their websites in se’s. Dmoz has such ideals in regards to the descriptions they allow and publishing them on google results doesnt seem fair.

    My description has changed from a 2 line punchy funky description to a 6 word boring overview.

    Has anyone worked out a way to overwrite the dmoz descriptions? – i have meta descriptions in place already and they’re being ignored

  • visitor

    dmoz took over my website’s meta tag description which was horrible since it was full of poor spelling and grammar and was totally inaccurate. when i asked dmoz to remove me from their database, they refused. ridiculous…those bastards. there is no way to overwrite the dmoz description, at least in google. there is a huge discussion about this on Digital Point Forums…type in “dmoz replaces meta tag description…” see ya, and go screw google…

  • visitor

    dmoz took over my website’s meta tag description which was horrible since it was full of poor spelling and grammar and was totally inaccurate. when i asked dmoz to remove me from their database, they refused. ridiculous… there is no way to overwrite the dmoz description, at least in google. there is a huge discussion about this on Digital Point Forums…type in “dmoz replaces meta tag description…” see ya…