Marketing 3 min read

Google Explains how to Avoid Meta Description Rewrites

Stuart Miles / Shutterstock.com

Stuart Miles / Shutterstock.com

In a recent Google Webmaster Central hangout, Google's John Mueller explained why meta description rewrites occur and how to avoid it. 

Meta description rewrites are not uncommon on search engines.

Google doesn’t always use the meta description that publishers provide on web pages. Instead, the search engine generates a new one to display in the search snippet.

But why?

According to Google’s John Mueller, this could occur when the meta description on the web page is irrelevant or not useful. An example of such is when the meta description consists of a collection of keywords.

Also, Google rewrites meta descriptions that are similar to other pre-existing ones. When the same meta description tag appears on a large number of pages, the search engine may rewrite it for uniqueness.

Finally, meta description rewrites can occur to address search intent.

When the 155 character snippet on a web page doesn’t match a user’s query, the search engine could use other parts of the content that does. In other words, Google rewrites meta descriptions to help searchers understand why a specific page is relevant to their query.

You may not be able to get the search engine to use the meta description provided on your webpage 100 percent of the time. But, specific action can convince Google to display your intended meta description more often than not.

In a recent Google Webmaster Central hangout, Google’s John Mueller shared examples of such actions.

Mueller Suggests Ways to Avoid Meta Description Rewrites

According to Google’s John Mueller, there’s a high chance that the search engine will use the provided meta description if it meets the following criteria:

  1. Uniqueness: Each page has a unique meta description
  2. Length: The descriptions are short enough to fit into a search result snippet
  3. Relevance: They match with what users would be looking for when clicking on a specific page

With that said, Google may still choose to display a different meta description — even when you meet the conditions above.

For example, a searcher’s query is not particularly clear. Meanwhile, a specific snippet of text from your web page matches this query. In such a situation, Google will override your meta description with the relevant snippet text.

In the end, the best way to ensure that the search engine shows your intended meta description for a specific query is relevance. Your 155 character description must be as relevant to the question as it can be.

Here is the full video of the Goole Webmaster Central hangout:

Read More: Meta Descriptions Have the Highest-Impact On Click-Through Rate

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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