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The "wrong" snippet
Can we coax out the one we want?

 5:24 pm on May 21, 2005 (gmt 0)

The home page of one of my sites does really well in its (minority) field.
For many searches, the SERPS includes my META DESCRIPTION, which suits me just fine.

For the one search where I used to be top and am now third, the snippet comprises my DMOZ description, which is donkey's years old. The DMOZ description has the keywords once, whereas there are three instances on the homepage itself, and one in the meta description, all of which I thought were juicier....

Any idea why the snippet has been chosen to include something I didn't write (the DMOZ entry) over something I did?

Or, to be more brutal, any idea how to get today's web content into my snippet, instead of something 6 years old?




 5:47 pm on May 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

Just bumping this up as it's been maturing in the dark for a couple of days!

Let's just add that the recent updates have had no effect on the problem. One search term pulls up the DMOZ snippet - all the other search terms find relevant text on the page or in the page's Meta Desc

Ideas please!


 6:02 pm on May 23, 2005 (gmt 0)




I have been having the same problem and still have yet to resolve it...


 6:14 pm on May 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

Google will preferentially use your DMOZ description, unless there is no text matching the search terms in it. In that case, they'll go to your page content and then to your meta description.

So, either ask DMOZ to update your description to make it much better (so that it provides a better snippet) or ask them to update it to make your description a lot worse, so it doesn't match common queries. Understand that this will likely be a very low priority for most DMOZ editors -- They are concerned with an accurate editorial description and not with SEO, and are all volunteers, so they generally don't appreciate having their time wasted. Don't count on this, and don't expect more than once chance to change it every few years.

Alternately, use G's "nosnippet [google.com]" tag, but this also causes G to stop caching your page.

Or cloak... But be sure to get it 100% right.

It's a problem with no pretty solutions.



 6:25 pm on May 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

You would probably have better luck becoming a dmoz editor and changing it yourself than getting another editor to do it. Either way it will take a while because it is not the DMOZ description they are using, but the Google Directory description. I know they are the same but it takes a while for it to propagate from dmoz to Google and you never know what Google will be using by the time it does.


 6:26 pm on May 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

I have tried to get DMOZ to change the description for the past year to no avail on some other sites. This seems to be a new thing on a couple of established sites.

Google will preferentially use your DMOZ description, unless there is no text matching the search terms in it. In that case, they'll go to your page content and then to your meta description.

I am not sure what you mean here. When I search for (mystate) (myhobby), I get my description. When I search (mystate) (myhobby) forum, I get the DMOZ description. Both descriptions have (mystate) (myhobby) and forum in it. The problem I am having is that the DMOZ description makes the site sound like it is only a forum, while the actual site is much more then that. The forum is just a small part of the site.


 4:12 pm on May 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

If your page becomes a supplemental result for any search terms then the snippet will never be updated. That is, you can do a search for words which are no longer on the real page, and no longer in the Google cache, but your page can be returned for that search query and the "old words" can appear in the snippet, and continue to appear in the snippet 2, 3 or 4 years after the words were removed from the real page.

The page can additionally be returned as a normal (non supplemental) result for words that do still appear on the page. A page may not be a supplemental result for all search queries that it is returned for. Where it is a supplemental result, the snippet is based on old data, and that snippet is never updated.


 4:44 pm on May 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

Sorry, But now I am confused as ever. Neither of these results are supplimental, however, I have other pages that are but all of these show snippets of actual text on the pages.


 6:56 pm on May 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

Yes, but should you ever change the content of the page, and even if Google updates their cache to show that new content, those supplemental result pages will continue to be returned for the queries that they are currently returned for, and the snippet will continue to show the same information that is does now... even if you replace the page with completely different content such that none of the words on the old page appear on the new page. Those supplemental pages have the title and snippet "frozen" for all time, but only for the SERPs where that page is returned as a supplemental result (for other search queries the pages may not always be tagged as supplemental).

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