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Title only in SERPS
OrangeCrate

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 32160 posted 12:59 pm on Nov 23, 2005 (gmt 0)

I've seen several discussions regarding URL only, but have not found an answer to this...

My site pages show the correct titles of the pages, but there is no cache or snippet. Searches for keywords rank very well in results.

I'm confused as to what to do, if anything, to correct this. Could someone please comment?

 

nubbin

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 32160 posted 9:09 pm on Nov 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hi,
Make sure you have a meta description set up on each of your pages. Google often uses that in the results shown for pages from my site. It's good news if Google does use it rather than a random extract of text from the page, as you can write the meta description exactly how you want.

OrangeCrate

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 32160 posted 11:27 pm on Nov 24, 2005 (gmt 0)

Thanks for your response. I do have descriptions on all eight of my pages. Yahoo picks them up perfectly, so I know they're written correctly. (It's a simple website providing an overview of my consulting practice, created with FrontPage.)

The Google listings have the title, and frankly, rank first in the SERPS for each of my keyword phrases, so I know they have the content. But, there is no cache, description or snippet. Just the title.

The site has been picked up correctly by Yahoo, MSN, and Ask Jeeves, but Google is, and remains a puzzle as to why the cache, etc. is not displayed.

energylevel

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 32160 posted 12:28 am on Nov 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

make sure your meta descriptions aren't snippets of text taken directly from copy in your pages, make sure it is a unique block of text...

OrangeCrate

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 32160 posted 1:10 am on Nov 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

O.K., thanks kindly for the tip.

I've put my thinking cap on, have rewritten all of the descriptions, and have just published them to the web. I'll wait and see what happens.

If there are other ideas, I appreciate hearing about them...

energylevel

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 32160 posted 1:36 am on Nov 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

Just give it a week or so ... the best advice is wait and don't be too hasty to go back and try some more chnages just yet .....

OrangeCrate

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 32160 posted 1:46 am on Nov 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

My thanks to you and Nubbin for your help. I'll sit on my hands for a week, and wait to see what happens.

I'll post in this thread to let you know how it comes out.

nubbin

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 32160 posted 5:00 am on Nov 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

Hi,

Definitely wait at least a week. Then check the versions of your pages google has in its cache (click the link called cache under your search result), look at the source code for the cached page to confirm it has your revised descriptions and see how they affect the search results.

It can get confusing if you change more than factor at a time! Change one thing, assess the impact, then move onto optimising the next thing for the search engines.
Good luck

OrangeCrate

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 32160 posted 9:51 am on Nov 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

Sorry, I thought I had been clear in my description of the problem, but it needs clarification...

There is no "Cached" button. Just "Similar pages".

The search result gives the title of the page only on the first line. Then, my URL on the second line, with similar pages. No description or snippet.

Doing some random searches, I don't find anyone else listed like that. Some URLs only occassionally, but not a listing like mine.

As I mentioned previously, my results rank first in every keyword phrase search.

tigger

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tigger us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 32160 posted 10:10 am on Nov 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

>make sure your meta descriptions aren't snippets of text taken directly from copy in your pages, make sure it is a unique block of text

is this a problem in doing this as I've been revamping some of my older sites to kick them back into life and have been using snippets of text from the content

Adam_T

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 32160 posted 11:44 am on Nov 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

One of my sites listings descriptions is showing the desciption of the site as it appears on dmoz lol which it quite unrelated to the page, and not taking copy from the webpage homepage! How mad is that?

energylevel

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 32160 posted 1:00 pm on Nov 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

<< is this a problem in doing this as I've been revamping some of my older sites to kick them back into life and have been using snippets of text from the content >>

I think it can be yes ....

tigger

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tigger us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 32160 posted 1:03 pm on Nov 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

in what way?

bumpski

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 32160 posted 1:17 pm on Nov 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

OrangeCrate

One problem I've had with Frontpage and Titles is editing the Title. Look at the HTML source itself, checking your Title /Title section.

Check if instead of spaces you have many "nbsp;nbsp;" in sequence in place of what is rendered on display as a space. There was a time I was purposely putting "spaces" in my Title's. I didn't realize that in some cases, perhaps after an edit of the Title, Frontpage would substitute the "nbsp;" (Non-Breaking SPace)in place of each and every desired space. Technically this should not be a problem, but it seems to me I've seen problems any time encoded characters show up in TITLES instead of the basic text, ampersand (&), is another example, in the HTML title Frontpage may place "amp;" or whatever the encoding is. I believe search engines do not like seeing this in Titles.

The "nbsp;"'s can make your Title appear extremely long in character count to all the search engines, but it looks fine wherever it's displayed

In html mode do a site wide search for "nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;". I search for 3 to find Title problems, you'll probably find many pairs of nbsp's in your content and that's pretty much normal and tolerated.

I can't remember for sure, but I believe for some of my pages the Google SERP listing was corrupted, perhaps in ways you describe. So check your HTML source!

Also, I just noticed recently that I've left behind several hidden hyperlinks as well; your editing a page and remove the hyperlink text, but whoops the link itself is still in the HTML source. Google explicitly lists this "hidden links" as a no-no, and Frontpage makes it easy to do accidently.

Frontpage and all html editors have their advantages though! But Check Your HTML Source for reasonability too! Didn't mean to turn this into a Frontpage thread but it does cause problems like OC is having.

Hope this helps.

energylevel

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 32160 posted 1:18 pm on Nov 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

All I can say is I fixed the no description in Google on a large site, about 30 pages in all were missing the description in Google. They all had one thing in common, meta description text was lifted from the body of the page, when I changed the meta descriptions it fixed the issue within a week or so, maybe it was coincidental. If OrangeCrate reports back here in a week or so saying it has fixed the issue then it may be confirmation of this ...

?

roodle

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 32160 posted 1:41 pm on Nov 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

One of my sites listings descriptions is showing the desciption of the site as it appears on dmoz lol which it quite unrelated to the page, and not taking copy from the webpage homepage! How mad is that?

I think it's quite common. Google uses Dmoz for its own directory, so...

If the description doesn't reflect the site content, ask the dmoz peeps to revise it. I know they often make up their own titles/descriptions which aren't necessarily the best. I've had to request a few changes on Dmoz before and they do actually do them eventually.

roodle

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 32160 posted 1:42 pm on Nov 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

make sure your meta descriptions aren't snippets of text taken directly from copy in your pages, make sure it is a unique block of text...

Thanks for that. Will check some of my pages that are suffering the same problem.

roodle

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 32160 posted 1:45 pm on Nov 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

I've seen problems any time encoded characters show up in TITLES instead of the basic text, ampersand (&), is another example, in the HTML title Frontpage may place "amp;" or whatever the encoding is. I believe search engines do not like seeing this in Titles.

Didn't know that. Very interesting. I don't use Frontpage but do use &amp; sometimes in titles. Will investigate this. Anyone else confirm this can be an issue?

OrangeCrate

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 32160 posted 2:34 pm on Nov 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

Bumpski,

It does help, thank you.

Having only eight pages, your suggestions were easy to check. No npsb html errors in the titles that I can see.

I also checked the hyperlink report. All seem to be correct and functioning. I don't see any hidden links in looking at the html.

But, that being said, I'm a user, not a programer. (I type, FrontPage does it's magic.)

I'd be humbled and grateful, if someone would be willing to take a quick look, and would forward my URL via sticky mail...

jrs_66

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 32160 posted 3:00 pm on Nov 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

I'm seeing this exact issue right now. My site is fairly new (about 1.5 months old). Google picked me up, ranked me decently, stopped listing me (sandbox), and now a week later- dropped all my descriptions. Is this description thing the result of the sandbox effect?

OrangeCrate

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 32160 posted 3:27 pm on Nov 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

Sorry, I may have committed a "booboo" to forum rules with my last posting.

roodle

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 32160 posted 4:41 pm on Nov 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

I've just been checking some of the url-only listed pages on a site of mine, and they do seem to coincide with pages which have descriptions copied from the first few lines of the first paragraph.

Other pages have descriptions made up of chunks of text from different parts of the page and mixed up. These seem to be indexed fine with snippet included.

I'll certainly pay more attention to this in future. Who said Google ignores descriptions? I'm sure I read that a lot in the past, but maybe things have changed...

jrs_66

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 32160 posted 4:58 pm on Nov 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

My descriptions are not taken from the content text.

Also, who said Google ignores descriptions? Keywords yes, descriptions are definitely quite important.

roodle

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 32160 posted 5:16 pm on Nov 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

jrs_66 - If your site is new it could be that you don't have enough backlinks yet.

energylevel

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 32160 posted 10:01 pm on Nov 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

url only entries may point to something different

g1smd

WebmasterWorld Senior Member g1smd us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 32160 posted 10:54 pm on Nov 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

>> After having read this thread it seems to me nobody really knows why some pages appear as URL's only no title/description in Google results? <<

Google's standard answer has been that URL-only entries are for pages where Google has seen the URL in a link on another page but hasn't yet crawled and indexed the actual page mentioned.

The other way that a page becomes URL only is when Google thinks it is duplicate content; the next stage is that the page disappears from the index entirely.

Duplicate content can come in many forms:
- offsite, where scrapers are presenting your content elsewhere (not much control over that)
- offsite, where multiple 302 redirects point at your site (use <base> tag to counteract this)
- offsite, where you run multiple domains with the same content (point all domains to same server and use 301 redirect)
- onsite, where you have the same content at both www and non-www (use 301 redirect to fix that)
- onsite, where you use the same title and description on multiple pages (even though rest of page really is different) - make sure that every title and meta description really is different.

This latter point is most important as of the last few weeks.

energylevel

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 32160 posted 11:38 pm on Nov 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

g1smd ... that's a bang on assessment for URL only entries but just to clarify here as the post was originally about listing with title but no description may NOT fall completely into this category to my knowledge .....

Maybe though the lack of description in listings could lead eventually to a URL only entry, it seems to be a duplicate content penalty of some level ...
meta description = snippet of on page copy

This is something I've only come across myself recently, most of the other dup content penalties mentioned here by g1smd have been around for a while now and discussed a lot on webmasterworld..

[edited by: energylevel at 11:49 pm (utc) on Nov. 25, 2005]

g1smd

WebmasterWorld Senior Member g1smd us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 32160 posted 11:45 pm on Nov 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

Oook, I didn't finish my post....

I meant to add "Those are the major factors for URL-only listings at the present time, and I assume there is some overlap of those with Title-only listings, but I don't see many of those so can't give much more insight at present."

energylevel

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 32160 posted 11:53 pm on Nov 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

Maybe the title only issue was introduced with Jagger .... have you heard of it before?

roodle

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 32160 posted 1:51 am on Nov 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Google's standard answer has been that URL-only entries are for pages where Google has seen the URL in a link on another page but hasn't yet crawled and indexed the actual page mentioned.

The other way that a page becomes URL only is when Google thinks it is duplicate content; the next stage is that the page disappears from the index entirely.

I expect this is true, but I've had pages go in and out of a "url-only" state. I've currently got pages that were listed normally in the past, and have now become url-only. There are also pages which were listed normally, became url-only, and then returned to normality. Sometimes I think it's because I've changed something on a page, but then it happens to a page I haven't touched at all, and ruins all my crazy theories as to why it's happening! Very frustrating...

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