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How to increase chance of meta description appearing in the serps

 4:28 pm on Aug 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

I want my meta description to be shown in the serps as often as possible (instead of text snippets from the page).

Google says they will show my description probably, if it is "good", readable, informative.

Can I do more than writing an informative and readable description including several keywords?


Robert Charlton

 5:34 am on Aug 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

deeper - We've just had a discussion which discussed a slightly different question, one which you also asked, but it also answered the question your asking now. That thread is...

Max. Length of Meta Description in Serps
http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4596062.htm [webmasterworld.com]

Essentially, ZydoSEO covered it with this statement here...

Pretty much the only time Google will show your meta description is if all of the keywords in the user's search phrase are found in the meta description. It's why I optimize my title element first (should contain the 1-3 keyword phrases your URL is targeting and most likely to rank for if you're doing your job well).

Once I know what my title element looks like I then optimize my meta description so that it uses hopefully most if not all of the individual keywords from the title. This should maximize the percentage of time that Google actually displays your meta description as the snippet....

Some of the other answers in that discussion, I realize, including mine... where I said "with roughly the first 150 characters including the most-likely-to-rank terms"... weren't quite as explicit, but essentially the point is you need to include the keywords for which the page is optimized in the description if you want the description to display.

I've had clients think they could get another message entirely into the displayed description, but it usually doesn't work that way. Google likes to show the keywords included in the query. That's not always precisely the case, but it generally is. Nothing that I know can change this.


 10:20 am on Aug 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

Of course I know the other discussion and therefore I mentioned "including several keywords".

So I'm already aware of having the keywords in the description is important. Thank you for clearing up again that this is essential. But my question is "can I do more than this?" So the question is not repeated or redundant.

KWs are certainly required, but there could be other factors additionally, which increase chances to be shown in the serps.

Let me give an assumption and example. Google says "make it relevant, informative and readable". So it could be one factor so create correct sentences by using punctation marks like ending periods and commas. Google now easily can recognize that there are real, readable sentences. Just one idea....

Or may be Google consideres the CTR? Would be logical, but on the other hand the CTR depends on the title tag also.

How does Google measure an informative, relevant and readable Description? That's the point.

Thoughts like this....


 12:50 pm on Aug 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

Google still likes to highlight the keyword searched for in the text shown. If your page targets or ranks for too many keywords that are all impracticable to have in meta description, you will end up more often than not with a snippet shown instead of meta description you crafted.

In this case I would focus that my hand crafted meta description shows for my most searched/best converting queries and therefore ensure these keywords are mentioned.

I appologise, I have just re-read your last post in the other thread which Robert mentioned above [webmasterworld.com...] and I pretty much said the same you had said yourself in that thread 6 weeks ago. So this answer of mine did not bring anything new that you did not know yourself already. Unfortunately, I have no other ideas.


 2:32 pm on Aug 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

So it could be one factor so create correct sentences by using punctation marks like ending periods and commas.

Well of course! You're crafting a description for *people* to read. If Google does use your description and it doesn't read well to the user you're shooting yourself in the foot. Except for the advice on keywords forget about Google and think about crafting an informative description that gets the searcher's click.

Robert Charlton

 5:38 pm on Aug 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

What jimbeetle said. The meta description is for people.

That said... in terms of readability, I don't know how deeply Google parses the meta description for grammar. I can say, though, that I don't remember having seen a description that was simply a list of keywords returned in the serps, so Google must be applying some rules of syntax.

Subject - verb - object seems like a good place to start. I'm guessing that parsing this might be computationally intensive enough that Google doesn't do it, but it appears that they do something. It would be an interesting test to run.


 6:49 pm on Aug 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

May be Google does not consider the order of subject - verb - object, but at least the existence of them?

Orthograpy would be easy to check.

May be it is not necessary to test it. I have asked the description question for the next english webmaster video hangout of JohnMu on august 16. And some other questions concerning disavowing which are hard to answer for us (for example what happens with the disavow file after the WMT account has been closed by the webmaster).
Unfortunately usually only the first page of questions has a chance to be answered and the order is determined by votes.


 6:03 pm on Aug 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

Here is the answer from John Mueller (Webmaster hangout):

-Syntax, orthogrphy, grammar, s-v-o is not considered by the algo, but there may be personal tester checking your site who consider these things then.

-CTR is not considered; high CTR does not mean that there is a good decription.

-Usually the meta description is shown if it contains the keywords, but it shouldn't have significant flaws like KW-stuffing.


 7:21 pm on Aug 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

Thanks for asking the question and for posting his response here.

Kind of interesting. I wonder about this part:

"...is not considered by the algo, but there may be personal tester checking your site who consider these things then."

What would he or she be testing for?

1) To determine whether to use the meta description or a snippet of text in the SERPs?

2) Whether the site is trying to spam the SERPs?

My guess would be #2; They would be more interested in actually taking a look at a site to see whether the meta description somehow violates the TOS.


 9:54 pm on Aug 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

Aside from the mechanics, the description needs to be relatively unique. Don't just use a sentence from the page's body or Google will just opt to use a snippet instead.

Probably obvious but it is important.


 9:57 pm on Aug 16, 2013 (gmt 0)

I'm not sure, but I don't think he meant a check especially and solely of the description.

He mentioned it only after inquiring a second time. I guess he would have mentioned it earlier if it was a specific "description matter".


 1:27 am on Aug 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

Syntax, orthogrphy, grammar, s-v-o is not considered by the algo, but there may be personal tester checking your site who consider these things then.

Reminder: Not all web pages are in English :)

Since it was only about the week before last that g### caved in and decided it would look at the "lang" attribute after all, I would just as soon not have them try to parse a meta description as English. It may not happen to be in English in the first place.

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