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It seems to me that it all depends on the search terms and how they match up with the rest of the site.
To make things even more confusing I see Google return the Dmoz directory description at times too, if a main keyword is in the search string and also present in the directory description.
I see Google return the Dmoz directory description
That's been the cause of quite some despair in my case. I think it's great that I'm listed in DMOZ, but not that my listing is five years out of date. I've tried many times to change my site's description, but the category editor has never responded.
I only started noticing this a couple of months back. I think it is an adjustment that google made to show google directory titles and descriptions in search queries. It wouldnt surprise me if google started to list under a site url the google directory category if the site is in.
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We will see if I am good at guessing!
.... in message 33 of the first Bourbon thread you mention that you sometimes see your meta description shown instead of the typical Google snippet. That's something that we've been experimenting with for a little while. To be honest, I'm not sure what the exact criteria are for using the meta description instead of a normal snippet, but it's independent of the update. You can assume that we're always looking at different ways of giving snippets (from the text of the page, from an ODP description, from meta descriptions) and trying to find what's the most useful result for a searcher.
I agree. The description they have for my hobby site says that it is a forum, yet the forum is just a very small part of the site. Kind of bums me out when certain searches have the DMOZ desciption. It isn't even close to what the site is all about. I have tried for the past year and a half to get the description changed in DMOZ, but it falls on deaf ears. It's their way or the highway, I guess.
The main problem: dmoz descriptions are not good depending on editor and you can do nothing to change that.
The DMOZ descriptions may be inadequate as they usually need to be read in conjunction with the category name:
Provides tools for analyzing virus infections
is missing a vital bit of content -- is the category Microbiology or Microsoft operating systems?
So there are two obvious things you can do to change Google's usage of inappropriate or out-of-context DMOZ descriptions:
1. Do a summary of a few results pages, highlight the entries that have a DMOZ description that is not appropriate, and send it to Google's quality guys.
If they see the evidence they might take action. If they don't, they may well think that all is well with the DMOZ description experiment.
2. Provide Google with a better source of "objective" descriptions. Google is using DMOZ becuse it is good enough for their purposes.
But they'd be fools not to use something else that was better.
So get together with all the other posters here in the last year who say (in various ways) that DMOZ sucks and/or they have an idea for doing something better, and do something better.