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How does WebmasterWorld gets its meta description field as the indexed serp text?

This text will appear in the serps.

     
10:16 pm on Mar 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I have noticed that in the serps Web master world always has the text entered in the meta description field of a new topic as the description text in its serps. Yet when I view the source of a topic, I see no <META NAME="DESCRIPTION"> tag.

How are these search engines picking up this specific text to display under the serps? On my forum its picking up all the garbage text at the top of the page first and no text from the topic at all.

For those pages I have a meta description tag in, it works fine.

Anyone know how WebmasterWorld does it?

10:50 pm on Mar 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

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How does WebmasterWorld gets its meta description field as the indexed serp text?
This text will appear in the serps.

What you are seeing is exactly what you entered when posting the topic which is the title and description. Your topic title is the <title> element and the short description you entered under the title is usually the content to get indexed first. It doesn't have to appear in a META description element. As long as it is at the top of the code behind the scenes, there is a good chance it will appear in it's entirety when doing site: searches, etc.

<title>How does WebmasterWorld gets its meta description field as the indexed serp text?</title>
<snippet>This text will appear in the serps.</snippet>

Typically the starting topic and then the first few replies afterwards will dictate the "meaning" of the page. If the topic stays on course, the page will rank highly for whatever is in the title.

Notice how I repeated the title of this topic in my reply? That should pretty much lock this topic into a theme. You have total control over the destiny of your posts. ;)

<added> Oh, but wait, now I see what you are referring to. Hey Brett, care to share that with us?

11:52 pm on Mar 17, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I think you see what I am referring to. Usually the search engines will use the title in conjunction with the meta description for the serp description text. If that meta description is not there, it will usually take the useable text from the beginning of the page. Somehow, WebmasterWorld does not use the meta description tag but still gets what it wants into the serps.

Id love to know the trick so I dont have to hack apart my IBF like I have been doing all day.

12:20 am on Mar 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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The following line added to the <head> section of your page(s) should stop G from showing the snippet instead of your description:

<meta name="googlebot" content="nosnippet"

See [google.com...]

Jim

4:51 am on Mar 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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No the problem is not that a snippet is showing..i want the snippet. We are curious as to how WebmasterWorld is making it so the snippet is the new topics meta description as when we look at the source of a WebmasterWorld page there is no meta description tag.
3:10 pm on Mar 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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This discussion has been in the forums numerous times - 5-6 atleast. Bot content for bots - human content for humans. Meta tags have nothing to do with humans, and everything to do with bots. Bots don't do cookies...
The focus of the site has always been on the user and not the bots.

It saves about 10 gig a month in bandwidth. It also is a processor intensive set of routines.

4:10 pm on Mar 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Ahh..ok...i see. Thanks for clearing that up.
10:10 pm on Mar 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I've always thought it was a supreme no-no to display content conditionally.

In fact, I thought it was such a no-no that I would have never even contemplated what I think you are suggesting, displaying different content based on whether the user will/will not accept cookies.

I am always amazed at how much I learn here in just 2 minutes browing the threads (I do realize that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing).

10:35 pm on Mar 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Maybe i am wrong, but I would assume that he is suggesting that they offer up a meta-description tag if the viewer is a spider. My guess is that they check the user agent and if it contains a know spider string then gives the meta description.

Remember there are many people who do not accept cookies these days for security reasons.

11:06 pm on Mar 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Remember that there are also many sites which require cookies for security reasons ;)
3:16 pm on Mar 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

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> I've always thought it was a supreme no-no to display content conditionally.

Huh!? I doubt you could find a alexa top 250 site that doesn't display content conditionally. I would bet out of the top 1k alexa sites 80% show content conditionally. The only reason the other 20% don't is they don't have the tech resources to do so. Geo targetting, Geolang, Psychographic profiles, bot busting, and regular customer delivery is still pretty technical stuff.

> Remember there are many people who do not accept cookies these days for security reasons.

Less than 9 in 1000 here - and 8 of those 9 are bots.

> displaying different content based on whether the user will/will not accept cookies.

Absolutly. How you walk through a site and the sites reaction to that (aka: amazon like) can make the difference between $10k a month and $100k a month.

The only time you will get into trouble with search engines over cloaking, is when you are presenting radically different content. If you are merely adjusting things like targetting (giving folks in Utah ads for salt lake city homes vs homes in london england), or only giving meta tags to bots - I have never heard of an SE that had an issue with either. However, if you are doing what bmw recently did - that is a whole different proposition.

 

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