joined:Apr 11, 2011
Yes, this started happening for me on Thursday, the 21st. Google is replacing my custom written meta description entirely for all my Subcategory pages. This is resulting in a 20% drop in traffic overall. I am assuming it is affecting CTR. (Unfortunately both Analytics and Webmaster Tools are not being helpful in my attempts to prove conclusively that the loss in traffic is due to a drop in CTR only to Subcategory pages.)
This is what my SERPS look like now
10+ items – 6 words from meta description followed by...
Title of Item #1 Votes: 167, Rating 4.27
Title of Item #2 Votes: 340, Rating 4.15
This is happening for all my subcategory pages which are usually responsible for over 60% of my traffic from Google.
This happened last year as well and I was successful at stopping Google from doing this by complicating the HTML pattern of the items listed on the page.
They were listed using div's and I interspersed an Advertisement between items 3 and 4. It worked for a year; apparently the Google Algorithm has gotten a little wiser.
We've noticed today that Google listings have appended "Results X - X of X" in front of our meta descriptions.
So, unlike the OP and other posts I've seen elsewhere, I am seeing a complete removal of meta description, (well except for 6 words which is fairly useless and probably hurts rather then helps).
My first attempt, implemented today, to stop this unwanted behavior and bring back the higher CTR is moving the Ratings Rich Snippets, (stars, rating and vote count) from right beneath the item title and above the excerpt to beneath the excerpt. My assumption is that it's not the first line added to the SERPS, "10+ Items" that is causing the drop in CTR but the removal of my meta description from the SERPS. Since others are not seeing a compete removal of meta description as I am, I suspect that all that Rich Snippet rating data is making Google giddy and they just need to display it, leaving no room for my meta description. Well, if it's below the excerpt maybe they will place less importance on it.
Has anyone else experienced a complete removal of the meta description?
If so how has this affected your CTR?
Any successful attempts at stopping Google from displaying this 10+ Items Rich Snippet?