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Using the word FREE in the meta description

     
8:11 am on Aug 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Having a meta description like this: "Find and get for FREE the latest widgets in X"

Using that "FREE" could be a problem in Google? could they consider it as spam?

Thanks!
8:34 am on Aug 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Why would you feel they might consider it as spam?
8:38 am on Aug 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

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What if you are selling free range chickens? ;)
9:52 pm on Aug 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Did you mean literally FREE like that, in ALL CAPS? Never mind about google: it may look spammy to humans. I doubt you'd ever say "FREE range chickens" ... unless you wanted major misunderstandings involving "No, sorry, you do have to pay for them".

Personally I'm more leery about "Find and get", which sounds like empty filler. Was going to say "Don't you mean 'find and buy'?" but, uh, if it's free you're not really buying, are you. Unless you're dealing in, say, retired military aircraft: Totally free, you pay only $18,000 shipping.
10:46 am on Aug 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Why would you feel they might consider it as spam?
Is not the same but I relate it with an email subject for example. I'm pretty sure many spam filters use that kind of words, is not like putting "viagra" but maybe triggers an alarm.

Did you mean literally FREE like that, in ALL CAPS?
Yep. We are not selling widgets for free, is like a service that we give for free. Like a free delivery for example. So let's say:

"Blue widgets for sale in X, get the latest widgets in Y and with FREE delivery"

DXL

1:24 pm on Aug 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I'm under the impression that the description tag still has no bearing on how a page ranks in Google's SERPs. So no matter what's in your description tag, it really shouldn't influence how that page ranks.

Is not the same but I relate it with an email subject for example. I'm pretty sure many spam filters use that kind of words, is not like putting "viagra" but maybe triggers an alarm.


You're assuming that Google's algorithm functions along the same lines as an email spam filter, but it doesn't. Google does have a SafeSearch feature to filter out adult content, but I don't think there's evidence to suggest that specific words in a description tag will keep you from ranking well.

Whether someone is searching for Viagra, pornography, or replica Louis Vuitton purses Google will still provide relevant results. Furthermore, Google can't recognize the context in which the word "free" appears. It can be in the description tag of a site for a lawyer offering a free consultation, the Wikipedia page for the movie Free Willy, a site promoting a free newsletter or free apps. Not to mention a description tag could have two totally different uses of what can be construed as a negative search. Animal torture: "Visit our site for animal torture videos" vs "Visit our site to end animal torture at commercial chicken farms."
8:52 am on Aug 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I agree with DXL and Google has actually stated that they don't use the contents of the description meta to rank sites. What they do say is that the description tag is important as they often use it in the snippet so it's contents can affect click through.
10:19 am on Aug 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

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A company that received a significant investment from google uses FREE in everything, adwords ads, title tags, description tags, serp snippets... so I don't think they have an issue with it.

Not that it matters what google thinks of it, as mentioned earlier you should find out what your users/visitors/potentials think about it.