PUBLISHED: Mar 13, 2012 7 min read

Google Picking Up Descriptions Dynamically Based on Search Query

Google Uses Search Queries to Return the Right Description

After turning off the importance of keywords tag, now Google is working on picking up the descriptions it shows in the search results based on the content rather than solely depending on the description provided in the meta description tag.

We talk about how this is done on an episode of AmsiveDigital TV, with host Ruben Quinones and guest Avinash Conda.  A brief summary of the conversation in the video is given below.

3 ways Google picks up the description of a web page:

  1. The description tag <meta name=”description” content=”put your description here” />.
  2. The description provided in the ODP – Open Directory project (
  3. Description randomly picked up from the on-page content.

When does Google actually pick up a description that’s different than the meta description tag?

  1. If the description provided in the description tag is too long
  2. If there’s no description tag
  3. When Google thinks it can pick up better description from the content based on the search query

What are other ways to suggest to the search engine the description you desire?

This can’t be controlled completely, but keeping in mind the following best practices can help prevent Google from showing a description different that the one you specify in the meta description tag:

  1. Write unique, relevant and short descriptions for each web page on your site. Avoid having same title or description tags on multiple pages.
  2. Include <meta name=”robots” content=”NOODP”>  in the code to tell the robots to ignore the description from the Open Directory Project. Use <meta name=”robots” content=”NOYDIR”> for Yahoo! Directory (but currently only Yahoo!’s spider, Slurp, uses the Yahoo! Directory).


Host: Ruben Quinones.
Co-Host: Avinash Conda.

0:12 Ruben Quinones – Hey there. Welcome to another episode of AmsiveDigital TV. I am your host Ruben Quinones. I have here Avinash Conda again.
0:18 I got to apologize I don’t have my Jacket on today. I know you made a comment about the last time that I am not dressing up enough for you. Meanwhile you have your Jacket. You have blend really well with the couch.
0:25 Avinash Conda – Thanks. Thanks a lot.
0:28 Ruben Quinones – Anyways. So you put up and interesting point and really it’s been happening for a while talking about metadata how its changed in the last couple of years. You want to describe about it. What’s it doing now? And what is Google in fact doing now when it comes to metadata?
0:46 Avinash Conda – Yeah, well if we actually look back to when Google actually launched the primary aspect of Google constrain were the title, meta-description and the meta-keyword.
0:58 And over time, because people are abusing the meta-keyword stag. That was not considering a part of SERP so….
1:07 Ruben Quinones – By the way people who don’t know about meta-data is. It basically the source code that was just giving Google-bots the indication to what the webpage was, right?
1:15 Avinash Conda – Yeah. The key-words was actually giving an  idea to search engine what exactly the page was about and today the keywords stag is not use for ranking at all.
1:26 Ruben Quinones – Its not evaluated at all because it was basically abused several years ago.
1:30 Avinash Conda – Yeah, like three years ago and then now when it comes to meta description, again Google started using dynamic meta-description for few of them like in three major areas where Google picks up meta-description and from the description that we give, the meta-description tag….
1:50 Ruben Quinones – And that which shows up in search results.
1:53 Avinash Conda – Yeah, when we search for a particular key-tab. And the second one is from the ODP, that’s the open directory project like dmoz. You go there and give description. Google actually picks up that description sometimes.
2:05 And the third one which is from the contents which is actually happening this days like you type in the, if Google thinks it can pick up better description from a content then it can actually pick it up from there
2:17 Ruben Quinones – Now we can’t really impact that right? If we could but directly it’s like….
2:26 Avinash Conda – The simple answer is no we cannot but there are actually few options which Google give us. We can actually ask it not to consider the ODP description. It has a snippet, it has a meta-robots.
2:36 Ruben Quinones – ODP, what does it stand for?
2:38 Avinash Conda – Open Directory Project. We can actually ask Google, tell Google that please do not consider my ODP description and only consider my meta-description.
2:50 Ruben Quinones – And how do that? We go to the webmaster tools or…
2:53 Avinash Conda – No actually there is a small piece of code just a line of code in meta-name equals robots and content equals no ODP it’s a small snippet.
3:05 Ruben Quinones – sounds like a blog post, kind off.
3:06 Avinash Conda – Sure, and then we can also stop Google from picking up random content from our page but this is not advisable because sometime Google picks up some really good description which actually converts more so….
3:21 Ruben Quinones – So Avinash to summarize, you tell me if I am right or wrong, it almost point to the fact that hey you site just has to be relevant to the searches.
3:30 Avinash Conda – Yeah.
3:32 Ruben Quinones – And that’s really why is, you know, its picking up or at least its indexing websites like this to pretty much rule out irrelevant sites?
3:40 Avinash Conda – Well irrelevant again means yeah if the description is way too long Google can pick out whatever they want. If there is no description, no title at all it can pick up if huge sites have same description tag and title tag throughout its site Google can again pick up whatever it want.
4:00 So basically these are the three places which actually Google does it dynamically but then again it can also do to site which are completely optimized just to get better..[Cell phone rings]…
4:14 Ruben Quinones – somebody has a phone call but that’s right we will keep going. Didn’t it happen in opera in New York City than they just stopped the opera? Let me see if I could…….
4:33 So at the end of the day we have to dynamically or we have to discrete confidence rather than what we can describe ourselves. We can’t totally impact it by things, you know it points to how relevant your site has to be; we cannot manipulate it, now could they.
4:47 Avinash Conda – Well than now that Google has also started picking up dynamic titles so we got to be pretty careful with your content, having much relevant content to your website, not having to long title tags, not having the same title tag in two pages. There are few precautions which webmasters can take.
5:07 Ruben Quinones – So we will definitely do more technical SEO stuff and a lot of this much be over people’s head which is fine. I think the idea is to get the conversation started in what to, you know we are looking to optimize the site and you realize that you can only impact it so much.
5:24 Avinash I appreciate you coming on with the jacket. Next time I will wear a one just for you. You have a good morning, good afternoon, good evening whenever you are watching this and I will see you next time. Take Care.