With Google evolving, on what seems like a daily basis, it becomes more focused on efficiency and user satisfaction. One area that Google is optimizing is where they get the meta description tag (snippet) from when showing your website in their search results.
Where Does Google Get The Description Tag From?
What is the meta description tag – a definition. The description tag is the short snippet that is shown under your search result within Google’s Search results.
Many times websites owners don’t understand where Google gets the description tag from. They can’t understand why the snippet they wrote is not showing up, or why different search terms produce different description tags for the same page – leading them to ask themselves, “Why won’t Google use my META Description?”.
Below you will find the 3 primary tactics Google uses to create your meta description tag.
The Description Tag You Write
The first being the meta description tag that is in the header of the code. This will show up most of the time if the keyword being searched for is in that tag. This makes it important, that when defining your description tags, you put the primary keyword target of each page first in the description tag. So how to write meta description? Below is an example of a structure for the content.
Meta Description Example: [Primary Keyword]: Conversational sentence that includes the secondary keyword targets and a CTA.
The Description Tag They Extract Based On Search Query
The second way Google builds the description tag is generating it based on the search term. Google reads through the on-page content to find the keyword a user searched for, and pieces together the keyword, and a word or two on either side of it, and uses this mash-up as the description tag in the search results. You can tell when this technique is used because most of the time the description tag does not read fluently, and looks like random sentences pieced together.
Google has become better at this technique and usually takes a large portion of the sentence they are going to use, so that it does not look too pieced together.
The third way that Google generates a description tag, which is used least out of the 3, is from entries for the specific page in DMOZ or the Yahoo Directory. This is why it is important to keep your directory entry up to date, just in case it needs to be used.