Google. What are you doing to me, baby? I do what you want. I try so hard to make you happy. I just wanna be loved in return.
This week I noticed that Google is pulling up some weird stuff in the metadescription field. Natalie, what’s a metadescription field? you ask. Check out all the yellow arrows:
A metadescription is the brief description of your website that appears in the browser when your site shows up in search.
You have the option to write whatever you want as a metadescription, but we encourage people to write a description that accurately represents whatever it is that you do, make, sell, write, promote, or whatever it is that your website is designed to do.
Check out the metadescription for Commerce Kitchen’s homepage.
Check out what we’ve written in the code, then look at the image of the metadescription in the first image above.
That’s right. They’re not the same. Why? WHY, GOOGLE, WHY? Why would Google not pull the well-crafted metadescription that we’ve written, and instead grab some bits of content from one of our pages?
After some research I’ve discovered that the metadescription (and even the title tag!) that Google pulls (invents!) varies according to the search terms used to find your site.
In that first example above, I searched for “Commerce Kitchen Denver.” So, Google searched for content on our site that had all of those terms in it, and pulled that up as the metadescription rather than the metadescription we wrote.
At first I was angry [insert image of Natalie shaking her fist and stomping her feet], but then I realized that this is actually really good feedback to have. Denver isn’t mentioned anywhere in our metadescription! If people are going to be searching for us with that keyword, then I need to put it in the description.
Here is another example of how the metadescription of your site changes according to search terms. When I search for “SEO Denver” this comes up for Commerce Kitchen (note, even the title tag is different):
Now let me be frank for a moment. We are totally against keyword stuffing in any capacity. So even if the Google-bots respond to it (I don’t even know if they would), I would not advise you to awkwardly cram every keyword you want to get hit for into your metadescription field.
Instead, make sure the content on your site is well written and clear, and hopefully when Google pulls a metadescription that you didn’t write, then they’ll still pull something that looks good to people who may come to your site.