Meta Descriptions on Google and Bing

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Meta Descriptions on Google and Bing

Post by SeoflexForum on Tue Oct 18, 2011 3:34 pm

Meta Descriptions on Google and Bing

The use of meta description tags as a method of optimizing a site's placement in search engines has, for the most part, fallen by the wayside. If nothing else, it's not considered nearly as important as it once was in SEO.

Google, by far the world's largest search engine, says it does not take meta descriptions into account in its algorithm at all. Bing, its biggest compeition in the United States, is a bit more ambiguous about its use of meta descriptions as a ranking/relevance signal but it's safe to say that the tag no longer carries the influence it once did. Meta descriptions still play a role in the user experience, but how do search engines treat them? Let's find out.

In order to get an idea of how meta descriptions are treated by Google and Bing, Website Magazine developed a study that looks at various keywords and the results the queries yielded on each search engine. After studying the top ten listings for each keyword on each engine, we crunched the data to see which websites utilized meta descriptions and how those meta descriptions were treated by Google and Bing.

The three keywords searched were "holiday coupons," "Florida golf vacation" and "new Chicago restaurants." We then looked at each site to see if it included a meta description, and then how those descriptions were attended to in the search result description. Exact matches are noted when the content of the meta description is rendered verbatim in the search result description; "partial" matches are when just part of the meta description is included in the search description with other content; and if the content of the meta description does not appear in the search description, it was, obviously, not considered a match at all.



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