SEO & Web Design Resources for every Website Designer & SEO Worker

Don’t Search Engines display your description meta tag?

What do people see when your site comes up in a page of search engine results? Most of the time, what they’ll see is the description meta tags you’ve created for the page in question.

However, search engines may instead display excerpts from your page which contain the search terms used to find your site – which is useful to searchers in deciding if the content on your site is relevant to what they’re looking for.

If your site is listed in the Open Directory Project’s DMOZ directory, what people will see when your page is listed in search results will come from the description of your site in the DMOZ directory rather than information taken from your pages’ description meta tags. However, you can use the NOODP tag to tell Google, Yahoo and Bing to ignore information from DMOZ by using the following metatag:

<meta name=”robots” content=”noodp” />

Yahoo, however, may display information about your site in their search results which come from their own Yahoo Directory. In this case, you can tell the Yahoo search engine to ignore this directory as well with the NOYDIR meta tag:

<meta name=”robots” content=”noydir” />

You can also set directions for specific search engine bots, as seen below:

  • <meta name=”googlebot” content=”noodp” /> (for Google)
  • <meta name=”slurp” content=”noydir” /> (Yahoo)
  • <meta name=”msnbot” content=”noodp” /> (MSN/Bing)

You can also combine these directions into a single meta tag, like so:

<meta name=”robots” content=”noodp,noydir” />

What do search engines display when your pages are in the results of a search?

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