Google Explains Why it Rewrites Meta Descriptions

In a Webmaster Central hangout, a writer requested Google’s John Mueller why their meta description was being rewritten. Mueller’s reply supplied a peek into how Google’s algorithm chooses when to rewrite meta descriptions.

The query was particularly a couple of meta description on the house web page being rewritten on the Google search outcomes pages (SERPs) for branded search queries. The writer used the instance of utilizing the modifier “UK” with the model identify.

There aren’t any specifics talked about within the query so there is no such thing as a method to handle the writer’s subject immediately.

But as a result of Mueller’s reply is basic, it supplied a solution that gave some perception into why Google rewrites meta descriptions.

Here’s the query

“We have a difficulty with the meta description that’s being displayed for hour residence web page.

So, despite the fact that we’ve got a meta description that’s being applied on that specific web page, by some means in Google when our web site seems, the meta description is totally totally different.

And in some instances, if we seek for our firm identify plus the phrase “UK,” the meta description is unnecessary in any respect. It’s only a bunch of phrases put collectively from varied components of the web page.

I do know typically Google goes looking for varied issues on the web page if it can’t discover related content material for that specific area.

So I suppose my query is, as a result of we’ve got a whole lot of site visitors that’s developing from branded searches… it is necessary for us to have the proper meta description exhibiting up.”

What can we do to rectify the state of affairs?”



John Mueller Explains What Causes Meta Description Rewrites

Before answering why Google rewrites meta descriptions, John Mueller said he hasn’t seen the publishers particular search end result and couldn’t reply why it was particularly occurring for a question he hasn’t seen.

“It’s hard to say without looking at the search results. So that’s kind of the one part.”

Then he supplied explanations of what causes Google to rewrite meta descriptions.

First he states that you need to have a meta key phrase:

“Usually what occurs is we have to have the outline meta tag on the web page. That’s sort of step one.

It feels like you have already got that arrange.”

Reason 1: Poor Use of Meta Description

Now the reason of what triggers Google’s algorithm to rewrite the meta description tag:

“The different factor there may be that we’d like to have the ability to, I suppose, belief the meta description on the web page in order that it appears to be like sort of cheap.

In explicit, typically once we see a bunch of key phrases which might be simply sort of collected within the meta description.

Then that’s one thing that our programs may take a look at and say nicely, this doesn’t look that helpful for customers.

So they’ll attempt to rewrite one thing else.”



Mueller is saying that one of many the explanation why the meta description could also be rewritten is as a result of it’s centered extra on key phrases and fewer on what the web page is about.

But extra importantly, what makes that meta description a goal for rewriting is that he stated that it “doesn’t look that useful for users.”

Related: search engine optimization Best Practices: How to Create Awesome Meta Descriptions

Reason 2: Content and Query Matching Can Trigger Meta Description Rewrite

That “less useful” half, within the context of the above writer, is relative to the search question. T

he writer stated that branded queries with the “UK modifier had been being rewritten.

That “UK” search question modifier could also be what’s inflicting Google to rewrite the meta description.

If the online web page itself isn’t particularly sending UK associated content material alerts then Google may select to switch the meta description.

Adding modifiers to go looking queries may cause Google to rewrite the meta descriptions (and title tags too). This is very going to occur when the key phrase modifiers (like UK or Home Page) don’t exist within the written content material of the web page.

Related: 6 Mistakes to Avoid When Writing Your Meta Descriptions

Example of Query and Content Matching Causing Meta Description Rewrite

Compare the search question “Walmart” to the question, “Walmart Home Page” and you will notice that the search question “Walmart Home Page” has a rewritten meta description.

example of google rewriting meta descriptionThis is a screenshot of an instance of a meta description rewrite by Google. It’s a comparability of two search queries, with one question inflicting Google to rewrite the meta description tag.

Google is making an attempt to indicate a related meta description for the time period Walmart Home Page. But the phrases “Home Page” don’t exist on the Walmart residence web page.

But these phrases do exist on the yellow star icon that has this alt tag: “Icon for spark” and if you happen to hover over the Walmart and “spark icon” emblem, the phrases, “Walmart Homepage” present up in an alt tag tooltip.

So what’s occurring is that Google’s algorithm is making an attempt to make the meta description related for the search question, “Walmart Home Page.”

The algorithm is making an attempt to do this by rewriting the meta description. But as you may see above within the case of the search question Walmart Home Page, Google isn’t doing that so nicely.



John Mueller confirms what I wrote above:

“And most of the time when it tries to rewrite something, it’s based on the content on the page itself.”

What occurred within the Walmart Home Page search question that precipitated Google to rewrite the meta description is that the phrases Home Page or Homepage don’t exist anyplace on the Walmart residence web page apart from within the alt tag for the house web page button.

So Google grabbed some alt tag textual content related to the Walmart Home button, chosen the flawed alt tag, and displayed the phrase, “Icon for spark” within the rewritten meta description.

Reason three: Search Query Influences Meta Description Rewrite

As I illustrated above, and John Mueller will say under, the meta description rewriting depends upon the search question. And I’d broaden that to say that it depends upon the search question and the content material on the net web page.

Here’s what Mueller stated:

“And the opposite factor… you seen, is the outline can differ relying on the question that’s used.

So the very first thing that I’d do is simply take the traditional branded question that you just use and double test that the outline that you just present within the meta description is definitely fairly helpful and never too… spammy or overdone.

And then go from there, primarily, to determine… is that this one thing the place Google all the time will get it flawed?

Or is it one thing the place typically Google’s algorithms choose up one thing else on the web page and get it flawed?”



Related: Google on How it Handles Extra Meta Descriptions and Title Tags

Google Meta Description Rewriting Explained

John Mueller gave a terrific rationalization of the explanation why Google rewrites search queries.

I do know some individuals are going to react and say that Google’s rewriting is unfair. But it’s not arbitrary.

This article has described particular conditions that trigger Google’s algorithm to rewrite meta description tags.

Google’s algorithm rewrites meta descriptions primarily based on the connection between the search question and the online web page content material.

So if in case you have a difficulty with Google rewriting the meta tags, take a better take a look at how the search question pertains to the on-page content material.

Watch Google’s Webmaster Central right here:

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