Controlling Google Descriptions

Written on July 17, 2006 – 7:24 pm | by Shell Harris |

This is pretty cool. Google is adding support for a new META tag, so that you can tell them NOT to use the description at Open Directory Project (ODP). It’s hard to get old or outdated descriptions updated on ODP. So this is great in those situations.

The way Google descriptions (snippets) are generated that appear under a page in the search results is completely automated. The process uses both the content on a page as well as references to it that appear on other sites.

One source Google uses to generate snippets is the Open Directory Project. Some site owners want to be to able to request not using the ODP for generating snippets, and google has added support for this. All you have to do is add a meta tag to your pages.

To direct all search engines that support the meta tag not to use ODP information for the page’s description, use the following:

<meta name="ROBOTS" content="NOODP">

To direct Google specifically from using this information to describe a page, use the following:

<meta name="GOOGLEBOT" content="NOODP">

For more information, visit the webmaster help center.

Once you add this meta tag to your pages, it may take some time for changes to your snippets to appear. Once Google has recrawled your pages and refreshed our index, you should see updated snippets.

Shell Harris co-founded Big Oak on January 1, 2004. In a previous career he was a print & web designer and often developed the sites he designed before focusing on his current passion for search engine optimization and Internet marketing. He is an avid researcher, SEO specialist, company mouthpiece and is always looking for the next big thing in Internet Marketing.

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