Just a quick post today, as I should really be getting on with CAM Diploma stuff (just one month left)!
— Paul Davies (@longtimelurker) August 5, 2012
I was curious to know how he found me and wondered if it was via Google. Having previously noticed data in Google Analytics suggesting that people have landed on that post via organic search, I decided to try a few random Google searches to see how/where I was ranking.
When I did a search for [full stop @mention twitter] – for which I’m 3rd as I type this – I noticed something interesting about my result’s META description:
It’s showing a combination of my META description and the blog post’s content, rather than one or the other.
The first part – “Not sure how @mentions work on Twitter or how to use them?” – is the first line of the META description:
(Notice how it’s different afterwards – the next sentence starts: “This quick, simple guide…”)
The second part – “that the @
I imagine it’s being shown because “full stop” is included as part of the search term.
It might be the case that this is old news, but I tried looking into it and couldn’t find any reports of it elsewhere, apart from this forum post from a frustrated webmaster.
Google showing its own choice of META description for a SERP (search engine result page) result is nothing new, but this is probably the first time I’ve seen it show 50% of one thing and 50% of another – rather than just choosing one or the other – simply because it thinks both the META description and body copy each contain parts that are relevant to the search term.
I’m actually happy with Google’s judgment call: it’s probably the best description they could show (even if it does contain dot-dot-dot’s), which is more relevant to the searcher (which is what Google’s all about) while likely encouraging more click-throughs (which is good for me, as I get more traffic)!
Has anyone else seen something similar? Is this a new thing or has it been the case for a while? Has anyone had it happen to them where it’s made the description worse, not better? Answers on a postcard/in a comment/via Twitter please!
[Weighing scale image credit: haven't the slightest]