Why does Google rewrite Meta Descriptions?

It’s not uncommon for Google to generate a meta description to display in place of the one provided by a web page.

The most likely reasons why this would occur:

  • The meta description is not relevant or useful (ie, just a collection of keywords).
  • The exact same meta description is provided across a large number of pages.
  • The meta description doesn’t match what the user is searching for, but other content on the page does.

In general, Google rewrites meta descriptions to better help users understand why a particular page is relevant to what they searched for.

Sometimes it’s out of the site owner’s hands altogether.

There’s no way of getting Google to use the meta description you provide 100% of the time.

But there are things you can do to have Google display your intended meta description more often than not.

Getting Google to Use Your Meta Description

Mueller says there’s a high chance of Google using your provided meta descriptions if they meet these criteria:

  • Unique meta descriptions are written for each page.
  • They’re short enough to fit in a search results snippet.
  • They match what users would generally be looking for when going to that specific page.

Keep in mind that, even if the above criteria are met, Google may still decide to display a different meta description, for example, a person enters a particularly obscure query.

If the answer to that query matches a specific snippet of text from your web page, then Google will probably override your meta description with that snippet of text.

And the Google Hangout that these guidelines are discussed in:

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