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SEO, How come some sites can get away with bad descriptions?

seo

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#1 CriticalError

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 08:20 AM

So I was looking at some websites such as w3schools and I was look at the meta description (don't ask why) and I realized they have the same meta description for each and every page I mean how do sites get away with this surely, Google must penalize you for this? w3Schools is always at the top, not criticizing it, it is a great site for people, just wondering why search engines don't penalize..?


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#2 JasonKnight

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 10:20 AM

Actually it's not that great a site... http://www.w3fools.com

Generally speaking the underlying code is almost as bad a train wreck of ineptitude as the content of their site is web rot, misinformation and nube predation.

That said, the purpose of a description meta is NOT SEO, the purpose of a description meta is the text to show beneath your TITLE on your SERP.

Let's use one of my sites as an example:
http://www.ewiusb.com

You look at the source:
<meta
	name="description"
	content="A Resource for those interested in the EWI USB, with reviews of the product, software, and technical information/guides for owners."
/>
You Google it, the site is in second place for the term "ewi usb" right behind Akai's official page. (It would take a lot of marketing to blow past them I don't have the time or care about doing)...

https://www.google.c...opera&q=EWI USB

You basically get this on the SERP:

EWI USB
www.ewiusb.com/‎
A Resource for those interested in the EWI USB, with reviews of the product, software, and technical information/guides for owners.

Notice that my description text is what's shown on the result page. That's what META[description] is FOR. Anything else is 100% manure at best, abuse trying to get yourself slapped down at worst.

While description may be figured into some engines for SEO, that's NOT what it's for as it's NOT actually content. Anything not in BODY unless otherwise explicitly stated (like Keywords) shouldn't have enough weight to matter!

Just as keywords is supposed to be seven or eight words/proper names that exist as CDATA inside your BODY tag totaling less than 128 characters that you want to add just a LITTLE extra weight to. Notice that it's called keyWORDS -- NOT keyphrases, NOT keysentences, but keyWORDS!!! (the only time multiple words would be acceptable is proper names like "Free Pascal" or "Moby **" -- You follow the rules I just said, it still adds a little bit of ranking weight to it -- even when people working at Google says it doesn't work anymore :/ -- but NOBODY follows the rules so everyone assumes it's ignored.

Generally META and anything else in HEAD have only the tiniest bit of effect on ranking -- certainly having far less impact than how long a website has existed or how many backlinks exist to it.

But as I've said many times, you use the tags and their attributes for what they are actually for with semantic markup across the board, around content of value people want and are willing to organically back-link to, SEO comes naturally. Anything else is dime-store hoodoo, five and ten voodoo.

See my total disgust with SEO having been turned into a cottage industry filled with scam artists, predators, and people who don't know enough about HTML or even web technologies to be opening their yaps on the subject.

Edited by JasonKnight, 27 May 2013 - 10:27 AM.

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#3 CriticalError

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 10:49 AM

I used them because Google told me to, once my site actually got good visitors Google did show that under SERP and it did highlight he key-words searched for, so I'd say it has some use. I don't use much keywords, the description is important because most websites like facebook, twitter, g+ will use the description when u post links..


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#4 CodoLogic

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Posted 27 May 2013 - 12:34 PM

<meta
	name="description"
	content="A Resource for those interested in the EWI USB, with reviews of the product, software, and technical information/guides for owners."
/>
You Google it, the site is in second place for the term "ewi usb" right behind Akai's official page. (It would take a lot of marketing to blow past them I don't have the time or care about doing)...

https://www.google.c...opera&q=EWI USB


 

Actually Jason, you'd be right not to care about trying. I and a friend have been working in SEO for over 10 years and most of the companies you compete with at the top are paying search engines to index them first. If not personally, but through commercial advertising on the search engines systems. So it is a pointless struggle from that standpoint. The best type of marketing is not relating to all the jargen they feed you about your "keywords" and "meta tags", although they do help to an extent. But not for getting you top rankings on there seach index! Marketing with search engines is a lost cause because of all the competition online. Search up the results "PC"? Now how many millions of references are in there? Tell me, if you are a new business entering the industry of selling PC, where you will fit in with those numbers? Yea lol..... maybe in ten years time, you'll index somewhere when a couple of thousand other domains give up and drop off the search index because they quit.

 

My two cents, I'm out of euros. ;)


Edited by KeithAiden, 27 May 2013 - 12:35 PM.

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#5 BenW

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 08:24 PM

Meta description isn't used in search engine ranking. So why would it matter? Personally I think it just demonstrates they're not trying to use any sneaky SEO shortcuts. If you have a site dedicated solely to one topic (like most sites), and you decide to put a diff description on every page, my impression is that you're hoping that that will act as some sort of SEO booster.


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#6 CriticalError

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 03:18 AM

Well I know that meta keywords and description won't rank your site, most people just refer to it as a SEO thing, and it's always mentioned on Google Web Master, I think maybe people are missing the point, main question was I thought Google would consider it spam if all meta descriptions were the same, or did not link to the page..??


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#7 BenW

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 05:24 AM

But what's spammy about describing your site in a way that's accurate for the entire site?


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#8 CriticalError

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 08:41 AM

But what's spammy about describing your site in a way that's accurate for the entire site?

 

I am sure I read someone where that the meta tags are like page specific, and over loading them with stuff not connected to the page gets you penalized. 


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#9 CodoLogic

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Posted 29 May 2013 - 01:46 PM

I am sure I read someone where that the meta tags are like page specific, and over loading them with stuff not connected to the page gets you penalized.


That was bull, which was spread by many SEO firms...I don't know why, and search engines dont all penalize you for it. Search engines don't index your sites like they used to back in the 90's; and early 2000+. However, every search engine works differently, and what works on one wont be allowed by another. Besides, tags are not the most important part of promotion, so who really cares?
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#10 JasonKnight

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 07:56 PM

That was bull, which was spread by many SEO firms...I don't know why


I can tell you exactly why: FUD. They use it to spread fear, uncertainty and doubt so as to convince people who don't know any better to use their services. The more things they claim they know how to do, the more suckers they can get to shell out for it.

MOST of your so called SEO 'experts' are masters of marketing, not web technologies. Their rhetoric, lies and outright bunk stemming from the 7 primary propaganda techniques: bandwagon, testimonials, name calling, card stacking, loaded words, plain folk, transfer, and glittering generalities. It's all carefully crafted to prey on the ignorance of the types of folks who think they can get sound technical advice from the pages of Forbes. Which is akin to trying to get sound financial advice from the pages of Popular Electronics.

For at least a decade we've been told "build for the user, not the engine" -- which means even the search engines consider SEO to be bull. Of course, this is the last thing the cottage industry that's sprung up around all the disinformation, misinformation and outright lies wants to hear, since it means all their hoodoo-voodoo is really meaningless drivel.

What little "SEO" should done is an organic and natural part of building a website properly following the rules of the written language you are using and HTML -- using words relevant to your topic, semantically marked up and designed using progressive enhancement so it gracefully degrades, being accessible to as many users as possible. It should then be promoted with natural back-links because people actually like the content.

Anything else is just dumping a can of shellac on a pile, no matter how much you shine and buff, it's still a ** with bug excrement atop it.

Edited by JasonKnight, 02 June 2013 - 07:57 PM.

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#11 BenW

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Posted 03 June 2013 - 01:52 AM

I agree with Jason - most of what you read about SEO is written by SEO companies who would very much like you to buy something from them.  I have yet to find an article about SEO that hasn't been written by someone working for a SEO company who's looking to get you to click through to their own site.

 

If you check out some of the "leading" SEO companies, what they actually offer is fairly lacklustre. I looked at one or two just now and found "360 site analysis" and "24/7 keyword monitoring" listed quite prominently, which basically means they look at your site and check out the most common search terms for it.

 

Guest blogging, directory submission, and link building can be good, but from most SEO companies you'll find they actually mean "spam posting", "spamming", and "spamming". Guest blogging can be useful - if you write the articles yourself. Otherwise, they mail out to a massive list of blogs vaguely related to your niche, and whichever one bites gets an auto-generated post with badly placed links to your site in. Spam filters can detect when this is the case now and I'd bet that these count less and less towards ranking as crawlers get smarter.

 

The various other "optimizations" offered tend to be about keyword placement and so on, and it's true that your page needs relevant keywords on it. However - this is the most important part! - if you've made an entire website about a topic, and not managed to include a single relevant keyword in any of your pages, you need to go to writing school, not SEO school.

 

There is some merit to some aspects of SEO, and some companies who legitimately offer worthwhiel services. But, only to the extent on checking out your site and making sure that the incoming search terms match what you have to offer (and that other search terms that should find your site, do so). Yes, if you fill up your description with unrelated junk, you may find search engines ignore it, but why would you even do that if you have a legitimate site?

 

In short, think of SEO in terms of a content review for your site, and you might find it's worth spending a day on small tweaks. Anything else is unlikely to have much benefit - you might get a boost to your Google ranking temporarily, but it's not gonna last if you've only achieved it through tricks that search engines are constantly working to filter out.

 

PS: due to the nature of search rankings, only one site can ever be at the top for any given search term. Therefore, when you see an SEO expert promising amazing results, be sure to ask them why they aren't the top result for "search engine optimization" (the top result is Wikipedia, of course).


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#12 CriticalError

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Posted 03 June 2013 - 03:36 AM

Majority of my experience for SEO has come from just playing around and research, I mostly follow the Google Webmaster guidelines and they do work, after like 2 months lol, so it's not like an instant "hey let's put u on top". Advertising is key to get rank 1. But I have suppressed some other companies and that's probably because Google found my content new and other content old. At times I can come in at #3 -#6 in SERP. But I'd say this is all down to hard-written content. And I have always realized that my meta description shows under the SERP to :) 


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