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SEO Test: Google doesn’t care about Keywords in the Meta Description

This is a follow-up on my buddy Dave’s post a few days ago: “Do Keywords in the Meta Description Count as Keywords”

He tossed out a test which checked to see if keywords in the meta description were a good, helpful thing…it turns out, then are not.  Worthless in fact.

Here is what he did – he posted the article and then, as the test, put a made up word in the meta description “skiraluntants” – here it is:

Here is the source of the page where you can see the keyword “skiraluntants” clearly in the meta description.

The site was published and percolated for a few days and was indexed by Google.  We know this because if we search for the page using the “site:” – it will show us it is indexed.

Yup – Google indexed the page – you can see the keywords in the meta description, but check the next picture out…

But now search for the keywords (skiraluntants) – no dice.

Google is indexing your keywords in the meta description? It depends on what the mean is is, is…

Even in Google’s own documentation about Webmaster tools is doesn’t ever say that the description tag will be used for search – they say “This tag provides a short description of the page. In some situations this description is used as a part of the snippet shown in the search results”.

Google clearly states “Even though we sometimes use the description meta tag for the snippets we show, we still don’t use the description meta tag in our ranking.”  Many SEO’s and other “gurus” still insist it is important and “it couldn’t hurt” – but it is just not necessary.

So – it is a fact.  Google does not care about your keywords in the meta description – the only thing they use it for is to show a nice pretty summary for the search to read.  Don’t get me wrong – this is SUPER important for readability, it is just not indexed.

This makes sense – they don’t want to allow human intervention if at all possible.  If Google used the meta description, then we SEO loving humans could “help” describe the page.  By using the meta description for the SERP, then we can at least help the searchers find what they are looking for.


3 Responses to “SEO Test: Google doesn’t care about Keywords in the Meta Description”

  1. On a side note – Matt Cutts tald of the non-use of the meta keywords tag in 2009.


    Posted by tom | August 8, 2012, 9:34 pm
  2. Interesting test which confirms what I guess most people already had suspicions about, thanks for sharing your findings!


    Posted by Melanie | August 23, 2012, 10:41 am
  3. While many in the field have long suspected that the meta description does nothing (directly) to increase the rank of a web page, I’ve encountered a significant number of posts and articles claiming that keywords in the meta description are indexed for relevance.

    Ultimately, however, if all we do is “assume” or “speculate,” we know nothing. When those viewed as “authorities” on the subject of SEO profess their assumptions and speculations, their followers assume these to be facts and propagate them further across the web until these speculations and assumptions become “generally known facts.”

    This was a simple test that anyone could have run. But SEOs are typically either too lazy to run such tests, or prefer to live and work in ignorance, or choose belief over knowledge because belief is much more exciting and mysterious.

    Posted by Dave | August 27, 2012, 2:55 pm

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