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Often when I'm googling something, the description in the results page lists something extremely relevant to my search, but of course is just a cut off summary.

When I use the link to go to that page, that information often doesn't exist there anymore. Sometimes I can visit the "cached version" and it is there, but often it's a result that says basically the search terms were only on pages that pointed to this page.

Is there any way to get Google to give me the actual page it got it's description from?

migrated from superuser.com Jan 14 '17 at 9:16

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    Googles search algorithm isn't public, and the behavior your describe is a function of their search algorithm – Ramhound Jan 14 '17 at 3:45
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    What "descriptions" are being referred to? I only get verbatim snippets from the cited webpages in my Google search results? – kreemoweet Jan 14 '17 at 7:37
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Looking at my own site and having configured the SEO, I can say that the search descriptions displayed on Google come from one of two places:

  1. The written description configured by the person who made the site
  2. A snippet of text on the site from the last index

The most likely reason for the description text to be wrong is that Google is using a snippet from the site, but the page has changed since Google has last indexed it. This is especially true on blog homepages where it is updated on a daily basis, but Google indexes only every couple of months.

Another option is that the author put up a 301 request and redirected the page to a new page. The old description and link still float around Google, but will actually lead to a completely different page which may or may not be correct.

The last option is that the page simply no longer exists. When this happens, Google will still try to resolve the request if it can find a similar page or it might go one page up (example.com/about/staff can go to example.com/about)

Basically, if the content is changing faster than Google is indexing it you can get a wrong result, especially if there were major changes.

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According to this support page on Google Webmasters, the descriptions are algorithmically generated from content on the page, meta tags, and descriptions from third-party sources.

We use a number of different sources for this information, including descriptive information in the title and meta tags for each page. We may also use publicly available information—for instance, anchor text or listings from the Open Directory Project (DMOZ)—or create rich snippets based on markup on the page.

The page's audience is webmasters who want to control how their site appears in Google search results, so there's a lot of technical information there about what Google takes into account.

  • Note that DMOZ is shutting down on March 14, 2017, so this information is out of date. – ale Mar 10 '17 at 16:49

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