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I recently removed all the meta description tags from my website and uploaded the files to my host company's FTP server. However, Google search results still show the old meta tags even though the site was indexed after I uploaded it.

The cache is showing a time stamp after I had removed the meta tag from the index.html file so I don't know why the old meta tags are still present. I'm starting to think that the old meta tag is still somewhere in my code but I have no idea where.

I'm really confused and frustrated and could use some help. I'm also pretty new to SEO and HTML.

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5 Answers 5

up vote 1 down vote accepted

I recently removed all the meta description tags

How "recently"? It can take some time before changes are reflected in the SERPs.

...the site was indexed after I uploaded it.

I think you mean the site was crawled after you updated it. Being crawled and indexed (when your pages actually appear in the SERPs) are two different things.

...The cache is showing a time stamp after I had removed the meta tag

And if you view the source of the cached page are the meta tags removed? To be honest, I would expect the cache to closely reflect the index status of the document - however, maybe there is a delay? Crawl, cache, index...?

You can try the Remove outdated content tool for when "the page's snippet (the short description of the page in search results) or the cached version of the page is out of date". Reference: Remove outdated content from Google (Help Docs).

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Sorry for the confusion with the terms. Just sent in the remove outdated content request. I'm pretty sure it's not my code that's the problem. Yahoo and Bing just updated the description with the proper meta tags.(but from what i understand google has it's own method in picking content for descriptions grrrrrr) –  Ben Holland Aug 3 at 2:46
    
Google updated the result after I added a longer meta description :) –  Ben Holland Aug 3 at 5:44
    
"Google has its own method..." - Yes, Google doesn't necessarily use the META description in the SERPs if it thinks another section of text is more relevant to what the user has searched for. However, in your case, Google appeared to be using an outdated META description which I assume did not appear elsewhere on the page? Anyway, glad you got it sorted. Just curious, how long was your META description before/after? Do you have much on-page text? –  w3d Aug 3 at 8:38
    
Very little on-page text. The original meta tag i was trying to push through was "Prototype/Production Assembly Solutions" –  Ben Holland Aug 5 at 13:12
    
After was a couple sentences long –  Ben Holland Aug 5 at 13:13

Google often uses the description meta-tag for the snippet in the SERPs but that is not guaranteed though can be often counted on. If you are using a description meta-tag and are not pleased by what you see in the SERPs then simply change the description meta-tag.

However, if the description meta-tag is empty or missing, you are leaving it up to Google to pick some part of your content for the snippet, you may not like what they select. Having deleted the description meta-tag, it is quite possible that the snippet may not change for a short period while Google selects a new one. There is a specific algorithm for this that may, repeat, MAY not be event triggered but scheduled. This is simply because it is not normal that the description meta-tag (and title tag) is insufficient (in this case gone). It is likely that the h1 tag will be selected if it passes muster. Otherwise it will be the beginning of the first significant paragraph or a snippet that closely matches the title tag in keyword importance or even the search query.

You just may have to wait for a bit- that is if you are sure that the last fetch was after your change to the description meta-tag. Otherwise, you will have to wait till the page is fetched again.

On a side note, the description meta-tag really only effects the snippet in the SERPs and carries virtually no weight on SEO.

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Keep in mind Google needs to crawl it a couple time's before Google shows the updated results. As Dan mentioned - you can speed it up by forcing Google to crawl the page (but it's impossible to say just how much that helps). Be patient - not a huge deal.

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Do you have a DMOZ entry? I recently had the same problem where Google was pulling what I thought was the old meta description. After much hair pulling I found out there was an old DMOZ entry for the site and Google was using the meta description from the DMOZ description.

If you ever have this issue. you can use the following meta tag to tell search engines not to use the Dmoz entry as the description:

<meta name="robots" content="NOODP">

This goes between the <head><head/> section of the pages source code.

More info: http://www.metatags.info/meta_name_googlebot

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Meta tags are considered one of the least effective (possibly not all all effective) forms of on-site SEO. Don't worry about it. Focus on building content and links.

Regarding your code, there is no way for us to help without seeing all of your code.

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so theres no way to change what google it placing on the search page. As it is now is not acceptable, I would even be okay with having no description if thats possible. –  Ben Holland Aug 1 at 4:17
    
I think you're talking about the description, correct? If so, see this: support.google.com/webmasters/answer/35624?hl=en –  Paul Dessert Aug 1 at 4:21
    
@BenHolland If the meta description tags are in the source code of cached pages, then Google must have indexed it before you removed them. If they don't find a suitable meta description however, they'll extract one from the content of the page. If you want to change that, then add a meta description as covered in the link above, and then use the Fetch as Google tool in Webmaster Tools to request that it recrawls your pages. Then you'll need to wait for them to update it as covered here. –  dan Aug 1 at 4:27

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