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Search for jamaica tourism on Google. You get a search result with the text Jamaica Tourism: 578 Things to Do in Jamaica | TripAdvisor.

Nowhere on the displayed page does the phrase 578 Things to Do appear. Google has chosen to show it in search results even so. It comes from the <title> tag of that page.

Now take a look at results for the Google search for ebay bidding. One of the first results is for a business called Auction Sniper. The search result includes the text Auction Sniper is a free ebay sniper... That text is a misleading trick (Auction Sniper is not a free service) but this time the text comes from description meta tag. Nowhere on the Auction Sniper home page does the phrase "Auction Sniper is a free service" appear.

How does Google decide when to use the title tag and when to use the description meta tag? Both results seem misleading to me, yet they have been stable for quite some time. Is such a apparently misleading technique considered kosher by Google?

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    Google shows the information that it considers is the most related to the search query, it could come from the title, the meta tags, microdata, hidden elements or content of the page. – PatomaS Apr 8 '14 at 5:57
  • ...and maybe from anchor text on links to that page? Maybe from older versions of that page? Regarding the "578 Things to Do" - that text doesn't appear in the page at all for me (not even in the title tag). Maybe different users (from different locations) are seeing different content - quite probable for a site like that. Yes, the "ebay bidding" link is perhaps misleading (I see that text only in the title tag). The page itself is littered with "free trial", so the word "free" is not entirely unrelated. – MrWhite Apr 8 '14 at 14:06
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Google already clarified that they don’t consider content in the Meta content during the SERP result. The short description will allow the users who are running on slow internet connection to go for that web page which seems more relevant to their specific query.

Even if the website is ranking because of their irrelevant Title and Meta description they will soon get disappear from the top result because of the high bounce rate they will attract, and for Google high bounce rate is an indication that something is wrong with that SERP result and will demote that website with other web page that it consider relevant for that query.

If you want to learn about Google guideline regarding SEO, title and meta description then you can also download the free Google webmaster pdf.

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