Here is how my website appears on Google when I search for "CMIS":

Screenshot of Google result

Screenshot of CmisSync: Menu/etc are the values of alt= attributes that I have written for three images towards the bottom of the page.

This website has not changed for a few years, and has plenty of normal <p> text, including the strings "CMIS" and "CmisSync".


Why would Google show img alts instead of showing the page's normal text?
How can I get Google to display something more understandable?

  • Interesting problem, what were you searching for to get that result? I see your meta description displaying. Did you recently add that?
    – Max
    Jul 14, 2015 at 7:33
  • @Max: I did not thought about this at all! Info added, thanks. Jul 14, 2015 at 7:36
  • Actually, this is extremely simple to understand- you have not given Google much to choose from so it picked what it felt was the best it could for the SERP link and snippet which is rather poor.
    – closetnoc
    Jul 14, 2015 at 16:15

2 Answers 2


Your problem is rather simple to understand.

Your title tag is too short and your description meta-tag is short and rather nondescript. Follow that, your h1 tag matches your title tag and is too short and nondescript. Your first h2 tag is also nondescript. Your first paragraph is also short.

In short, you have not given anything for Google to use for a SERP link and snippet. You are breaking enough of the basic SEO on-page ranking signals that your page will never really rank for much. Google is simply finding whatever it can to use for the SERP link and snippet and you have not provided it much to choose from.

I rather suspect you are may be chasing just a few keywords too. It appears you are only ranking for "CMIS".

You will want to stop the keyword chase. It has been a long standing advice that is largely demoted with semantics. Do not get me wrong, you do want to chose a list of keywords and send signals to Google, however, it is also easy to over optimize your site out of view. The important thing to remember is that search engines need textual content and it is always better to perform naturally instead of artificially through too many manual means. Forget all the keyword density stuff. It is a myth. Just a few uses of important keywords in the proper way can make your site rank well enough. What is also important to know is that you want your content to weigh in search and to have enough content diversity to expand search- not narrow it down.

Remember that search competition is stiff. It takes content to rank.

I am curious about cmissync.org versus cmissync.com where the .com version is optimized slightly better and performs slightly better. Still, cmissync.com is rather weak and can be improved significantly.

I am not sure why there are two websites for the same thing.

Generally speaking, it is better to make one site rank really well instead of dividing your efforts. It can make sense to make more than one website rank for multiple markets, but I am not sure that is what you are trying to do.

In your case, I would remove your .org site and do a blanket 301 redirect to the .com site. You will lose nothing at this point. If that is not what you want to do, then each site has to perform differently to attract a completely different audience.

The best thing I can do to answer your question, is reference some answers to help you rank better. You may want to ignore the titles and the question specifically and just take out of the answers what you need. There is some overlap, but there are gems in each answer so it will pay to read them.

Regarding the title tag:

Title tag different from title appearing in Google?

My title tag doesn't appear to be getting crawled by Google properly

Title in Google does not match <title> of document

Regarding on-page optimization:

Improve Google ranking for general vs. specific keywords

SEO on Single Page Website and Content keywords

Website logo text - best tag for SEO purposes?

Regarding using URL/URI for optimization:

Well structured URLs vs. URLs optimized for SEO

Regarding semantics:

<h1> - Semantic impact vs. SEO impact

Why would a website with keyword stuffing rank higher than one without in google search results?

The last advice I would give you is to never use an image for a header tag. In your case, you are using an image for your h1 tag. This does nothing for you. You can certainly use an image, but not as a header. Your header tags should be text since search engines use this as important signals.

Regarding headers and content blocks:

Headers vs. lists vs. sections vs. articles for SEO

This is more than enough reading to help get you started. If you have specific questions, post it here and I will be glad to answer them.

Good luck!!

  • "you have not given anything for Google to use for a SERP link and snippet": How about the first/second/third/etc paragraphs of the page? Why are they considered nothing? Jul 15, 2015 at 7:28
  • 1
    "stop the keyword chase": What do you mean? The whole page's paragraphs only contain "CMIS" twice, hard to do less. Jul 15, 2015 at 7:30
  • ".org vs. .com": While not an answer to the question above, I appreciate the advice, thanks! :-) And thanks for the h1/img tip too! Jul 15, 2015 at 7:34
  • @NicolasRaoul Keyword chase was not an accusation necessarily out of word count, but that the page only weighs for the one word. I thought perhaps you were chasing only that term. We get a lot of people following SEO bad advice here so we tend to repeat ourselves. ;-) I came across the .com while searching. It is unusual that someone tries to make .com and .org similar but different. I could not see that one would benefit you distinctly unless you were going for another set of market terms. BTW- Your site(s) do have a nice look and feel.
    – closetnoc
    Jul 15, 2015 at 14:17
  • @NicolasRaoul I am not suggesting that your paragraphs are nothing but not enough for Google to grab onto. Remember that Google is a machine (people actually forget that) and it is extremely likely that there are word count boundaries that Google will use to determine whether it even looks to a paragraph for snippet content. Google likes meat on the bones. However, if you do your description meta-tag well, then that will not be a problem. Google likes to get the SERP link from the title tag and the snippet from the description meta-tag first if it can.
    – closetnoc
    Jul 15, 2015 at 14:23

You have just solved your problem. All it took was a description defined in the meta tag like so:

<meta name="description" content="CmisSync: It's like Dropbox for Enterprise Content Management" />

Without one, Google would have had to take a stab at what the perfect description would be based on the important keywords in your webpage.

I was just thinking, you might want to make your description tag as your title tag since its under 65 characters and do an extended version of your text in your description tag. Think of the content in your description tag as the advertising words of your site. This is the info on your people see in SERP's before choosing to click into it.

  • This <meta name="description" tag has always been present, from the first day (a few years ago). It is not something I added recently. Jul 15, 2015 at 4:30

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