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I am using ahref.com and they are identifying critical duplicate content issues with my titles and meta descriptions.

They say the critical warning is because the content in my meta description and og:description is the same.

It seems strange to me that these should be different, as it's the same information just structured to target a different audience.

Is there any validity to their claim that this is a critical issue? I haven't found anything on Google that says this is good or bad practice.

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No it is not bad.

There are lot's of articles where marketing guys tells about the meta description and SEO, but in reality Google does not use them most of the time. They use them just for snippet, and it is neglect most of the time, when user query is not matched with your any of meta description.

All of the top rated websites like support.google.com use auto generator meta description, because author should not waste their time into it, since most of the time it is neglect on serp result.

Og description is used for social media websites like Facebook,Twitter and Google plus, it is not related to any other thing. Search engine ignore them but social media don't ignore them, so it is really great to write eye caching description to grab more CTR from social media websites. But for search engine, it is just unnecessary tag like other meta tags we used to verify our websites for third party websites, like search console or any ad network

  • Actually, the description meta-tag is part of the blended search result queries that are then processed by the various SERP filters. Google does use the description meta-tag for search and will match against the description meta-tag. However, there are rules on how this works that is vastly different from all other algorithms making it's use more conditional. A properly crafted description meta-tag will show in the SERPs far more times than not. It is all search query dependent and highly dependent upon the sites creators ability to research search queries for their site. – closetnoc Aug 19 '16 at 19:42
  • Personally I click many of websites in serp which I know they are using auto meta description, but most of the time I don't see their meta description as snippet. In my own website I have write meta description, which was ignore most of the time, when I search same phare query which users typing when they come to my website. It only display when the phrase is match. – Goyllo Aug 19 '16 at 19:46
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    Yes... and highly dependent upon the sites creators ability to research search queries for their site. Think less in phrases and more in the way of terms. Phrases are more costly in terms of space and effectiveness in this regard. – closetnoc Aug 19 '16 at 19:55
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Your Meta Description should really contain the same content as any part of your description in the page. One would argue that having different descriptions could be subject to "fool the reader" into clicking on your website (e.g. click bait)

Entering your own Meta Description is great, on the off-chance a search engine would crawl the wrong part of the page when it auto-generates the meta description. But generally, I will put in the first 160 characters of the page description in the Meta Description.

If you want to play it safe, you could always use a middle or end part of your description as your Meta Description.

If we're talking about same Meta Description/Page Description for multiple pages on the website, then that isn't good practice. Because if someone was to run a query in a search engine, then the search engine would not know which page to serve thus ranking the wrong page or none at all.

Yoast has a good post on Meta Description Practices here: https://yoast.com/meta-descriptions/

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I am at a disadvantage in that I cannot see what ahrefs.com is reporting and what tool is used against what site or page.

Be that as it may. All of these tools MUST be taken with salt. Some with a dump-truck of salt. Some with a caravan.

Your question is in regard to the description meta-tag and og:description and the fact that ahrefs.com is reporting that these should not be the same.

I am not a social media expert and cannot comment on how og:description effects the various social media outlets except to say that it appears that Google+ uses it in some fashion. There may be a reason for Facebook that the description meta-tag and og:description should not match. However, that does not seem to be the question here.

Google does not use og:description at all nor can I see any recent or ancient mutterings in that regard. I did do a fairly quick search to see of og:description may be picked up for the SERP snippet under any circumstance that I am unaware of and I cannot find one.

From a search engines perspective, it does not matter one whit whether the description meta-tag and og:description match or do not match. And that makes sense. The og:description is not content. Of course, neither is the description meta-tag, however, the description meta-tag along with the title tag has a long standing tradition of great value in search. So much so, that these tags alone often yield better results than searches against content. It all goes back to the original research paper published by Brin and Page back in 1997/8. Both tags are strong significant clues in the search game and not likely to be replaced easily.

Where the description meta-tag is replaced in the SERP snippet is when the search query matches a content segment and that match is a strong match. This of course presumes a weak match against the description meta-tag. Given that header tags are not matched in SERP snippets gives a strong clue that the og:description would not be either. Plain and simple folks. The only two things on a page that is used for SERP snippets is the description meta-tag or content that is not a header and very likely within a paragraph tag.

It is extremely likely the reason why search engines do not pay attention to og:description is low adoption. Low adoption signals unreliability for any data element. We have seen this with the author tag which failed miserably. If and when adoption increases, then this may change, though I doubt it.

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