hand coded

A page to see how search engines index meta description and keywords - Sept 13, 2010

This is a test page to see how search engines index meta description and meta keywords. I have placed a unique number in both meta tags. The goal is to see if these unique numbers are searchable using google, bing, yahoo or ask.

Update - Sept 24, 11:45am

Google last indexed this page on Sept 20th and the unique numbers in the description and keywords meta tags don't show up in a Google search. Google does not use the keywords meta tag, its there for the bing test.

In addition when I search for this page on Google, the SERP snippet is not using my description meta tag. Google created its own SERP snippet from the first two sentences of this post. As a test to see if meta descriptions will show up in Google's index I'm going to include along with the unique number, the first sentence of this post.

I'm also going to duplicate this page before these changes as Bing, Yahoo (I think that yahoo is now 100% using bing) and Ask have not yet indexed this page.

Update - Oct 06, 10:30am

A Google search with no meta description results

In the test from last month only the unique number was in my meta descriptions tag. I tried several different searches, but Google was not using the unique number in the SERP snippet. Instead Google created a SERP snippet using the first two sentences of this post.

To see if I could get more relevant results, I added the first sentence of this post to my meta descriptions tag. I also kept the unique number.

22135487954321569712168Now, some searches use my complete meta descriptions tag for the SERP snippet. While the unique number now shows in the SERP snippet, it's not searchable. Google says that meta descriptions won't affect your ranking within search results. You can prove this by searching for the unique number, which gives zero results. Google reads your meta descriptions tag, if there is something relevant it uses this instead of making its own SERP snippet.

Conclusion: For Google it appears that crafting meaningful meta descriptions has the potential to help with click-throughs. It's not going to provide Google content that you can search against.

I have added some tests for image file names and the alt tag. I'm curious to see how search engines handle these items. I'll also keep an eye on Bing. Hopefully Bing will index this page soon and I can report on those results.

Update - Jan 28, 2011 02:47pm

bing finally indexed this page! Perodically I have been checking bing to see if this page would ever be indexed. I checked several times in October, once on the 6th, once on the 15th and again on the 22nd. In November I checked on the 1st and the 13th, still no results in bing. I checked once again in December but did not record the day. Today and I checked and and bing last indexed this page on the 25th. So some time between December 2010 and and 01/25/2011 bing finally indexed. Over three months for bing to index, verses 7 days for Google.

Final thoughts: For this test I placed unique numbers in the following places, lets see how Google and bing compare:
1) the title tag.
Google picked up the unique number in the title tag. bing also picked up the unique number.

2) the description tag.
Neither search engine indexes the description tag however crafting meaningful descriptions has importance. Google and bing show the unique number in the SERP even though that number does not exist in the article.

3) the keywords tag.
We have known for awhile that google does not bother with keywords, and in this test bing did not either.

4) the image file name.
Google indexes the image name. I can place the image name's unique number in google and it will find the file. Bing has not yet indexed the file name.

5) the image alt tag.
Google also indexes the image alt tag. Bing has not yet indexed the alt tag.

This is why Google dominates the search market. Google seems to be really good at indexing a lot of site content in a short period of time. Until Bing can get better at indexing quicker people will continue to use Google because this is where you will find the freshest most relevant results.

Note: If someone wants to reference this article thats fine, I only ask that you please don't use my unique numbers in your blog/article.

site icons by [Mark James]