When web site’s pages are showing up in the search engine results, what do people normally see?
Often what people see is the content of the page title and the description tag displayed underneath the search results.
Search engines want web masters to submit and tag the web pages with Meta data so they can better understand the content and context of them. Most of the times if those parameters are set correctly search engines will display exactly your input, but on occasions the results are showing something different. Why is that happening?
Following Matt Cutts blog, on occasions, if someone types a query into the search engine, Google may pick descriptions from the open directory project (DMOZ) as the page title and meta description for your organic listing. You can force the search engine to ignore the DMOZ information by including a robots meta tag like this:
<meta name=”robots” content=”noodp” />.
This NOODP tag allows you to avoid using the open directory project title and description and is fully supported by Google, Yahoo!, and Bing.
The main benefit of using this Meta tag is if you find yourself in a situation, where you have a DMOZ listing that is not accurate or updated, it is possible for your site to drop down in rank results, for specific keywords that are present in your specified page title and Meta descriptions.
The same thing happens when using Yahoo! and the search engine displays your Yahoo! Directory page title and meta description. The NOYDIR Meta tag is specifically used to prevent that to take place. You can force it to ignore the directory information by including a robots meta tag like this:
<meta name=”robots” content=”noydir” />.
So to recap if you are having these sorts of problems it is perfectly reasonable to specify instructions for each individual crawling robot, such as indicated below:
- If you only have the problem with Google, you can use this: <meta name=”googlebot” content=”noodp” />
- If you only have the problem with MSN, you can use this: <meta name=”msnbot” content=”noodp” />.
- If you only have the problem with Yahoo!, you can use this: <meta name=”slurp” content=”noydir” />.
Or use a single robots meta tag with multiple attributes separated by commas like this:
<meta name=”robots” content=”noodp,noydir” />
The whole point of meta data is to add another dimension for your content to communicate its meaning, with this communication being useful to someone. Be aware that, once you add any of the above Meta tags to your pages, it may take some time for changes to your snippets to appear.
 Currently, in UK only Yahoo!’s spider, Slurp, uses the Yahoo! Directory.