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We all know that Google is a strange monster. You can very carefully craft a page that has content that users will find interesting. You can work your search engine optimization skills to the bone developing good page titles and well-placed keywords. You may even go the extra step and write your own meta titles and descriptions for each page. Yet Google will take it upon themselves to create a completely new title and description if it doesn’t like what you have written.

In most cases, if you have carefully crafted your meta title and description, then Google will use it. There are a lot of websites around where every page has the same meta title and description – or none at all. When you check the snippet used in search results for these pages, you will often find that what Google has decided to use makes little sense – at least, not to the human mind.

The answer is simple. While there are no guarantees, Google will use your meta data if it has been well written and matches the search phrases used. What constitutes well written titles and descriptions? Not the overuse of keywords, that’s for sure.

There is a simple formula you can use to craft this meta data.

  1. Write a good title that is designed to catch the reader’s eyes.
  2. Write content that satisfies that title – whatever you do, don’t promise something with a title then fail to fulfill that promise.
  3. Write a description that really does sum up or describe your content.

If you wish to optimize the title, content, or description for keywords, go ahead. However, if you overdo the use of those keywords, you create two potential problems. The first is the raising of the spam flag because of overuse of keywords. The second is more important, and to an extent, answers the reason why your meta title and description are not used in search results.

Using precise keywords in meta titles and descriptions limits the scope of that title and description. With Google using semantic technology, you don’t have to stuff keywords in every conceivable place. If the content is semantically related to a keyword – and the best place to use it is in the title – then an open and accurate description should appear in a much wider set of search results. It’s something to think about!

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