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While investigating the search engine ranking for www.gurock.com, I noticed that Google doesn’t index our site in an optimal way. If you look at all the indexed pages of our site on Google, you will notice that a lot of pages have the same description. The description contains a part of the Meta description tag, the tag description of our logo and the links on the right side of our logo.

This is problematic in several ways. On the one hand, people who see a page of our site on Google when searching for some keywords will hesitate to click it. Most people are used to scan over the search results very quickly and do not click any site that doesn’t contain what they are trying to find. Many do this to avoid spam sites that are polluting the search engine results lately. This means that we will receive less search engine traffic which is an important part of getting people on a site.

Google search results

On the other hand, seeing such page descriptions leads to another conclusion. If Google shows such a description, it must think that this is the important part of the page. Google might determine the important words of the description which influences the ranking of the pages. As a bad search engine ranking can mean losing customers, I decided to look into this. Fortunately, I think I found the root of the problem.
Google search results

Google needs a way to find the content on a page. When you look at our site, you will see a header with logo and links, a menu on the left site, the content, toolboxes and a footer on the bottom. For a search engine like Google, it can be really challenging to find the content of a page. So how does Google try to determine what the real content is? Well, there are multiple ways to find the content. But one important part of it is looking at the HTML tags. There are certain HTML tags, especially semantic tags like H1 and P that Google uses to decide where the content starts.

I made the mistake of using the P tag for the menu on the right side of the logo. This tells Google that there is the first bit of content of the page. Google then tries to find additional information around the content and even uses the tag description of our logo.

To fix the description of our pages on Google, I removed the P tag. We will see how fast/if Google changes the description and how this affects our site ranking. I’m positive that this should improve our site ranking in the coming weeks. So, when you are redesigning your website, always remember that every tag counts!

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