Rank Math is messing up Meta Description

  • Hi Rank Math Staff,

    wanted to say thanks for creating such a great plugin. I’m using it constantly on all my sites to improve my posts and pages in terms of SEO.

    I recently encountered a problem with a lot of articles where the meta description that google used was not the same as defined in the General tab. This problem was really severe because sometimes google was using my footer as a description for my main site and other article descriptions consisted of a list of my sites’ menu (i.e Home – About Us – …).

    This not only killed my CTR and overall SEO performance but also slowed down the indexing process cause google was not really understanding what the articles were about.

    I browsed through the latest topics here on this support forum to see if others had smilar problems and indeed – a few people had the same issue. All solutions were the same and did not really solve the cause so I researched the issue a bit to understand where it’s coming from.

    The analyzed html data of all these affected articles showed that there are different meta description values for the :og (social media) property and the usual description value. It looked like this:

    <meta property=”og:description” content=”Right excerpt that contains the first 160 words of the article”>

    <meta name=”description” content=”Another excerpt somewhere from the article that includes the keyword”>

    From testing out a bit I realized that no matter what I put into the meta description field: (i.e %excerpt% or %seo_description%) the outcome will be the same. I think that this is confusing google because it now has different meta descriptions and is now it’s not happy about it.

    RankMath had a neat update regarding this description feature. It is recommended to have the keyword in the first sentence so there has been some kind of auto-description functionality implemented that’s generating an excerpt by searching where the keyword turns up first in the article.

    While this feature was quite handy it’s also messing up a few things that are not changeable.
    In case I have a site that is named for example 10heavens.com but in the description I’d like to write something like “The best reviews for bible products….” the feature will override this meta description and put in what it finds first that’s named 10heavens.com …this would be the footer in this case with a remark to the copyright.

    I have exactly these problems where my descriptions are being overriden by this feature and causing problems with google indexation and display. (Yes I tested the latest cached state in google and it’s 2 days old).

    So could you please check into this issue and either deactivate this auto keyword-targeting description functionality in RankMath for the next update or tell us another way on how to solve the issue?

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  • Thanks for getting in touch with us.

    1. First of all, I am assuming that you have already changed the SEO Meta Title and Meta Description with the help of Rank Math:

    Add a Meta Description in Classic Editor: https://i.rankmath.com/dhECkg
    Add title and description in Gutenberg: https://i.rankmath.com/ZO21Cd

    2. Then, ensure that this is the setting in the Schema tab if Rich Snippets are enabled on your website:
    https://i.rankmath.com/pG0pcS

    To reiterate, the Schema title must show %seo_title% and the description should show %seo_description% – this will ensure your SEO title and SEO Description that you set up via Rank Math can also be used for your schema details:

    3. The next step is to check if your title/description is properly set up in the page source:
    https://i.rankmath.com/HwXR1o

    You can use this tool for the same as well: https://www.heymeta.com/

    4. If it matches your settings, then you must check if Google has seen the changes already or not.

    For that, please check when the Google cache was updated for that page:
    a. https://i.rankmath.com/9q6X0H
    b. https://i.rankmath.com/R8N0Uh

    If the cache date is from before adding the new meta description, then you just have to wait for Google to re-crawl and re-index the page with the new info. If the date is after you made the changes,then you just have to wait it out and there is no further input needed from your end.

    Do note that if everything’s fine and Google still decides to show a different meta title/description for your search keyword, there is nothing you can do as Google sometimes ignores the custom meta info altogether and show something from the page’s content that matches the search intent better.

    Here are some of the common reasons Google might not use the meta description you provided:
    – The meta description is not relevant or useful (ie, just a collection of keywords).
    – The exact same meta description is provided across a large number of pages.
    – The meta description doesn’t match what the user is searching for, but other content on the page does.

    There is a whole article dedicated to this on SearchEngineJournal:
    https://www.searchenginejournal.com/google-offers-suggestions-for-avoiding-meta-description-rewrites/359884/

    Here is an example showing Google changes title depending on keyword used:
    https://i.rankmath.com/oT6VQe
    &
    https://i.rankmath.com/Mrhb0x

    The best you can do is optimize your meta tags to try and match the intent of the search/keyword.

    Hope that helps. If you have any further question(s), please let us know. Thank you.

Viewing 1 replies (of 1 total)

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