Hi Jill,

I have recently dropped off the face of Google for all my main keyword phrases. I was in the top 10 before Google changed my description snippet for my homepage. They have changed it from the description tag to the snippet the dmoz directory created for my web site when they listed me. I'm so confused and feel so defeated!!! My traffic stats have fallen and not one sale for a week and counting. :(

If you have any suggestions or information for me - please let me know at your earliest convenience. Thanks!



Jill's Response

Hi Donna,

Google often uses the DMOZ description in the search results, which very much stinks because it's usually not one the site owner would prefer. My hope is that they will abandon this practice at some point because it really devalues a Google listing.

That said, I don't think that the description change actually affects rankings at Google. More likely, you are seeing the effects of Google's recent algorithm change (some may know of this as "Jagger").

If you're extremely unhappy with the DMOZ description showing in Google, you could request to have DMOZ remove your listing all together. They may or may not remove it, but all you can do is ask.

As an aside and similar to the DMOZ description problem, a listing in the Yahoo directory usually means that your directory title will supercede your site's carefully crafted title tag in the natural Yahoo results. This also stinks because most Yahoo directory titles are not very descriptive and people may be less apt to click through when they encounter them. To combat this, when any of my clients' sites come up for review in the Y! Directory, I recommend that they no longer renew them. Not appearing in the directory hasn't hurt their rankings or traffic in the least. Instead, they save $299 a year, plus they get the title that they want; it's a win-win situation all around!


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January 12, 2006

CEO and founder of High Rankings®, Jill Whalen has been performing search engine optimization since 1995 and is the host of the free High Rankings Advisor search engine marketing newsletter, author of "The Nitty-gritty of Writing for the Search Engines" and founder/administrator of the popular High Rankings Search Engine Optimization Forum. In 2006, Jill co-founded SEMNE, a local search engine marketing networking organization for people and companies in New England.

High Rankings is an internationally recognized search engine optimization firm located in Framingham, MA specializing in search engine optimization, SEO consultations, in-house training, site audit reports, search marketing seminars and workshops. High Rankings has a 100% success rate for substantially improving client rankings and targeted traffic.

Jill speaks at national and international conferences and has been writing about SEO and search marketing since 2000. She's been quoted in such publications as The Wall Street Journal, U.S. News & World Report and The Washington Post. Her articles have appeared in numerous print magazines and online websites including CIO Magazine, CMS Focus, The Internet Marketing Report, ClickZ, WorkZ, Inc.com, Entrepreneur, Lycos Small Business, WebProNews, SiteProNews and others. Jill has also appeared on many online and offline radio programs such as Entrepreneur Magazine's E-Biz Radio Show, SearchEngineRadio and the eMarketing Talkshow.

Search Engine Guide > Jill Whalen > Dropped off the Face of Google