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My company has a website www.geminicatamarans.com.

All their websites and their site servers are messy, this one's no exception. They have it set up currently with the index page "redirecting" with JS (window.location.href) to a WP site in a subdirectory (which used to take even longer because there was an ASP.NET form runat server directive in there...... it's an Apache server......), but then their old website (Joomla) is still accessible in a different subdirectory (looks better too but oh well, our so-called programmer has been working on a new website for them for ... 6 whole months now, it's not even complicated, nor is there any content management).

So I've been checking around in all these places and still can't find the meta-description that shows up in Google for just that domain itself. It's inaccurate and needs to be changed, but I don't know where it's even coming from, so I don't know if I'll be able to override it... Should adding the meta-description to the index page do the trick? I did that but it should take a couple days anyway to show up... I am just so confused about where this description is being pulled from.

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Last Post by PixelatedKarma
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Google is infamous for coming up with their own description in the search results, and tweaking it on-the-fly based on what's being searched for. It isn't necessarily taken from your site's meta tags.

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Looking at your website I think it has to do with the Google cache and the way you've done your redirects. I assume this is the description you want:
"Take 30 years of innovation in catamaran design, 40 years of the finest, most advanced research and development in American yacht manufacturing, passion, customer feedback, and craftsmanship, and the result is stunning: Introducing the Gemini Legacy 35."

Doing a site:geminicatamarans.com search on Google I see that this is the description that is showing up for me:
"Manufactures the Gemini 105Mc Cruising Catamaran and the Telstar 28 Trimaran. Includes company history, forums, and specifications."

Now please correct me if I am wrong, but was this your old site description? If it was then what has appeared to have happened is that Google crawled your website before you guys redirected, they cached the site as it was including the description. Now that you have put in the redirect it is still showing the cached description because the page that was supposed to be there hasn't technically been updated to show the new description (isn't accessible by the crawlers) to give it the proper updated description, instead you have redirected the crawlers so they are now caching the new page but they aren't linking both as the same pages in the SERPs if that makes sense.

I'd be interesting to see your google webmaster account to see if you are getting any crawl errors. I can think of four possible solutions, all of which are on paper technically viable and could possibly work:
1) Create a dummy page in php which sits in your main public_html directory. Force your main page's site description onto that page (thus you don't need to worry about having to change it every time the description is updated in WP/Joomla/whatever CMS you are using) and redirect from there using a header redirect. This might just be able to feed SE crawlers the updated description meta tag while still accomplishing your website redirect until your new page is done.

2) Dump the JS redirect in favor of .htaccess redirects as described in Google's best practices. Give it some time and hopefully that might correct the issue. Depending on how often your website is crawled and how old your website is might really depend on how long it takes for this to update.

3) The less favorable approach and probably your last resort if this absolutely needs to be done before your website re-launch; you may want to consider removing www.geminicatamarans.com from the google cache then re-submitting the main page to google via sitemap submit and/or the Google reconsideration request. Going this route may effect your statistics like mozRank and a few others because they do use some google stuff as a metric. So it could either greatly help you or put you a bit behind on your SEO tasks.

4) Get your new website finished up and properly plan out how you are going to implement the website. By putting that new website in the public_html directory your new index page will update your meta description.

My largest concern right now with reading your post is that you said you are re-launching the website. I'm not sure about your project details, requirements, or who you've hired and it really is none of my business but we are all here to help anyway we can. So I would like to caution you in how you implement this new site into the mix because it should be done in a very structured sort of way to avoid losing any link juice from the existing pages. I would definitely have your web developer familarize themselves with Google Best Practices before going live but thats just food for thought. Google these days seem to favor lots of little renovations to websites not full on changes (not saying that a full website re-design doesn't work its just more of a gamble when it comes to maintaining and/or improving your SE rankings). Also try to avoid JS redirects, yes you can use them but they aren't really ideal for what you are trying to accomplish here from what I can see.

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if u dont put a meta description google makes one up using your most relavant content from your website.
add the meta description and use google webmaster to make google to index the meta description faster

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Well the description that comes up for the site sounds more like their old site, but that is in a different subfolder and has its own separate description that's different than the one that shows up for just the domain itself. The index page that now shows "Take 30 years of innovation in catamaran design, 40 years of the finest, most advanced research and development in American yacht manufacturing, passion, customer feedback, and craftsmanship, and the result is stunning: Introducing the Gemini Legacy 35." in the source's meta-description had none previously, I only just added that when I made this post, so now I'm just waiting to see if it changes in the next few days or whatever.

It'd be very interesting if Google made it up... like Dani suggested as a possibility... I mean I know the descriptions aren't necessarily taken from the meta tags but usually you can tell when it's just Google's extraction, it's usually a quote from the content on the page. I didn't think Google was THAT smart as to have come up with "Manufactures the Gemini 105Mc Cruising Catamaran and the Telstar 28 Trimaran. Includes company history, forums, and specifications."

I don't even think we have a Google Webmaster account for that site, I wanted to check but didn't see it in our site list in GW... guess I should add it... except we do have a Google Verification file on the server, so wouldn't that mean there is one somewhere? I'll have to dig in and check. No one here really wants to know except me lol. Like I know JS redirects aren't the way to do it; like you said, if redirecting, use PHP header redirect, or in our case where the main site resides in a subdirectory just use htaccess. Nobody cares about standards here I promise you. Any time I bring anything up I get like harassed.

The "programmer" is not a web developer AT ALL. He knows next to nothing about the web. They have been sorely mislead all this time and they don't want to listen to anything or anyone else anyway... The new site is to be in ASP.NET, on their main server, a different one (Windows), it won't be on the same apache server. AND, the whole site is redirected from the main domain again, and lives 2 subdirectories deep. This isn't masked in the URL. Everything is in and at site.com/folder/folder2/. Ridiculous, I know. Not worth mentioning that it's the wrong way to do it. I'll get in trouble. They like doing things the wrong way. It's such a challenge. I can't really go around fixing everything or just anything that I could or would...

So if this new meta description I put on the index page doesn't show up in results this week I guess I can just keep trying things to override whatever that mystery one is by way of your practical suggestions, PK. They'll have to allow it because that description needs to be changed.

Thanks for all your input.

Edited by cilla

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No problem and I feel your pain. For us its pretty bittersweet because its generally companies like yours which keep diving down this path of hard to correct mistakes before they need to hire in a third party to make it right. By that time they are generally so frustrated because they've thrown every ounce of SEO away that they could have utilized to come back from the ropes swinging that they dont want to wait the 6-12 months to get back to where they should be. Anyways if you do need any more assistance, come back to the forums and the community around here is here to help the best we can. Hopefully things come together for you and the best of luck in your Company's endevour!

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Well, I don't know why you are not finding the meta description but I can easily locate it over your site source code which states "Take 30 years of innovation in catamaran design, 40 years of the finest, most advanced research and development in American yacht manufacturing, passion, customer feedback, and craftsmanship, and the result is stunning: Introducing the Gemini Legacy 35." Try looking more closely.

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