When a visitor goes to a Google search page, they type in a search phrase in the text box. Google takes the words from this search phrase and compares it to its vast database for the internet. Google then displays an extensive list of pages that contain this search phrase.

When displaying your site in the result list, Google may or may not display the <meta> description that you have set up for that page. It depends on if the words in the search phrase are located in your description. If not, Google will pull content from your web page that does contain these search phrase words.

There is a way to see what description Google has indexed for your web pages without using a search term.

Open up a Google search page and type in the following, of course use your own domain name in place of the domain name shown:

site:mydomainname.com

A screenshot of Google Search resutls

Google will then display a list of all of the pages that are currently indexed for your website. With each of these pages you will see the title of the page, the URL for the page and the description that Google has indexed.

Notice how short this description is. If you have created meta descriptions for your pages, you should note how important it is to make the first part count the most.

SEO experts debate on whether to place the title of the site before or after the page title. It is up to you.

This description that you see here may not be what is shown for the search results for the page depending on the search terms, but it is a wake up call for you to see if your site is being represented the way you wish. These descriptions can be controlled to some extent by entering a relevant description into the Meta Description box for each article and category under the Publishing tab.

You may see that Google indexed something completely whacko that has nothing to do with the content of that page. Or the description shown may not have any relevant key words that would like be in a search phrase entered by the visitor.