Fixing Duplicate Meta Descriptions: A Case Study

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Duplicate Meta Description reported by Google webmaster affects the SEO performance of the website.

I have picked up a recent case study of a website, in which three different types of scenarios are encountered while fixing the duplicate content issues. This blog will explain the scenarios and shed light on what to do in this regard.

Duplicate meta description reported by Google Webmaster


Duplicate Type 1:

'Default Description' inserted!

‘Page Description’ automatically inserted from CMS (Magento here)!


‘Default Description’ inserted! WHY?


Now the question is: what does it mean by ‘Default Description’?

When we look at the source code of any of those pages, we find the following code in its source file:

meta description content at source file

meta description content at source file


Now, how did it happen? When we investigated the Magento Admin panel, we see empty of null value at meta description field:

The problem is" Blank or Empty Meta Description!

The problem is” Blank or Empty Meta Description!


Duplicate Type 2:

Page meta description is different than Google’s record (Google’s own record and Webmaster’s record are same for the meta description of that page)

When we checked the meta description, we find the following for one of the page which is different than what is reported from Webmaster (duplicate content information):

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 10.36.33

Meta description is product-specific, however Google picked a different meta description for that page!


This unknown meta descriptions are sometimes taken from the body content of that page. However, in this particular case, we didn’t find any instance of that text.

We can verify that Google-picked meta description by following way:

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 10.40.54


When we investigated the issue, we came across that the meta description was existed for that long ago (and later it was changed)- and Google has not yet updated its value in its database. So we have to wait for a while to reflect the changes, if the change was made recently. Otherwise, we need to change again the meta description to see how Google likes the new meta description by updating its value.


Duplicate Type 3:

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 10.46.18

Their meta description are different and product specific, however the Webmaster’s reported meta descriptions are different than the Google’s meta description record for those 2 pages!!!


3.1 Page’s meta description:

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 10.49.30

Page’s meta description (from source code)

3.2 Google’s record of meta description for that particular page:

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 10.51.22

Google’s record of meta description

3.3 Google Webmaster’s record of meta description for that particular page:

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 10.46.18

Google Webmaster’s record of meta description

Now the question is: why 3.2 and 3.3 results are different?

Probably Google webmaster has not yet updated its record yet by reading Google’s record! With time, the problem may be fixed in webmaster.

Next question is: why 3.1 is different than 3.2?

If the page’s meta description has been changed lately, we need to wait for a while to see how Google starts to like the new meta data by changing its value (from its own record, which can be reflected by site: operation)

If however, the changes in Google’s record does not happen after a while, we may need to change the meta description.






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