A few days ago Google let it be known that Googlebot would now be obeying the new option for the robots meta tag telling them not to use your DMOZ description (should you have one) in their search results. Site owners have been complaining for quite some time that those DMOZ descriptions really don’t describe their pages the way they want and cringe anytime one of the search engines uses it over the meta description they themselves have added to their pages.
While it’s great that Google is obeying the new option, let’s give some credit where credit’s due. MSN introduced the option a couple of months ago and I applaud them for listening to webmasters. The DMOZ description isn’t a new complaint and Google has had plenty of time to implement an option like this. MSN is the one that did though so let’s make sure to give them the credit.
If you’re not familiar with the new meta tag option here it is:
<meta name=”ROBOTS” content=”NOODP”></meta>
Using robots in the name will in theory let all search engines know you don’t want them using the DMOZ description. Of course that only means MSN and Google at the moment. Yahoo uses the descriptions from their own directory and not from the DMOZ. Something tells me we wont be seeing a NOYAHOO option anytime soon.
If for some reason you only want one of the search engines to obey the NOODP option you can replace ROBOTS with msnbot or googlebot. I’m not sure why you’d only want to target one of them though.
It is good to see both MSN and Google actually listening to webmasters. I know they need to keep a lot of things secret from us, but not all webmasters are intent on manipulating results. Well maybe we all would a little, but many webmasters do have some pretty good ideas about search and how their sites should be represented. It’s really a wonder the DMOZ descriptions were ever used.