No, it's not your imagination. The page summaries at Excite are beginning to make more sense, now that the service has begun supporting the meta description tag. There is no relevancy boost associated with using the tag, but the ability to control how a page is described will come as a great relief to webmasters everywhere -- as well as some users puzzled by the old descriptions that Excite used to generate automatically based on page copy.
Excite had long refused to honor the tags, because webmasters were sometimes misleading in how they described their pages. This type of spamming has now greatly disappeared, so much so that Excite felt that the tags were now of value, according to Kris Carpenter, Excite's director of search services. Now, only Lycos among the major search engines does not support the meta description tag.
The change also affects Excite-run WebCrawler. Pages with description tags listed in Excite and WebCrawler will see their descriptions appear in the coming weeks, as the index is refreshed. Many page descriptions have already been updated.
For pages without tags, Excite will still automatically generate a summary, and it says its description generation software has been improved. The meta keyword tag still is not supported at either Excite or WebCrawler.
How To Use Meta Tags
A recent survey found only about 30 percent of pages use meta tags. Learn why you should be using them, and how to do so, on this article within Search Engine Watch.
Introducing SES Online
Want to view one of the sessions you missed or listen to an especially informative presenter a second time? SES New York sessions are available for purchase on ClickZ Academy's new e-Learning site. SES is now Online!