This chart summarizes how major crawler-based search engines create descriptions that they display for web pages. This chart is as of Dec. 5, 2002.
|Search Engine||If Meta||No Meta||Second Description||Other|
|AltaVista|| Meta Tag |
|Snippet||n/a||Paid Custom Tagline can substitute for meta tag|
| AllThe |
| Snippet |
(meta tag used for
| Meta Tag |
| Lycos |
|Meta Tag||Snippet||n/a||If no meta tag, snippet used|
| Meta Tag |
|Snippet||ODP||Use of meta tag expanded in 11/02|
| Inktomi |
| LookSmart |
or Meta Tag
|n/a||Meta Tag always used for paid inclusion URLs|
|Teoma|| Meta Tag |
or Meta Tag + Snippet
|Snippet||n/a||If no text, ODP description used, if appropriate|
|Wisenut|| Snippet |
(meta tag not supported)
For more in-depth coverage of how descriptions are made, please be sure to read the articles below:
Here are some further descriptions about the chart:
The meta description tag is recognized by some search engines as a means for site owners to describe their web pages. See the How Meta Tags Work page for more information about the tag. This column describes whether the content of a meta tag is used for the page's main description or whether is combined with "snippet" content.
Shows what happens if no meta tag is present. Usually, this means that a "snippet" description is created, where the crawler shows text from the web page that contains the search term.
Both Google and AllTheWeb site will show a second description for some pages. This explains where the second description comes from.