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I want to customize the text that appears on the SERP for the posts on my WordPress blog. I want to be able to either provide some custom text or modify the fields that appear on the SERP page, for example, remove Date and shorten the description.

Is there a Plugin available to do that?

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3 Answers 3

Let me start off by saying you can't edit or control what Google displays in its SERPs. They control the format as well as what gets displayed and will determine when they should or should not display a listing a certain way.

Having said that you can do your best to influence what they display.

1) AFAIK you can't have the date removed from the SERPs. Google shows that to show how fresh the content is. If you want the date to be more current then keep the content up to date.

2) To affect the description Google shows in their SERPs you can do the following (quoting Google):

The HTML suggestions page in Webmaster Tools lists pages where Google has detected missing or problematic meta descriptions. (To see this page, click Diagnostics in the left-hand menu of the site Dashboard. Then click HTML suggestions.)

Differentiate the descriptions for different pages. Using identical or similar descriptions on every page of a site isn't very helpful when individual pages appear in the web results. In these cases we're less likely to display the boilerplate text. Wherever possible, create descriptions that accurately describe the specific page. Use site-level descriptions on the main home page or other aggregation pages, and use page-level descriptions everywhere else. If you don't have time to create a description for every single page, try to prioritize your content: At the very least, create a description for the critical URLs like your home page and popular pages.

Include clearly tagged facts in the description. The meta description doesn't just have to be in sentence format; it's also a great place to include structured data about the page. For example, news or blog postings can list the author, date of publication, or byline information. This can give potential visitors very relevant information that might not be displayed in the snippet otherwise. Similarly, product pages might have the key bits of information - price, age, manufacturer - scattered throughout a page. A good meta description can bring all this data together. For example, the following meta description provides detailed information about a book.

<meta name="Description" content="Author: A.N. Author, 
Illustrator: P. Picture, Category: Books, Price: $17.99, 
Length: 784 pages">

In this example, information is clearly tagged and separated.

Programmatically generate descriptions. For some sites, like news media sources, generating an accurate and unique description for each page is easy: since each article is hand-written, it takes minimal effort to also add a one-sentence description. For larger database-driven sites, like product aggregators, hand-written descriptions can be impossible. In the latter case, however, programmatic generation of the descriptions can be appropriate and are encouraged. Good descriptions are human-readable and diverse, as we talked about in the first point above. The page-specific data we mentioned in the second point is a good candidate for programmatic generation. Keep in mind that meta descriptions comprised of long strings of keywords don't give users a clear idea of the page's content, and are less likely to be displayed in place of a regular snippet.

Use quality descriptions. Finally, make sure your descriptions are truly descriptive. Because the meta descriptions aren't displayed in the pages the user sees, it's easy to let this content slide. But high-quality descriptions can be displayed in Google's search results, and can go a long way to improving the quality and quantity of your search traffic.

3) If your pages contain certain content (reviews, people, businesses, events) you can use rich snippets to enhance the appearance of the descriptions in the SERPs.

4) If you want Google to show breadcrumbs for your pages use microdata.

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In fact, the plugin I linked does include disabling the date in the snippet. –  Stephan Muller Dec 6 '10 at 15:54

Try Yoast's Wordpress SEO plugin. One of the best out there, it lets you pick default titles and descriptions for posts/pages/categories/etc. but also per individual post. It also has a whole lot of other useful SEO options.

It's currently in development still, most of the features already work very fine but you can expect it to be updated a couple of times still.

Alternatively, you could try Headspace which I used to use before Yoast's plugin was released. Sort of does the same trick but doesn't incorporate the other features Yoast has.

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From my not so vast experience, the fastes way of checking the indexed pages and backlinks for an website is by this free tool at http://domof.com which also returns a seo analisys report downloadable as pdf.

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