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Currently, the third result returned when I Google for 'bicycles stack exchange' is ...

Newest 'pannier' Questions - Bicycles - Stack Exchange
Is 'cold emailing' an acceptable way to promote bicycles.se? Does SO take any responsibilty if answers/threads are suicide-wise or dangerous? ...
bicycles.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/pannier - Cached

The text which Google chose to accompany the title (which I italicised above) is not at all good.

The page is here: https://bicycles.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/pannier

The 'cold emailing' and 'suicide' text is being taken from the 'Visit Meta' column on the right hand side.

I don't know why Google selects that text, instead of text taken from question titles like "What does the term pannier really mean? How bag hung?": perhaps because that text is in a relatively bold font?

Anyway, you might want to tweak that somehow for SEO reasons (and I guess this may be a 'bug' against the whole platform: not specific to the bicycle forum).

Screenshot

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I think it's much more important how we show up in a search for something specific. Nobody who is going to read the summary text is going to search for just "bicycles stack exchange" (since that would, at least, be somebody who knows they want a Stack Exchange website)

It looks to me like the Google summary (SEO) is working reasonably well for answer pages, but not /questions/tagged/pannier type pages.

For instance: http://www.google.com/search?q=How+do+I+change+a+road+bike+into+a+commuter+bike

enter image description here

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  • +1 for your first sentence. By the way, google.ca/#q=questions+about+panniers returns the questions/tagged/pannier type page as its 4th result, albeit this time with correct text (Newest 'pannier' Questions - Bicycles - Stack Exchange "This question drew my attention to pannier here. I just thought that panniers are things that hung on bike. The wikipedia def with google gives: A pannier ..." bicycles.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/pannier). I only want to report the bug: someone else can decide whether it's important enough to be worth their trying to fix it. – ChrisW Feb 22 '11 at 0:46
  • "Someone else can decide whether it's important enough to be worth their trying to fix it." -- That's partly because 'bugs live in families': i.e. when someone finds a bug, the developer should look to see if that bug has brothers, parents, cousins ... i.e. it's not necessarily just this one example, it's something to with the interaction between the (generic) page layout and Google. If it does turn out to be only reproduceable for this one query then, yes, probably not a big deal. – ChrisW Feb 22 '11 at 0:55
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    @chris I agree with freiheit; nobody searches for "bicycles stack exchange" because that is not the answer to anyone's question – Jeff Atwood Feb 22 '11 at 7:32
  • Also, this will likely go away as the "suicide" meta question ages and, I assume, won't be featured as much on the sidebars. – Goodbye Stack Exchange Feb 22 '11 at 7:55

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