I was looking at the google search results for my Googility web site and noticed that the descriptions shown underneath the title often contained text from my navigation links instead of content from the body of the page:
I did some searching and found the Google Webmaster blog post about description meta tags. Since almost all of the pages on Googility are generated by fewer than a dozen Django templates I edited the templates and inserted meta tags and filled the description in with data from each database entry. This avoids boilerplate information that would be ignored by Google and improves the descriptions shown to Google searchers. Some of my pages have already been reindexed:
Yahoo and some other search sites use a class robots-nocontent on any page elements it should ignore for it's index, Unfortunately, Google doesn't follow this standard. So I might end up making that edit to the templates also. Looking at my site's log files it appears the Yahoo spider is hitting my site more frequently than Google's and the Yahoo index is more up to date. Looking at my analytics reports though Google refers far more readers to my site than Yahoo...
I also noticed that the ads served on pages containing mostly links appeared to be using words in my navigation or other boilerplate instead of the few lines of valuable content. More searching to the rescue and I found this Google Adsense article on section targeting. Once again editing the dozen or so templates I used were easy to edit to add in these HTML comment tags. Checking back a couple days later showed improvements in the ads being generated for those pages. I keep an eye on my Adsense click rate and see if there is any increase in ad clicks.
So a couple simple edits made noticeable improvements not bad for a couple hours investigation and implementation.