Snippets greatly enhance the experience of Google users by giving them a quick overview of the content published on your website. With snippets, people do not need to open a page to see if it contains the answer to their question, they can preview the snippet first. Snippets save time in today’s dynamic world, where everyone needs to solve important issues on the go.
Until now, Google created snippets automatically, making it impossible for companies to customize their websites’ representation in search. They were only allowed to opt out of the snippet feature if they did not like the preview they were given.
However, times are changing. Google has recently developed advanced robots meta tags and an attribute for HTML markup to give companies better control over their snippets. Be sure to leverage these new tools to create a more appealing look for your brand.
This article will introduce you to Google’s updates and provide easy instructions for making the most of them.
Robots Metatags for Snippet Optimization
The robots metatag can be added to the HTML markup of individual pages to define their indexing and display settings. For instance, if you addin thesection of a particular page, the clause will prevent most search engines from showing it to users.In the same way, you can insert the following tags instead of “noindex” to manipulate your snippets:
- The “nosnippet” clause has been in use for some time. It signals that you do not want a short extract to be shown for some page.
- The “max-snippet:[number]” clause can be used to limit the volume of extracts displayed in search. Indicate an upper word count in characters in square brackets, instead of “number”.
- As in the previous case, the “max-video-preview:[number]” clause can be used to reduce the length of your content, namely, animated previews. Indicate the upper value in seconds in square brackets, instead of “number”.
- Use the “max-image-preview:[setting]” clause to indicate the max size of pictures in your snippets. You can insert three options (“none” if you want no image in a snippet, “standard” if you want to display a medium size, or “large” if you want a rich and notable image) in square brackets, instead of “setting”.
Options 2, 3, and 4 are brand-new. Also, all of them can be added to the x-robots-tag HTTP header.
More good news is that customization clauses can be used in conjunction with one another. Let’s say you want to set a maximum size for both text and image in your preview. Instead of adding two similar lines to HTML, you can merge two settings into the following code:
<meta name=”robots” content=”max-snippet:45, max-image-preview:standard”>
These new clauses will become available to the global audience in mid or late October, 2019. It may take an additional week for them to be fully adopted throughout the world.
HTML Attribute for Hiding Selected Content
The brand-new “data-nosnippet” attribute is a great solution for webmasters who want to prevent a certain segment of page content from being included in a snippet, instead of depriving the entire page of a brief presentation. You can add this attribute next to “span”, “div”, or “section” in the HTML. Example:
<p><span data-nosnippet>Paul McCartney</span> is the richest British musician.</p>
Having stumbled upon your snippet, web users will not instantly get the answer to the question of who is the richest British musician. They will have to visit your website to satisfy their interest, which increases your chances of turning a random passerby into an active customer.
Influence of the Update on Google Rich Snippets and Featured Snippets
Rich snippets are extensions beneath basic snippets that contain additional data about the page: the company’s address, contacts, products, promotions, rating, etc. Part of this extended information is managed in structured data. If you want to optimize it, go directly to structured data and add the necessary clauses. There is no point in trying to manipulate such content via a new attribute or tag.
If you want your featured snippets to appear in search, the text length should be sufficient to answer users’ questions or provide definitions for requested keywords. You can prohibit their display by indicating low word counts in the “max-snippet” tag. We cannot recommend an ideal volume, since it varies for different languages. You can try different word counts to derive an effective formula.
However, if you do not want to spend your time on this, the easiest way to hide a featured snippet in Google is to use the “nosnippet” clause.
The AMP Format provides interesting opportunities for visualizing your search results with large thumbnails, making them appealing and bright, and attracting more visitors to your website. However, you have the right to opt out of these large visuals. To do so, set the “standard” or “none” option in a “max-image-preview” tag.
To fill in the blanks, here are the answers to some common questions related to the October update.
Hints or Directives?
In contrast to some of Google’s other new attributes (“sponsored” and “ugc”) and the updated “nofollow” attribute, clauses for snippet optimization will be perceived by search as directives rather than hints. Therefore, your expectations regarding the display or non-display of your previews will be respected 100%.
Do Mobile and Desktop Settings Differ?
No. You can use the same tags throughout all your platforms. Whatever devices users apply to access Google, your snippets will have a uniform look.
Will These Clauses Influence Rankings?
No. These new tools influence only the visual, but in no way the technical side of your online representation. You have the opportunity to make your search results more appealing and well-structured. But the new clauses cannot be used to push them higher in search.
Why Should You Optimize Your Snippets?
If you wonder what all the hype is about, and why digital marketers are paying close attention to the October update, here are some arguments in favor of optimizing your snippets:
- An impressive online image. Reviews, high ratings and stars signal that your online platform is reputable and worth a web users’ time. Rich snippets allow you to stand out from your competition and create the image of market leader, not just an ordinary faceless firm.
- Results that drive clicks. The main goal of your search results is to attract the maximum number of potential clients to your website. Optimized snippets can be very helpful here. Statistics show that users are more inclined to visit a website if they see a rich preview.
- Accurate results. You can tailor your online representation to users’ expectations.
We hope this article proves useful and helps you create high-end snippets that will drive higher traffic and conversions for your business.