Webmasters Can Soon Customize Google Search Snippets of Pages

Written by Dileep Thekkethil

Updated on Jul 29, 2020
Category: SEO News

As per the latest announcements by the Google Webmaster on 16th October 2019, in a few days from now, Google Search will start using new preview markups in search results. It is expected to get fully functional by next week.

The Webmaster also made another tweet stating that from October 24th, 2019, Google will modify how it presents search results for European Press Publications to the people in France.

More About the Updates

Google has been on an update spree this month, introducing quite a bit of change in the way it displays the search results.

After announcing the September 2019 Core Update on Tuesday, Google also made an important announcement regarding search snippet previews in SERPs.

Search snippet has been helping Google users to find a glimpse of the answers relevant to their query in different formats such as text, images, and even videos.

Google on Tuesday announced via its official Webmaster Blog that it wants to give webmaster more power in choosing what to appear in the search preview.

Google has been particular when it comes to deciding what to display in the search result snippet, and the webmasters had little to no say on altering Google’s discretion.

The search engine giant picked up relevant search snippets based on the intent of the search query and the type of the device used for Googling.

However, this is going to change starting mid-October as Google has confirmed the introduction multiple robots meta tags and HTML attributes to control what content is to be displayed in Google search snippet.

Customizing Search Snippet Previews using Robots Meta Tags

Webmasters can now customize the search snippet preview buy using these robots meta tag on HTML pages. The same can be implemented through an x-robots tag in the HTTP header.

  1. “nosnippet” – This was part of the robots tag but was seldom used by the webmasters. This attribute specifies Google not to show any textual snippets for a page.
  2. New – “max-snippet:[number]” – Specify a maximum text-length, in characters, of a snippet for your page.
  3. New – “max-video-preview:[number]” – Specify a maximum duration in seconds of an animated video preview.
  4. New – “max-image-preview:[setting]” – Specify a maximum size of image preview to be shown for images on this page, using either “none”, “standard”, or “large”.

Restrict Google From Creating Search Snippet from Restricted Part of Your Page

In addition to the three new robots tags, Google has also introduced “data-nosnippet” HTML attribute, which gives more control for webmasters to decide which part of the page must feature in the search preview.

Adding “data-nosnippet” HTML attribute on the span, div, and section elements can prevent specific part of the webpage from appearing on the search snippet. This feature comes handy for websites that work on a subscription basis as these sites don’t want to reveal more details to the public.

Here is how to use “data-nosnippet” attribute:

<p><span data-nosnippet>Harry Houdini</span> is undoubtedly the most famous magician ever to live.</p>

According to Google, if a user is typing the query “the most famous magician ever”, the attribute used above will restrict the name “Harry Houdini” from getting displayed in the search snippets. 

Yoast SEO Will Enable All Snippet Features

Yoast has been a go-to plugin for SEOs who optimize wordpress websites. Since wordpress is one of the most used CMS platforms in the world, Yoast has been helping webmasters to keep their sites up and ready for Googlebot to crawl and index. 

Last week saw Google making a slew of announcements and one such announcement was the introduction of a new set of meta robots tags. The new meta robots tags gives more control to the webmasters over the results that appear on Google search snippet preview. 

According to the latest announcement from Yoast, the upcoming version of the popular plugin will support all the search snippet features and the users will be by default able to use all the snippet features. 

Why You Should Care?

According to the announcement made  by Google on September 24th, starting October, webmasters can limit the content that appears as search snippets by using a meta robots and html attributions. 

The new announcement from Google was part of it’s complying to the European Copyright Directive by France, that wanted Google and other search engines to pay for using the content in the search results. Google has categorially stated that they won’t pay publishers in France instead they have the snippets presented in Google results to either block it or choose whatever little they want to show. 

Yoast SEO users will be opted in automatically to all snippet features by default, WordPress plugin developer announced Thursday. The update containing this change, version 12.2, was released on October 1.

 “Because this potentially affects so many countries, we’ve decided to make a change for all Yoast SEO users,” the Yoast announcement reads. “We realize that this means that we’re opting you in to all of these snippet features in Yoast SEO. I think it’s fair to say that if you use Yoast SEO to optimize your search results, we can assume that that’s what you want.”

European Press Publisher FAQ

Q. What is the effect of the new European Copyright Law?

Ans. Due to the changes in copyright law in France, Google Search will not display text snippets or image thumbnails for European press publications in France, unless any website has voluntarily implemented meta tags to permit search previews.

Q. Which publishers are affected by the new European Copyright Law?

Ans. Google has included those websites associated with European Journalistic Association and are part of Google News. Google has not included sites that are not primarily journalistic like sports, education and other such websites. However, this doesn’t limit websites from including them to opt-out themselves from showing up in the featured snippets.

Q. How do I know if my website is affected? 

Ans. Google will tell you whether your website is affected due to European Copyright Law with a special status in the Google Search Console.

 

About Dileep Thekkethil

Dileep Thekkethil, a Journalism Postgraduate, was formerly with a US-based online magazine, is the SEO Expert at Stan Ventures. A He is a frequent blogger who keeps a tab on the latest updates in SEO and technology arena. Reach me @ Mail | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook or View all posts by Dileep

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2 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Hi Dileep, Thanks for letting me know this information and tips on google search snippets. I would like to learn more things from your blog. Please keep sharing more articles in this way.

    Reply
  2. Avatar

    I get so much more for free from the INK for ALL applications. Advanced Yoast features just really are not worth the expense!

    Reply

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