Google Delivers On Webmasters Wanting To Control Search Result Snippets

I am not sure if you remember, but back in May Danny Sullivan shared screen shots from a Google Ranking Fair where he shared SEO and webmaster concerns. One of those concerns was “Webmasters want more control over sitelinks, titles, snippets, mixing images and text in featured snippets, rich snippets, knowledge panels, opt out of featured snippets and more.” Well, now we got it – Google announced we can control our snippets in more ways than just not showing them.

Google announced last night that it is giving webmasters more control over their search result snippets. You can now not only decide if you want Google to show a snippet or not, but also define the length of the snippet, control how much of a video snippet is shown, and the size of an image to be displayed in the snippet. I covered this in detail at Search Engine Land last night as well.

Here are the new controls:


You can use this as standalone meta tags or combine them, so you can use something like this:

There is also a new data-nosnippet HTML attribute for this that looks like this:

Google has updated its robots.txt docs to add this new support to it.

Sadly there is no way to preview the changes before you make them live, at least not yet said John Mueller of Google:

We currently don’t have a testing tool for these settings, and given the dynamic nature of titles, snippets, & previews in general, I’m not sure that it would be that useful.

— 🍌 John 🍌 (@JohnMu)

Danny Sullivan said this has nothing to do with Google’s needs and this does not impact your rankings. This is just a display thing. You can show more or less of your snippets, but again, this is not a ranking thing.

It’s not about our needs. It’s about letting content owners have granular options that suit what they prefer.

— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan)

But does this really have nothing to do with a need Google has to fill? Marty shared with me a screen shot of a new notification he received today from Google Search Console that discusses snippet controls and French law:

Hey @rustybrick – landing into EU publisher inboxes right now. Imagine @badams is seeing plenty of them.

— Marty Meany [Insert tech event here] (@martinmeany)

These new controls launch mid-to-late October – notice the timing here…

Also, this is only for organic snippets, not for ads:

It applies to any organic snippet.

— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan)

Can you use this to force Google to use your meta description? Technically maybe, maybe someone should test it out when it goes live at the end of October?

If you were to wrap all the content on a web page that way, it would likely increase the chances we’d use a meta description. But it wouldn’t be guaranteed. Possibly — but fairly unlikely — we might not use that. Image cases where we might detect super spammy descriptions.

— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan)

Google will let us know when this is fully live, but for now, you can prepare your pages – if you want to.

In summary:


Forum discussion at Twitter.

Update: I asked Danny Sullivan if the EU thing kind of expedited this release and he just said it is a global release, not specific to the EU:

The snippets options are global for anyone to use regardless of EU press designation.

— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan)

Update 2: Danny said this is unrelated:

The snippets are not related to having to have an EU press designation.

— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan)

This content was originally published here.

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