Google Updates Documentation About Meta Descriptions To Control Snippets In Search Results.

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Google updates documentation about Meta Descriptions to Control snippets

Google updates documentation about how to write meta descriptions to control the snippets in search results with examples of both good and bad meta descriptions.

Google suggests how to create high-quality meta descriptions that appear in search results, adding examples of best and worst practices.

These changes happen in the documentation to control the snippets in the search results.

What Is A Snippet?

A snippet is a description or summary of a search result on Google Search and other properties (like Google News). Google uses several different sources to automatically determine the appropriate snippet, including descriptive information in the meta description tag for each page. Google may also use the information found on the page or create rich results based on the markup and content of a page.
what is a snippet

Although Google doesn’t create manual snippets for individual sites, you can improve the quality of the snippet shown for your page by following best practices for creating quality meta descriptions.

How Does Google Create Snippets?

Google automatically generates snippets from the page content and is designed to highlight and visualize the content most related to the user-specific search. It means that Google Search may show different snippets for different searches.

Site owners have two options for suggesting content for the Google snippets:

Rich Results: Add structured data to your website to help Google understand the page: For example, a Review, recipe, business, or event.

Meta Description: Google sometimes uses the meta tag content to generate snippets when Google believes the snippet provides a more accurate description to the user than can be obtained directly from the page content.

Meta Description In Search Snippet

As we discussed, Google sometimes uses meta description tag of a page to generate a snippet in search results if Google believes it will provide users with a more accurate description than the page content itself. Meta description tags typically inform and interest users with a short, relevant summary about a particular page.

There is no such limit in meta description length, but the snippet will adjust as needed in Google search results, usually to the device width.

Meta description generated from the page content is known as a ransom note because it sometimes looks like random snippets containing keywords.

Good And Bad Meta Descriptions Examples

Google lists four categories of good and bad examples of meta descriptions.

Better Meta Description Examples

Here is the list of the four Good ways to create meta descriptions:

1- Describe The Business, Not the webpage.

The first meta description example refers to a physical store that uses a meta description describing what is on sale, business location, and hours of operation. It is interesting because it is not a description of what is on the webpage; it is a description of the shop. Primarily, it is information that business users want to know.

good meta description example 1

2- Use Webpage Content

The second example of a good meta description comes from a news article that uses a snippet from the article itself. That is also interesting. If your CMS has a feature that extracts the first 70 or so words of the top section, it means that it is crucial to summarize what the article is about in the first sentence.

Good Meta Description Example 2

3- Summarize

In the third best example of meta description, Google says summarizing an entire web page is the best way to approach meta descriptions. It is probably the gist of what Google expects from meta descriptions.

Good Meta Description Example 3

4- Be Specific And Detailed

The final example is the meta description for a product page. The recommendation for this situation is to focus on the specific details of the product put on sale on the product page.

Good Meta Description Example 4

Bad Meta Description Examples

Below are the four Bad ways to write meta description:

1- List Of Keywords

Google cites the meta description, which is just a list of keywords, describes the meta description that contains the keywords and does not bother summarizing anything.

Bad Meta Description Example 1

2- Same Description Used For Every News Article

The second example is using the same meta descriptions for every news article on a website as a template. Using the same meta description for multiple news articles is not recommended by Google.

Bad Meta Description Example 2

3- Doesn’t Summarize The Page

The third example is not summarizing the meta description. It is common practice to write meta descriptions that focus on a key phrase or topic and forget to conclude the page.

Bad Meta Description Example 3

4- Too Short Meta Description

The fourth and final example is the too short meta description. It is somewhat similar to not summarizing the page and using a random short line as a meta description of the page.

Bad Meta Description Example 4

Best Practices To Create Meta Descriptions

In the document, Google suggests best practices to create high-quality meta descriptions that can present as snippets in search results.

Write Unique Descriptions For Individual Pages

Identical or similar descriptions on all website pages are not helpful when individual pages appear in search results. If possible, create a meta description that accurately describes each page. Use site-level descriptions on the main home page or other summary pages, and use page-level meta descriptions elsewhere.

Include Relevant Information In The Description Of The Content

Meta descriptions do not have to be sentence-only; This is also a great place to enter information about the site. For example, news or blog posts can include the author, publication date, or attribution information. It can provide potential visitors with highly relevant information that might not appear in the snippet.

Programmatically Generated Descriptions

Programmatically generating descriptions may be appropriate and recommended for dynamic websites. Good meta descriptions are easy to read and varied. Page-specific data is a good candidate for programmatic creation and snippets.

Use Quality Description

Always write descriptive descriptions as they can show up in Google search results and go a long way in increasing the quality and quantity of your search traffic.


Source: Google Search Central Documentation

Featured image: Wayhomestudio/FreePik

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