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Google Clarify how Search Results Snippet work

Google has revised its search snippet guidelines to explain how its algorithm decides what to show in the Google search results snippet....

Google has revised its search snippet guidelines to explain how its algorithm decides what to show in the Google search results snippet. This update could significantly impact how meta descriptions are crafted and how content is optimized.

Google Search Results Snippet

When you see a webpage in the search results, it has a title, a breadcrumb, a URL, and a short description called a snippet. It is a summary of what the page is about.

In the past, snippets usually came from the meta description. However, that’s not the case anymore.

Google has updated its Search Central info to explain that the content on a page is the main factor determining the snippet. The changes emphasize that the meta description and structured data are not the primary sources for search snippets.

According to the official update:

“What: We clarified our documentation about snippets, stating that the primary source for the snippet is the content on the page.

Why: The earlier wording wrongly suggested that structured data and the meta description HTML element are the primary sources for snippets.”

Search Results Snippet

What specifically has changed?

Google made significant changes to its documentation, notably reducing content. The earlier version suggested that the snippet was mainly derived from the meta description. It displays on-page text as a possible alternative.

The revised documentation now clearly states that the webpage content is the primary source for the snippet. It uses “may” for the meta description. The changes involve the removal of an entire paragraph, adding new content, and altering the documentation’s message.

The removed section highlighted two ways for site owners to suggest snippet content:

  • Rich results: Adding structured data to enhance Google’s understanding of the page.
  • Meta description tags: Google sometimes uses meta tags for more accurate descriptions.

The new phrasing emphasizes that snippets are primarily created from page content. However, Google might use the meta description HTML element if it provides a more accurate description than the page content.

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Written by Amanat Kaur
SEO Specialist who loves to write about SEO, blogging, and WordPress.
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