Google has added new snippet settings that allow webmasters to control how Google search displays their listings. The settings work either through a set of robots meta tags or an HTML attribute.
New Meta Tags to Settings Snippets
“Nosnippet” – This old option has not changed. It allows webmasters to specify that they do not want any textual snippets shown for the page.
“Max-snippet:[number]” -This new meta tag lets webmasters specify the maximum text length in the number of characters for the snippet of a page.
“Max video preview:[number]” – This meta tag allows webmasters to specify a maximum duration in seconds of an animated video preview.
“Max image preview:[setting]” – This is a new meta tag that allows webmaster specify a maximum size of an image preview to be shown for the images on the page. You can set it to none, standard, or large.
It is possible to combine the meta tags if you want to control both the max length of the text and the video.
Here is an example:
<meta name=”robots” content=”max-snippet:50, max-image-preview:large”>
If you’d rather, you can use these as HTML attributes rather than meta tags. This allows you to prevent that part of an HTML page from being shown within the text snippet on the page.
Here’s an example:
<p><span data-nosnippet>Text</span> additional text….</p>
Other Search Engines
As of right now, Bing and other search engines don’t currently support these new snippet settings. Because they are so new, even to Google, it could be awhile before we see them supported in other search engines, if at all.
Google is Using These as Directives
Google says these are directives the search engine bots will follow, rather than hints that it will consider, but possibly ignore.
Can You Preview the New Snippets?
Unfortunately not. Right now, there isn’t a way to preview how the snippet settings will work in live search. The only thing to do is to implement them and wait for Google to show them. Use the URL inspection tool to speed up crawling, and once Google has crawled your site, you should be able to see the new snippet in the search results.
This will be live in mid-to late October, and will take time to fully roll out. It could take over a week before everyone gets it.
Getting Ready for the Update
Google has provided about a month’s heads up to allow webmasters to implement the changes on our sites now and then see how it impacts the listings in Google results when it goes live.
Keep in mind if you restrict Google from showing certain information, it may impact whether you show up for Featured Snippet results. It may also impact how your search results look. Features require snippets to have a certain minimum number of characters to be displayed and if you opt to show less than that minimum, it may mean your pages do not qualify for the featured snippet position.
Content in structured data is eligible to be displayed as rich results in search. These kinds of results don’t conform to the limits declared in the metal robot settings but rather can be addressed more specifically by limiting or modifying the contents in the structured data itself. For instance, if a recipe is included in structured data, the contents of that structured data may be presented in a recipe carousel in the search results. If an event is marked up with structured data it may be presented as such within the search results. To limit that presentation, a publisher can limit the amount and type of content in the structured data.
Some of the special features on search depend on the availability of preview content so limiting your previews may prevent your content from appearing in these areas. Featured snippets require certain amount of characters to be displayed.
This number can vary by language which is why there is no exact max snippets length Google can provide to ensure appearing in this feature. If you do not want to have content appear as featured snippets, you can experiment with lower Max snippet lengths. Those who want a guaranteed way to opt-out of featured snippets should use “no snippet”
It’s worth noting that you can also use these tags to control what size your images are shown in your AMP results. Publishers who do not want Google to use larger thumbnail images for their AMP pages can you use the settings to specify the max image preview of standard or none.
While these changes will not impact your overall Google web search rankings, it may impact your listing showing up with certain rich results or your site showing up as a featured snippet. However, Google will still crawl index and rank your page has the same way it did before so it will not impact your overall ranking in Google search.
One of the larger request webmasters, site owners, and search engine optimizers have wanted was more control over what Google shows for their listings in the search results. These new settings provide more flexibility in terms of what you do and do not want to show in your search results snippet on Google.