Meta descriptions and page titles, the bits that make up the All Mighty Search Snippet, have often been abused and misused in order to potentially “trick” search engines into higher ranking. However, once Google announced in 2009 that the search snippet wasn’t that big of a deal, it became dead real estate, no longer of interest to a lot of business owners.
Google, as powerful as the company is, is in a constant state of learning and change. They keep a vigilant watch to make sure no one games the system. As such, they continually alter their algorithm to make sure that only the best content and websites remain worthy of search.
Now, Google’s once again changed up the game, making the meta description over 200 characters. That’s a lot of real estate to use – but will it remain dead? Are hand-crafted search snippets a thing of the past?
What Is a Search Snippet?
First, what’s a search snippet? A snippet is a small description—a web page excerpt—, and refers to the description portion of a listing for Google search. It precedes the URL and a cached link. This is what you want people to find when they glance down the page of a search query. Of course, results will vary depending on what people search for.
The content marketers or business owners create for their snippet is important. At a glance, people will make a decision if the site is worth examining further when reading the snippet. Marketers conduct research to determine the best information for their snippet. This allows for an examination of the following question.
Are Hand-Written Snippets a Thing of the Past?
Not at all. As long as violins exist, there will always be a craftsperson to create them by hand. In much the same manner, Google is always on a mission to make sure that as many processes remain organic as possible. Once upon a time, people used content-spinning software to create Web content. It may have worked for some, but it did little to ease the minds of Web visitors looking for proof of a website’s authority. Google also dinged websites with less-than-relevant content.
As Google’s algorithm became smarter, it gained the ability to rank authoritative content through such things as semantic indexing. This helps determine how relevant content is to a topic or website page. Google’s algorithm also takes into consideration how long people remain on a Web page, what people are willing to share, and how many inbound links a web page commands. Of course, there are other indicators. The safe route is to focus on content and snippets that are relevant.
Site owners may decide to cut corners and let software determine what their snippets will convey, but the end results remain the same. The best and most effective content might always be organically written. Allowing the search engine to simply access site information and create a snippet may place your results at the mercy of the search engine.
With More Space – Write Differently
With longer snippets, some sites will end up further down in SERPs. So, you’re going to have to write content a little bit differently than in the past. The goal, more than ever before, is to write content that will inspire people to click. So, include as much relevant information as possible. Google just may decide to rank your site higher in search results, and you want to be ready with marketable page titles and meta descriptions that increase click-through.
SEO Requires Time and Attention
Snippets and optimizing for search all fall under the hat of SEO. Your goal as a website owner, or marketer, is to make sure consumers find your products or services and, ultimately, reach a decision to buy. Always stay on top of the latest digital marketing trends and accepted practices.
Some businesses employ an in-house staff. If your business doesn’t have an in-house team, it makes sense to reach out to digital marketing professionals who practice SEO for a living. Keep pushing the limit. There is a reward at the end of the journey.