Google’s new snippet settings give webmasters control over their search listings display

Google’s new snippet settings give webmasters control over their search listings display

Google has released new snippet settings to allow webmasters to control how Google search displays your listings, the company announced on the Google webmaster blog These settings work either through a set of robots meta tags and an HTML attribute.

New meta tags to settings snippets. You can add the following four meta tags to either an HTML page or specified via the x-robots-tag HTTP header. The new settings are:

  • “nosnippet”: – This is an old option that has not changed, it lets you specify that you don’t want any textual snippet shown for this page. 
  • “max-snippet:[number]”: – This is a new meta tag that lets you specify a maximum text-length, in characters, of a snippet for your page.
  • “max-video-preview:[number]”: – This is a new meta tag that lets you specify a maximum duration in seconds of an animated video preview.
  • “max-image-preview:[setting]”: – This is a new meta tag that lets you specify a maximum size of image preview to be shown for images on this page, using either “none”, “standard”, or “large”.

Combine them. You can use these meta tags standalone or combine them if you want to both control the max length of the text and video. Here is an example:

HTML attribute. You can also use it as an HTML attribute and not as a meta tags. With this, you can prevent that part of an HTML page from being shown within the textual snippet on the page. Here is a code sample of how this might look:

Other search engines. As far as we know, Bing and other search engines do not currently support any of these new snippet settings. Google just came out with support for these new settings.

Directive, not a hint. Google said these are directives Google will follow, as opposed to being hints that it will consider but might ignore.

Preview. There is no real way to preview how these new snippet settings will work in live Google search. So you just need to implement it and wait for Google to show them. You can use the URL inspection tool to expedite crawling and once Google crawls it, you should be able to see the revised snippet in the live search results.

Going live end of October. Google said this will go live in mid-to-late October. Google will announce when this feature is live on its Twitter account at @googlewmc. When it does go live, it can take time to fully roll out, possibly over a week to fully roll out. This will be a global roll out a month from today.

Prepare now. Google gave us about a month of heads up notice on this so we can implement the changes to our sites now and then see how it impacts our listings in the Google search results when it goes live.

Featured snippets and rich results. Keep in mind, if you restrict Google from showing certain information, it may impact if you show up for featured snippet results and it may impact how your rich results look. Features snippets require a certain minimum number of characters to be displayed, and if you go below that minimum, it may result in your pages not qualifying for the featured snippet position.

AMP larger images. Google said you can also control what size impacts are shown in your AMP results, like top stories and other areas. Google said “publishers who do not want Google to use larger thumbnail images when their AMP pages are presented in search and Discover can use the above meta robots settings to specify max-image-preview of “standard” or “none.”

Rankings. This does not impact your overall Google web search rankings. Google will still crawl, index and rank your pages as it did before. It may impact your listing showing up with certain rich results, or your site showing up as featured snippets, as we described above. But this does not impact your overall rankings in Google search.

Why we care. One of the bigger requests SEOs, webmasters and site owners have wanted was more control over what Google shows for their listings in the Google search results. These new settings give you more flexibility in terms of what you do and do not want to show in your search result snippet on Google.


About The Author

Barry Schwartz is Search Engine Land’s News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on SEM topics.

Dit artikel is vertaald van Search Engine Land

Getting started with Google Tag Manager

Getting started with Google Tag Manager

Ever put in a development ticket for what you thought would be a simple tracking code update? And then waited weeks for the task to be completed?

Google Tag Manager (GTM) saves marketers and developers alike by allowing you to set up tracking codes for analytics and ad platforms through one simple interface. In this article, I’ll walk through setting up a GTM account, creating your first tags and triggers, and using the platform to streamline your tracking setup process.

Understanding Google Tag Manager hierarchy

The account is the top level of GTM hierarchy. If you’re managing GTM from an agency login, you’d generally want to create one account per each brand you work with, and a container for each website that brand uses. You can access multiple accounts via the same Google login.

A container includes a unique GTM code, which you should add across the site you want to track.

Within each container, you’ll then set up tags that fire tracking codes on your site. Triggers define when tags will fire. Variables are functions you can use on a more granular level indicate when tags will fire.

Setting up your account

To start setting up your account, go here and click “Start for Free.”

You’ll then see a screen where you create an account.

Enter the relevant info into the fields and select the platform. In this article, we’re talking about using GTM for web, but you can also set up accounts for apps and AMP (Google’s framework for mobile pages).

Click Create, and you’ll see the GTM code, which you can then add to the site. If you’re comfortable editing your site’s source code, add the first code within the <head> and the next code right after the opening <body> tag, or send the codes to a developer to install.

Depending on your CMS, you may also be able to set up GTM via a plugin. If your site is on WordPress, try this Google Tag Manager for WordPress plugin.

Setting up tags

GTM includes several built-in tag templates for major analytics and ad platforms. These include Google products, such as Analytics, Ads, Optimize, and Surveys, as well as several third-party platforms, such as AdRoll, Microsoft Advertising, LinkedIn and Quora. If a tracking tag doesn’t have an existing template, you can also use a Custom HTML or Custom Image tag.

To create your first tag, click “Add a new tag” from the Overview screen. 

Now you can start defining criteria for your tag.

In the top field, add a name. Be sure to think about naming conventions that will allow you to keep track of several tags easily. I like to start with the name of the platform associated with the tag, followed by the type of tag and unique criteria.

For instance:

  • Google Ads – Conversion – Brochure Download
  • Google Ads – Conversion – LP Lead
  • Google Ads – Remarketing

Clicking within the “Tag Configuration” box allows you to choose your tag type. You can scroll through to find your desired tag, or you can click the magnifying glass to search by name.

Once you select your tag, you’ll see fields customized based on the associated platform. You can then fill in the criteria.

Generally, for each template, you’ll need to pull an ID number from your analytics or ad platform, and then you can use the additional fields to adjust what you want to track.

Have the code for a tracking tag, but don’t see a template? Choose a Custom HTML tag type, and paste your code into the box. 

Setting up triggers

Next comes the Triggering box, where you can choose a trigger that will cause your tag to fire. Triggers can be based on a number of actions such as pageviews, clicks, element visibility, form submissions, time on site, custom events and more.

Choose the trigger you want and then use the fields to specify criteria.

For instance, this pageview trigger will fire when the /thanks URL is viewed. You can also add multiple conditions, all of which will need to be true before the trigger fires. For instance, you might want to only fire a tag if a certain page is viewed and a user completes an event on the page.

Enabling variables

Note that a limited amount of variables appear in your options by default when setting up triggers. If you want to delve into more precise customization, be sure to enable additional variables in the interface.

Navigate to the Variables section and select “Configure” by “Built-In Variables.” You can now select the additional ones you’d like to add. For instance, you might want to target clicks for buttons that all have the same CSS class. You can check the box next to “Click Classes” and you’ll now see this variable as an option.

You can also create custom variables from the User-Defined Variables section. One common use is the Google Analytics Settings variable, which holds your Google Analytics ID to be used whenever setting up an Analytics tag. Custom events are also useful to target specific actions on the site that can’t be otherwise pinpointed with the default variables.

Going live and testing

All changes you make within GTM occur in a draft mode that doesn’t go live until you submit it. You can preview your setup on your site by using the Preview button on the upper right. You’ll see a bar at the bottom of your browser window letting you know when tags fire. 

Once you’ve confirmed your setup appears to be accurate, click “Submit” to make everything live.

After deploying tags on your site, you can also test for proper installation with Google Tag Assistant. Install the Chrome extension and navigate to the site. Click the Tag Assistant icon, and select “Enable” for your site.

You should now be able to see what tags are firing on your site, as well as if there are any errors. Click on an individual tag to see more details about errors and any recommendations to fix your implementation.

Start streamlining your tracking

Once you’ve set up your GTM account, take the time to play with setting up tags. A global Google Analytics tag, a Google Ads remarketing tag and a Google Ads conversion tag are good ones to start.

Once all your ad platforms’ tags are represented, you can now make simple adjustments if changes are made to the site (for instance, if Thank You page URLs change) directly through GTM versus having to change hard-coded tags on the site.

When you’re ready to move beyond the basics, you can learn about additional actions you can track. On Nov. 13 at SMX East, I’ll be talking about how to amp up your user engagement with Google Tag Manager, through tracking actions like scroll activity, video views and PDF downloads.


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.


About The Author

Tim Jensen is a campaign manager at Clix Marketing. With over 8 years of experience in the digital marketing industry, Tim has worked with both B2B and B2C accounts in a wide variety of industries. While comfortable managing ads across all major platforms, he’s particularly intrigued with the crossover between analytics and PPC.

Dit artikel is vertaald van Search Engine Land

Google Review Stars Drop by 14%

Google Review Stars Drop by 14%

On Monday, September 16, Google announced that they would be restricting review stars in SERPs to specific schemas and would stop displaying reviews that they deemed to be “self-serving.” It wasn’t clear at the time when this change would be happening, or if it had already happened.

Across our daily MozCast tracking set, we measured a drop the morning of September 16 (in sync with the announcement) followed by a continued drop the next day …

The purple bar shows the new “normal” in our data set (so far). This represents a two-day relative drop of nearly 14% (13.8%). It definitely appears that Google dropped review snippets from page-1 SERPs across the roughly 48-hour period around their announcement (note that measurements are only taken once per day, so we can’t pinpoint changes beyond 24-hour periods).

Review drops by category

When we broke this two-day drop out into 20 industry categories (roughly corresponding to Google Ads), the results were dramatic. Note that every industry experienced some loss of review snippets. This is not a situation with “winners” and “losers” like an algorithm update. Google’s changes only reduced review snippets. Here’s the breakdown …

Percent drops in blue are <10%, purple are 10%-25%, and red represents 25%+ drops. Finance and Real Estate were hit the hardest, both losing almost half of their SERPs with review snippets (-46%). Note that our 10K daily data set broken down 20 ways only has 500 SERPs per category, so the sample size is low, but even at the scale of 500 SERPs, some of these changes are clearly substantial.

Average reviews per SERP

If we look only at the page-1 SERPs that have review snippets, were there any changes in the average number of snippets per SERP? The short answer is “no” …

On September 18, when the dust settled on the drop, SERPs with review snippets had an average of 2.26 snippets, roughly the same as prior to the drop. Many queries seem to have been unaffected.

Review counts per SERP

How did this break down by count? Let’s look at just the three days covering the review snippet drop. Page-1 SERPs in MozCast with review snippets had between one and nine results with snippets. Here’s the breakdown …



Consistent with the stable average, there was very little shift across groups. Nearly half of all SERPs with review snippets had just one result with review snippets, with a steady drop as count increases.

Next steps and Q&A

What does this mean for you if your site has been affected? I asked my colleague and local SEO expert, Miriam Ellis, for a bit of additional advice …

(Q) Will I be penalized if I leave my review schema active on my website?

(A) No. Continuing to use review schema should have no negative impact. There will be no penalty.

(Q) Are first-party reviews “dead”?

(A) Of course not. Displaying reviews on your website can still be quite beneficial in terms of:

  • Instilling trust in visitors at multiple phases of the consumer journey
  • Creating unique content for store location landing pages
  • Helping you monitor your reputation, learn from and resolve customers’ cited complaints

(Q) Could first-party review stars return to the SERPs in future?

(A) Anything is possible with Google. Review stars were often here-today-gone-tomorrow even while Google supported them. But, Google seems to have made a fairly firm decision this time that they feel first-party reviews are “self serving”.

(Q) Is Google right to consider first-party reviews “self-serving”?

(A) Review spam and review gating are serious problems. Google is absolutely correct that efforts must be made to curb abusive consumer sentiment tactics. At the same time, Google’s increasing control of business reputation is a cause for concern, particularly when their own review corpus is inundated with spam, even for YMYL local business categories. In judging which practices are self-serving, Google may want to look closer to home to see whether their growing middle-man role between consumers and businesses is entirely altruistic. Any CTR loss attendant on Google’s new policy could rightly be seen as less traffic for brand-controlled websites and more for Google.

For more tactical advice on thriving in this new environment, there’s a good write-up on GatherUp.

Thanks, Miriam! A couple of additional comments. As someone who tracks the SERPs, I can tell you that the presence of review stars has definitely fluctuated over time, but in the past this has been more of a “volume” knob, for lack of a better word. In other words, Google is always trying to find an overall balance of usefulness for the feature. You can expect this number to vary in the future, as well, but, as Miriam said, you have to look at the philosophy underlying this change. It’s unlikely Google will reverse course on that philosophy itself.

Vertaald van MOZ

Server migrations are “uneventful for Google systems”

Server migrations are “uneventful for Google systems”

Server migrations “are pretty uneventful for Google systems” so long as everything else stays the same, although Googlebot will readjust how frequently it crawls your site, Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller said on the September 24 edition of #AskGoogleWebmasters.

The question. “Our site is changing servers and I’ve had this go disastrously in the past. What do I need to do to ensure SEO is preserved?” asked user @JSAdvertiseMint via Twitter.

The answer. “Server migrations — where you’re just moving from one server to another, while keeping everything else the same — are pretty uneventful for Google systems,” Mueller said. “The important part is really that everything else stays the same: the URLs stay the same, the content stays the same, the CMS stays the same. It’s all the same website, just hosted on a different IP address.”

The caveat. “The only common issue that can come up with a server migration like that is that Googlebot will readjust how frequently it crawls from your website,” Mueller said, explaining that the crawling frequency adjustment takes place automatically.

“The goal is to avoid causing problems on your server through too much crawling. So, when we recognize that your server has changed, our systems will generally throttle back, make sure that your new server can cope with the extra work of Googlebot crawling and then, over time, we’ll increase the speed again to a rate that works well for your server and that helps us to keep your website fresh in the search results.”

Why we should care. If you have to change servers, it’s important to be aware of and prepare for any side effects that migration may have on your rankings and traffic. Although your existing SEO efforts will be preserved, less frequent crawling means that new or updated content may take a while to appear on search results, so you may want to postpone publishing any big post-migration projects until crawling resumes with regular frequency.


About The Author

George Nguyen is an Associate Editor at Third Door Media. His background is in content marketing, journalism, and storytelling.

Dit artikel is vertaald van Search Engine Land

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