Control your snippets in search results

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

A snippet in a web result on Google Search

While we can't manually change snippets for individual sites, we're always working to make them as relevant as possible. You can help improve the quality of the snippet displayed for your pages by following the best practices for creating quality meta descriptions.

How snippets are created

Snippets are automatically created from page content. Snippets are designed to emphasize and preview the page content that best relates to a user's specific search. This means that Google Search might show different snippets for different searches.

Site owners have two main ways to suggest content for the snippets that we create:

How to prevent snippets or adjust snippet length

You can prevent snippets from being created and shown for your site in search results, or let Google know about the maximum lengths that you want your snippets to be. To prevent Google from displaying a snippet for your page in search results, use the nosnippet meta tag. To specify the maximum length for your snippets, use the max-snippet:[number] meta tag. You can also prevent certain parts of the page from being shown in a snippet by using the data-nosnippet attribute.

Best practices for creating quality meta descriptions

Google will sometimes use the <meta name="description"> tag from a page to generate a snippet in search results, if we think it gives users a more accurate description than would be possible purely from the on-page content. A meta description tag generally informs and interests users with a short, relevant summary of what a particular page is about. They are like a pitch that convince the user that the page is exactly what they're looking for. There's no limit on how long a meta description can be, but the snippet is truncated in Google Search results as needed, typically to fit the device width.

  • Make sure that every page on your site has a meta description.
  • Create unique descriptions for each page on your site. Identical or similar descriptions on every page of a site aren't helpful when individual pages appear in search results. Wherever possible, create descriptions that accurately describe the specific page. Use site-level descriptions on the main home page or other aggregation pages, and use page-level descriptions everywhere else. If you don't have time to create a description for every single page, try to prioritize your content; at the very least, create a description for the critical URLs like your home page and popular pages.
  • Include relevant information about the content in the description. The meta description doesn't just have to be in sentence format; it's also a great place to include information about the page. For example, news or blog postings can list the author, date of publication, or byline information. This can give potential visitors very relevant information that might not be displayed in the snippet otherwise. Similarly, product pages might have the key bits of information—price, age, manufacturer—scattered throughout a page. A good meta description can bring all this data together. For example, the following meta description provides detailed information about a book.
    <meta name="description" content="Written by A.N. Author,
    Illustrated by V. Gogh, Price: $17.99,
    Length: 784 pages">

    In this example, information is clearly tagged and separated.

  • Programmatically generate descriptions. For some sites, like news media sources, generating an accurate and unique description for each page is easy: since each article is hand-written, it takes minimal effort to also add a one-sentence description. For larger database-driven sites, like product aggregators, hand-written descriptions can be impossible. In the latter case, however, programmatic generation of the descriptions can be appropriate and are encouraged. Good descriptions are human-readable and diverse. Page-specific data is a good candidate for programmatic generation. Keep in mind that meta descriptions comprised of long strings of keywords don't give users a clear idea of the page's content, and are less likely to be displayed in place of a regular snippet.
  • Use quality descriptions. Finally, make sure your descriptions are truly descriptive. Because the meta descriptions aren't displayed in the pages the user sees, it's easy to let this content slide. But high-quality descriptions can be displayed in Google's search results, and can go a long way to improving the quality and quantity of your search traffic.