Google is evolving meta tag “robots”

Google has just informed webmasters of an evolution it proposes for the meta tag “robots” with new parameters allowing to play on what is displayed in the snippet (textual summary) of the search results. A new HTML attribute is also used to indicate which text it should not take into account in this area. New features that can be useful to better control how search results are displayed in the SERPs.

Google has announced an evolution of the meta tag “robots” to give more guidance to the engines on how we want a result to appear in the SERP.

What’s new on the meta tag “robots”

For example, there was until now this option to not display “snippet” (abstract text below the URL):

<meta name = “robots” content = “nosnippet”>

At this level, nothing new: this option is still valid. But it is now supplemented by several other possibilities:

<meta name = “robots” content = “max-snippet: [number]”>

Specify the maximum size of the displayed text. Example: max-snippet: 160. Beware of the Featured Snippet: this limit will apply too!

<meta name = “robots” content = “max-video-preview: [number]”>

Specifies the duration (in seconds) for the “preview” of a displayed video. Example: max-video-preview: 30.

<meta name = “robots” content = “max-image-preview: [setting]”>

Indicates the size of the image that may be displayed. Possible settings: “none”, “standard” or “wide”.

The different parameters can also be combined by separating them with commas, as here:

<meta name = “robots” content = “max-snip: 50, max-image-preview: large”>

These different tags will be effective in the course of October and fully taken into account from November.

In this regard, the online help page on these tags has been updated.

Other novelty: tell Google the text it should not show in its snippets

The meta tag “robots is not the only one to receive news, because it is now possible to use the attribute ” data-nosnippet “ in tags like <span>, <div> and <section>. In this case, the text included between these tags will not be used by Google in case it goes to fetch part of the content of the page for its snippet (and where it does not take into account your meta tag “description”). Example:

<p data-nosnippet> <span> Harry Houdini </ span> is undoubtedly the most famous magician ever to live. </ p>

In this case, you indicate to Google that he should not use the text ” Harry Houdini is undoubtedly the most famous magician ever to live ” for his snippet, but that it can be used elsewhere 🙂 There too, the page of official online help has been modified accordingly.

This feature will be available by the end of the year.

All these novelties can also be put in place within the structured data of the page as well as in AMP format.

It will certainly take some time to evaluate when these new tags will be useful and in which case they should not be used. In any case, these are new possibilities that are always good to integrate into our working methods … But beware: to date, Bing and other search engines do not take into account these novelties!

And of course, all this impacts only the way the search results are displayed and in no way the rankings of those results. Do not expect to gain seats by integrating these new tags

About the author

Jay Galaczi

Jay Galaczi is an SEO veteran, web designer and web developer. He specializes in technical SEO, user and customer experience.

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