Using Nosnippet Meta Tags To Force Google To Use Your Meta Descriptions

Brandon LazovicMay 13, 2021

Did you know that Google's new data nosnippet meta tag attribute can help ensure your website descriptions appear properly in the search results? 

This article will go over what the nosnippet meta tag attribute is, how to implement it on your website for meta descriptions, and why this is so important.

What Is Google’s data-nosnippet HTML attribute? 

The nosnippet attribute is a new HTML meta tag that can be used on any content to prevent Google from showing its truncated description in search results. This includes the snippet, title and URL served as part of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) best practices.

The default behavior for this attribute is "true." When set to “false” it will exclude snippets from the SERPs if they are defined elsewhere on your page or site - typically with structured data markup such as fields, Open Graph Protocol, JSON-LD, Microdata, RSS tags etc., which may offer more context about what you are linking to than Google's auto-generated text snippet preview would show otherwise.

Forcing Google To Use Your Specified Meta Description

In recent years, Google often pulls content from your web page and designates its own meta description, rather than the one you specify. Sometimes this isn't helpful and can harm your clickthrough rates if it's creating poor meta descriptions from things such as rates tables or disclaimers on your page.

By using a data-nosnippet HTML attribute, you can tell Google to not pull this information into its auto-generated meta descriptions, and encourage it to use the ones that you specify in the <head> section of your web pages.


How To Add The Snippet To Your Content

First, you want to check and see what the meta description is displaying as for your web page. After finding the content that Google is pulling that snippet from, you'll want to include a data-nosnippet tag for that block of content.

Below is a screenshot of what the snippet will look like when marked up as HTML on your web page. You want to include the <span data-nosnippet> field at the beginning of your block of text, and wrap it with </span>.

After publishing these changes, you want to check the page source to ensure that the HTML is marked up correctly on the front end of your site for Google to see.

Credit: Propellernet

Recrawl Your Web Page Using Search Console

After implementing your changes, you want Google to recrawl your web page so it can update the meta description in the search results. To do this, simply submit the URL using the URL inspection tool in Google Search Console.

Test Your Results On Google

After Google recrawls your web page, you'll want to test your results. Simply use search operators like to see what the new meta description is for your web page. If you aren't getting your desired results, and Google is pulling irrelevant content from a different section of your web page, add another no snippet meta tag to that block of content and submit the URL for inspection again.

It may take a few instances to get it right, but eventually Google will use your designated meta description for your page's search result.

Read our latest beginner’s guide for more SEO best practices.

How to Optimize Your Meta Descriptions With The Nosnippet Tag
How to Optimize Your Meta Descriptions With The Nosnippet Tag

In this video, I'll show you how to optimize your meta descriptions with the nosnippet tag. No snippet tags are a way to keep search engines from showing snippets of text from your website in the SERPs. This is great if you want to avoid certain blocks of text, like disclaimers or tables, from being generated as meta descriptions by Google, as well as ensure that your designated meta descriptions are the ones being used by Google in the search results.

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