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Patrick Stox (SEOpedia)

Patrick Stox (SEOpedia)
@patrickstox

Aug 9, 2020
27 tweets
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Uncommon SEO Knowledge #2 Titles and Meta Descriptions + Snippets Let's see if I can cover something most SEOs don't know about the tags they're most familiar with. (thread)

1. I added snippets because meta descriptions are not always used in search results. According to an @Ahrefs study ahrefs.com/blog/meta-desc…: 25.02% of top-ranking pages don’t have a meta description and Google uses different text than the meta description 62.78% of the time
2. Did you know that titles and snippets vary in how they show on desktop and mobile and even differ between devices? For instance, mobile titles are generally longer and mobile descriptions are generally shorter than their desktop counterparts. The content may also change.
3. They also vary between searches. Pages can rank for many different terms and the title and snippet displayed can change depending on the query.
4. Titles and meta descriptions are also used for other types of search, such as image search.
5. Titles in search results may be different than the title you have on the page. Titles in search may come from the content of the page or from a number of other sources.
For instance, when a title is empty or a page is indexed, but blocked from crawling the title won't be seen. The title shown may be based on the anchor text of links to the page.
Other sources of information may influence the title shown in search results. At one time the directory DMOZ was one of these sources, but it's no longer used. I'm not sure if it's currently known what other sources may be used.
In the case of PDFs, if no title is a used then the title may actually come from the file name of the PDF.
Google may focus on the brand up front in the snippet for branded searches and for other searches they may append the brand to the end of the title.
6. Unlike Titles, Snippets come from content on the page. It's not always the meta description but it will be content that is actually on your page. You also have more control over snippets shown than you do titles. "nosnippet" - shows blank
"max-snippet:[number]" - max length in characters. See a snippet you don't like? Specify a length one less than that to generate a new one "data-nosnippet" - can be used on span, div, and section elements. This prevents content within those sections from being shown as a snippet
Featured snippets add a parameter to the URLs called scroll to text fragment. It looks like #:~:text= with some added text and takes you to that text in the page. You can actually opt out of this action with: github.com/WICG/scroll-to… Document-Policy: force-load-at-top
7. Google usually highlights text in the snippet for the terms that are searched. This doesn't happen when content is hidden by default. It doesn't mean they didn't see this content necessarily, it's just that they don't highlight it.
8. If you have multiple titles or descriptions on a page, they get combined into 1. So title 1 + title 2 = new title.
9. Some scripts injected into the <head> or things in the head failing to close properly can cause a browser to end the head section early and throw any remaining elements into the <body>. Most tags in the body section will be ignored.
10. A longer snippet in Google search results may indicate featured snippet eligibility. You may be in the consideration set for featured snippets, just not the one chosen to display at the top.
11. There are many ways to stand out in search results if you choose to use them. For instance, some emojis still work:
As do many unicode characters. See eternallybored.org/misc/uni.html
Some even cause glitches in Google's search results, such as zalgo text.
For 7. @Darth Autocrat (Lyndon NA) mentions I should have said emphasize/bolded text instead of highlight and he's correct. He also points out that what is bolded may be a synonym or variant of the searched term. twitter.com/darth_na/statu…
So.etime what receives the emphasis isn't an exact match for what was searched. G may emphasise "synonyms" (or variants, alternates etc.)
Looks like @Darth Autocrat (Lyndon NA) had more to share. twitter.com/darth_na/statu… Title length at least for desktop is based on pixels and seems to have a max width of 600px. Mobile on the other hand wraps the line so more than one line of text can display and the width seems to vary by device.
How about... Title length based on pixels vs chars. Titles/Descriptions can influence CTR (not just for SEO :)) Using JS to inject/replace/alter the T/MD. That's all I can think of? Awesome job!
As for JavaScript injections which he mentioned, usually the injected value should overwrite. When a page goes through the renderer (all pages do) then the final value should be the one shown. This doesn't hold true if for instance you block the JS file so Google can't see it.
Adding to the JS bit. I remember seeing some issues a while back with chat bots overwriting the titles and those titles getting indexed. Be careful with 3rd party scripts.
12. h/t @Andrew Mitschke the remove outdated content tool in Google Search Console can be used to remove a snippet. This will come back when the page is re-crawled, but useful if something sensitive is showing that you need to get rid of. support.google.com/webmasters/ans…
An addition from @Victor Pan 🇹🇼🇺🇲 is about legacy code. DMOZ and Yahoo Directory both shut down, but there were codes to prevent your info from being pulled from these, noodp (DMOZ) and noydir (Yahoo) twitter.com/victorpan/stat…
Victor Pan 🇹🇼🇺🇲

Victor Pan 🇹🇼🇺🇲
@victorpan

If you see noodp and noydir on an old website, it was because you did not want DMOZ or Yahoo Directory to impact your snippets. Great thread.
Super cool test from @Propellernet shows that data-snippet on all content forces the meta description to be used. Thanks for pointing it out @Saeed Ramazany twitter.com/Saeedynz/statu…
Patrick Stox (SEOpedia)
I've been called Mr. Technical SEO & the technical SEOs' technical SEO. Product Advisor & technical SEO @ahrefs. /r/TechSEO moderator. Run a technical SEO slack
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