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How To: Create Better SERP Snippets

Posted on 9.30.2007
The Google Webmaster Central Blog has a helpful post on how to improve snippets with a meta description makeover. As you may know, the quality of the snippet that Google (or any search engine for that matter) displays plays a major role in how many visitors you will be able to attract to your site.

Google uses a variety of ways to select snippets, but prefer to display meta descriptios  of pages when available_ because it gives users a clear idea of the content on the URL within the search results. By providing an accurate representation of the web result, users get to good results faster which reduces "click and backtrack" behavior which aggravates visitors.

According to Google, good meta description strategies:

- Differentiate the descriptions for different pages: That means make seperate snippets for each page of your site. Google will be less likely to display boilerplate descriptions if too much similarity exists.

- Include clearly tagged facts: It's not mandatory to develop descriptions/snippets as sentences. Also consider including structured data (author, date, publication) which can give users a good sense of relevancy that may not be displayed in the snippet otherwise.

- Programmatically generate descriptions: Hand-writing descriptions can be cumbersome, so  if you are able to programmatically generate desciptions do it' just make sure that descriptions are not "spammy"

- Use quality descriptions:
Getting lazy with descriptions is easy to do, especially since they are not visible to regular Web users on your site. Taking the time to create descriptive snippets will "go a long way towards showing a relevant snippet in search results" according to the post.
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