How will Google create the snippets now that DMOZ is not used?

Google has stopped using DMOZ for the snippets that are displayed on the search engine result pages.

Search result snippets are very important. They help people decide whether or not it makes sense to invest the time visiting the page the snippet belongs to.

It’s time to write better descriptions on your posts/pages

Your website will get more visitors if your pages have descriptive and relevant search result snippets. Learn how to influence the snippets that Google uses for your web pages now.

How did Google create the snippets?

Up to now, Google snippets came from 3 different places:

  1. the content of the page
  2. the meta description of the page
  3. the DMOZ listing description of a page

Of course, the content of the page is the most obvious choice for result snippets. However, Google often does not use the content of a page to create the snippet. For example, the page might not contain enough text content although it is relevant.

In that case, Google takes a look at the meta description of the ranked pages. In general, a meta description should be a short text that accurately and precisely describes the content of the page in a few words.

If the meta description was missing, too short, unrelated, or low quality, Google used for the snippets. The quality of the DMOZ snippets were often of much higher quality than those provided by webmasters in their meta description, or were more descriptive than what the page provided.

Last month (May 2017), DMOZ closed its doors and Google stopped using snippets from DMOZ.

That means that it has become even more important than before to create good meta descriptions for your web pages.

How to ensure you get compelling search result snippets?

There are several things that you can do to make sure that Google shows good snippets for your web pages:

1. Improve the content of your web pages

The content of your web pages is the most important and PRIMARY source for the snippets. Before you improve the meta descriptions of your web pages, improve the visible content of your web pages. Meta descriptions are only visible to search engines.

It is much better if your web pages contain good content that is also visible to your regular website visitors.

2. Improve the meta descriptions of your web pages

Do not use the same meta description across multiple pages. It also does not make sense to include off-topic, low quality, or outright spammy (think keyword stuffing!) meta descriptions on your web pages. Google will for sure ignore them, they’ve done this longer than you.

A good meta description contains the following:

  1. an accurate and precise description of the web page content
  2. a benefit to the website visitor
  3. a call to action that entices users to click

Each page should have its own meta description. Although there is no character limit for meta descriptions, Google will truncate the descriptions as needed, typically to fit the device width.

Don’t forget that the title of a web page will also be displayed on the search results page. The title sparks interest and the meta description contains additional information to convince the user.

Easiest way to do this in WordPress? Yoast SEO Plugin

The Yoast SEO plugin which we recommend has a snippet preview feature, a simulation of what your post will look like in those results.

Yoast SEO also has a mobile snippet button in its snippet preview. With the button below the snippet you can now switch between the desktop version and the mobile version, to make sure both look fine.

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