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SEO 10 min read

Google Changes Snippets in SERP: Serpstat Research

Google Changes Snippets in SERP: Serpstat Research
 Anastasia Sotula
Anastasia Sotula
Blog editor at Serpstat
Google's algorithm update recently rocked the SEO world again. This time, the update affected site snippets in search results. In short, for a significant proportion of sites in the titles of snippets, content from H1 and the page content began to appear instead of the Title tag.

We decided to conduct some SERP research to understand the issue. Read about the conclusions we have arrived at below.

About Google's Statement

In mid-August 2021, SEO experts began to notice changes in snippet headings. At the end of August, Google employees officially confirmed an update to the heading algorithm.

What is the essence of the update?

Previously, the snippet title was adjusted based on the user's request. As a result of the algorithm change, the headline will now be formed differently. According to Google, the new snippet titles will better describe the content of the page.

Key points from the update:

  1. Google independently generates the title of the snippet. According to Google, the content of the Title tag doesn't always describe the page well. It can be too long, over-spammed, or uninformative.

  2. The Title will more often present text from the content of the page.

  3. The Title will more often include the main titles of the page, which are often placed in the <h1> tag. However, the title tag itself is irrelevant, as its size and "importance on the page" will also be taken into account.

  4. Sometimes a site brand may be added to the title of a snippet if Google finds it useful.

  5. If the title is too long, the most relevant part will be included in the snippet. Previously, the title was added from the beginning and important information could be cut off.

  6. An update to the help documentation for generating meta tags will be released soon, where the changes will be displayed.

  7. SEO experts should continue to generate relevant Title tags, as they are still used more than 80% of the time.

About the research

For research, we took 12K URLs. We analyzed the changes in the snippets of these URLs for the period from August 2021 to September 2021. The results revealed that:

  1. In the period from August to September 2021, 7185 snippets changed, which is 60% of the entire sample.
 Changes snippets in Google
2. For September 2021, the following data is pulled into the snippet title:

  • Title of the page - 4,270 (36%)
  • H1 pages - 685 (5%)
  • Fragments of content from the page - 7,045 (59%)
data that pulled into the snippet title
Summing up the collected data, we can say that our findings do not contradict the statements made by Google:

  1. The content of the snippet titles changed 60% of the time.

  2. The content of the Title tag is still pulled into the title of the snippet, but only 36% of the time. According to Google, there should be about 80% of such snippets.

  3. The content of the page is pulled into the title of the snippet as much as 59% of the time, which is in line with what was also stated by Google.

What does this mean for SEO professionals?

When writing "beautiful" and relevant titles for pages, it is important to remember that the likelihood of their getting into the search results of Google has significantly decreased. Therefore, you need to regularly monitor how your site is displayed in the search results and make adjustments to the content of the pages.

For example, if the title of your page was not included in the snippet, it is worth analyzing whether it is sufficiently relevant to its content, or whether it is simply spammed with key phrases. The content of the pages itself should be high-quality and well-structured so that search robots can easily understand what the page is about and offer the internet user the most complete and high-quality answer to his request.

How to Check Site Snippets Using Serpstat

A snippet is a site's business card in search results and a free way to drive organic traffic to your site. The appearance of a page in the SERP largely determines whether a user visits it or passes by. Therefore, it is important to keep track of how your site is displayed in the SERP.

However, it is not easy to check the change of site snippets in practice, especially if you want to do it manually. To keep track of this SERP, you need to constantly have access to the appearance of the SERP for different dates, which is no longer easy to obtain. Moreover, if you have a project of any significant size, it could take a lot of time, or may even turn out to be impossible . Therefore, one cannot do without specialized services.

And here I have an obvious (since you are reading the Serpstat blog: D) recommendation . You can track snippet changes using Serpstat by using the module "Rank tracking". In Rank tracking, there are 2 ways to detect changes in snippets. Let's analyze both of them.

#1
Manual

Go to the "Project Overview" and go to the "Issue History" report, which is located opposite the key phrase:
Serpstat Rank tracker
Select the date for which we want to view the search result cache and look at the saved search reasult status for a certain day.
SERP history — saved search reasult
Open 2 different days and compare the appearance of the snippet, looking for differences.
snippets in SERP
However, two important points should be noted here:

  1. This method will require a lot of time and attention.

  2. The search result cache is available only for the last 7 days.

Therefore, we recommend using the second method.

#2
Semi-automatic method

Advantages of this method. It:

  1. Eliminates the need to look for differences with your eyes.

  2. Provides the ability to receive data over a long period of time.
Let's go.

In the same "Project Overview" report, you can open a modular window with snippets and a storm, relative to the key phrase.
Modular window with snippets and a storm at Serpstat
The central block "Snippets" displays snippets of the selected domain.
How to Check Site Snippets Using Serpstat
Orange and blue highlighting does not indicate a change in position, but indicates that there were changes in the snippet.
difference between snippets
When you hover over a snippet, you can see a more complete description or title text.
more complete description of a snippet
At the same time, in the context of the month, it is possible to assess how often changes occurred.
 how often changes in snippets occurred
What the data in the block mean:

  • The position is displayed in the cell.

  • Blue and orange change order as soon as some change occurs.

  • If the entire comb is the same color, it doesn't matter whether it is blue or orange, it simply means that the snippet hasn't changed in the selected period.
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Conclusions

According to the data of our mini-research, a number of conclusions can be drawn:

  1. The algorithm for forming titles in the snippet has changed significantly. This is confirmed by the data for our sample.
  2. It is important to not only write high-quality titles (without spamming, just giving the user comprehensive information about the content of the page), but also to monitor the quality of the content in general.
  3. It is necessary to regularly monitor the display of the site in the search results and make adjustments accordingly.
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The opinion of the guest post authors may not coincide with the opinion of the Serpstat editorial staff and specialists.

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