Google Publishes New Help Documents on Controlling Titles and Descriptions in Search

There have been some recent developments at Google that will help marketers better control Google Search results. To this end, Google released two new documents that provide guidance into these changes and what marketers can do to make the most out of them.

Controlling Title Links

The first document, titled “Control your title links in search results” defines what a “title link” is: a new term Google is using to describe the title of a search result on Google Search and similar properties (such as Google News) that links to a web page. The document provides a screenshot of the search result and points to what is considered the “title link”. The document also walks publishers through:

  • The best practices for writing a title,
  • How Google creates the title links for the search engine results page (SERP),
  • How to avoid some common issues with <title> elements, and
  • How to submit feedback to Google regarding the topic.

In August, Google made changes to title links that were not well received by publishers. As a result, the company explained why the changes were made and rolled back some of the developments.

Controlling Snippets in the SERP

The second document is titled “Control your snippets in search results”. A snippet is defined as a description or summary of a search result on Google and other similar properties. Like the document on title links, Google provides a screenshot as an example. The document also explains:

  • How snippets are created,
  • The differences between rich results and meta description tags,
  • Best practices for creating meta descriptions, and
  • How to prevent snippets or change the length of a snippet.

So why does all this matter? Because these documents now provide more clarity to publishers on how Google shows their search results—which means it also tells you how to better control what comes up in a Google search.