Audisto Search Snippets Checker

How to detect issues with search snippets on your website

Search snippets are a crucial factor to your SEO campaign performance. Good snippets are supposed to tell the visitors exactly what they can expect in the specific document. This helps to make a decision if the result fits their search needs in terms of search intention.

This section of hints helps to keep control over your snippets.

Why are snippets so important?

In short: Snippets are an essential influence on user signals for your site. Snippet quality determines Click Through Rate from search results and can influence the Bounce Rate as well.

Effective control over your search snippets is a key task in SEO. A good snippet can boost Click Through Rate from search results as well as precondition your website visitors to what they are supposed to expect from your website. A bad snippet can cost you a lot of traffic or possibly cause a high bounce rate for the respective search query and / or landing page if your snippet was giving wrong promises that the content couldn’t keep up with.

With this hints section you can identify the most common mistakes, that have negative impact on your snippets in search result.

Audisto Search Snippets Check with the search snippets hint reports for the current crawl

Audisto Search Snippets Check with the search snippets hint reports for the current crawl

Here is the list of all specific hints related to search snippets, that can be identified with the help of the Audisto Crawler.

Table Of Content

Hints

<meta description> missing or empty

Description

If the meta-description is missing or empty, the URL is flagged with this hint. Use this report to identify all URLs that are missing a proper meta description.

Example
<html>
<head>
...
<meta name="description" content="">
...
Importance

The meta description is usually the first choice for the description text in search results snippets. If the meta description is missing, you give up control over the appearance of your documents in the search results. Search engines will then use parts of the documents content as a description, which might lead to unexpected appearance of a site's snippets in search results.

Operating Instruction

We suggest using proper meta descriptions for all documents that are supposed to be indexed by search engines.

<meta description> occurs more than once

Description

If a meta description tag is found more than once in teh HTML, the URL is flagged with this hint.

Example
<html>
<head>
...
<meta name="description" content="First meta description">
<meta name="description" content="Second meta description">
...
Importance

Having more than one meta description can lead to unexpected appearance of the URL in search results. This may result in lower user engagement and therefore a drop for user signals for your site. This may eventually hurt the rankings of the website.

Operating Instruction

There should be only one meta-description for a URL.

Error scenarios like this usually appear due to different software automatically adding meta descriptions. If this issue occurs on a large scale, check if there is a script or CMS plugin automatically adding meta descriptions to your documents.

<meta description> too long for Google snippet

Description

If the meta description is too long to be displayed in the snippet in search results, the URL is flagged with this hint.

Example
<html>
<head>
...
<meta name="description" content="Example.com - The very best long meta descriptions online - We have one of the longest meta descriptions in the internet.">
...
Importance

If the meta description is too long to be displayed in the snippet in search results, it will be shortened by the search engine. This usually results in less appealing snippets and lower user engagement. Lower user engagement might lead to negative user signals, which can be regarded as a ranking factor by modern search engines and eventually lead to worse rankings of the site in search results.

Operating Instruction

We suggest to analyze the Click-through rates from search results to URLs with a meta description, that is too long to be shown properly in search snippets. If a URL flagged with this hint performs low in terms of Click-through rate, you may want to consider shorten the meta description.

<title> found outside <head>

Description

A <title> tag was placed outside of the <head> section, where it may have no effect. Use this report to identify all occurences of misplaced HTML <title> tags.

Example
<html>
<head>
...
</head>
<body>
...
<title>Title of the Site</title>
...
Importance

The <title> tag is a very important element for search engine optimization and should always be set. If the title tag is placed outside the HTML <head>, it may be ignored by search engines. This may lead to issues with the search snippet and the site's ranking in search results.

Operating Instruction

If this hint shows up in your crawl report, you should move all misplaced title tags into the HTML <head> section.

<title> missing or empty

Description

If the <title> tag is missing, the URL is flagged with this hint. Use this report to identify all case of missing title tags on the crawled website.

Example

Empty Title

<html>
<head>
...
<title></title>
...
Importance

The <title> tag is a very important element for search engine optimization and should always be set. The document's title is the primary resource for the title of the snippet in search results. If the <title> tag is missing or empty, one of the most important ranking factors is basically left out. This will very likely harm the ranking in search results and can also harm the Click-through rate from search results for the given URLs.

Operating Instruction

If this hint shows up in your crawl report, you should add title tags to all found URLs.

<title> occurs more than once

Description

If the <title> tag is found more than once in the source code, the URL is flagged with this hint.. There should be only one title for a document.

Example
<html>
<head>
...
<title>Welcome to Example.com</title>
<title>Example.com - Best Examples in the Internet</title>
...
Importance

The HTML <title> tag is an important ranking factor, as it is literally supposed to describe the content of the document. Having more than one HTML <title> tags can therefore lead to unexpected appearance of the URL in search results. Additionally it might harm the rankings of the document.

Operating Instruction

If this hint shows up in your crawl report, you might want to make sure you only use one title tag on all found URLs.

Error scenarios like this usually appear due to different software automatically adding HTML <title> tags. If this issue occurs on a large scale, check if there is a script or CMS plugin adding HTML <title> tags to your documents.

<title> short or single word

Description

If the title of a document has less than 10 chars or consists only of a single word, the URL is flagged with this hint.

Example
<html>
<head>
...
<title>Example</title>
...
Importance

The HTML <title> tag should sum up the content of the document, so it's easy to understand what the document is all about. It should be descriptive as well as appealing. Very short titles usually tend to be neither. Using very short titles may lead to lower user engagement as well as lower rankings in search results.

Operating Instruction

If this hint shows up in your crawl report, consider writing more descriptive and appealing titles for the URLs flagged with this hint.

<title> too long for Google snippet

Description

If the title of a document is too long to be displayed in the snippets in search results, the URL is flagged with this hint.

Example
<html>
<head>
...
<title>Example.com - Best Examples Site - We have one of the the longest titles in the internet</title>
...
Importance

If the title of a docuemnt is too long to be displayed in the snippet in search results, it will be shortened by the search engine. This usually results in less appealing snippets and lower user engagement, which might eventually hurt your site's rankings in search results.

Operating Instruction

You might want to change the title so the title could be displayed in the snippet without beeing shortened.

URL has more than 115 characters

Description

If the URL is more than 115 characters long, it is flagged with this hint.

Example
http://subdomain.example.com/folder1/folder2/folder3/folder4/folder5/folder6/very_long_page_filename.html?a=1&b=2&c=3&d=4
Importance

Long URLs are hard to read and often not fully or properly displayed, e.g. snippets in search results, posts in bulletin boards or social media websites. If a URL is too long, it might get shortened and not be fully displayed.

115 was the maximum count of characters, that Google displayed in their snippets in search results some time ago. As of now, it is not a fixed number of characters any more, but instead a pixel length is used by Google.

Operating Instruction

If you encounter occurences of this hint, we suggest to utilize shorter URLs so they can be properly displayed.

This may be done by reducing the number of:

  • GET-parameters
  • Folders in the path
  • Characters in filename
  • Using IDs instead of speaking URLs