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 that appears in search result snippets. If the meta description is missing, you give up control over the appearance of your pages in search results. Search engines will instead use parts of the page content as a description, which might lead to unexpected appearance of a site's snippets in search results.

Operating Instruction

We suggest that you use proper meta descriptions for all pages that are supposed to be indexed by search engines.

<meta description> occurs more than once

Description

If a meta description is found more than once in the 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 unpredictable display of the document in search results. This may result in lower user engagement and therefore a drop in user signals for your website. This may eventually hurt the rankings of your website.

Operating Instruction

There should only be one meta description for a document.

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 webpages.

<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 on the internet.">
...
Importance

If the meta description is too long to be displayed in search result snippets, 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 that you analyze the click-through rates from search results to URLs that have a meta description which is too long to be shown properly in search snippets. If a URL flagged with this hint performs poorly in terms of click-through rate, you may want to consider shortening 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 cases of missing <title> tags on the crawled website.

Example

This is an example of an empty title tag:

<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 discovered URLs.

<title> occurs more than once

Description

If the <title> tag is found more than once, the URL is flagged with this hint. There should only be one title per page.

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

The HTML <title> tag is an important ranking factor, as it is literally supposed to describe the content of a page. Having more than one <title> tag can therefore lead to unpredictable displays of the webpage in search results. Additionally, it may harm the rankings of the page.

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 discovered URLs.

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

<title> short or single word

Description

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

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

The HTML <title> tag should summarize the content of a document, so that it is 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 search results snippets, the URL is flagged with this hint.

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

If the title of a docuemnt is too long to be displayed in search result snippets, 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 that the title displays 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, for example, as part of search result snippets, posts on bulletin boards or on social media websites. If a URL is too long, it may get shortened and not be fully displayed.

115 was the maximum number of characters that Google displayed in their snippets in search results some time ago. Today, it is no longer a fixed number of characters, but instead, Google now uses a pixel length.

Operating Instruction

If you encounter occurences of this hint, we suggest that you use shorter URLs so that they display properly.

This may be done by reducing the number of:

  • GET parameters
  • Folders in the path
  • Characters in the filename

Or else, this may be done by using IDs instead of descriptive URLs which also reduces the number of characters.