Google offers new opt-out options in search

    Posted on August 24, 2020


    Google has announced that it is releasing new opt-out mechanisms to allow retailers to control the appearance of their product information in Google search.

    Currently, retailers can use the Google Merchant Center or schema.org markup to determine the appearance of their products in search results. However, Google can decide to display additional content from a product’s page it finds when crawling.

    Some retailers may not be happy with these additions, which is why the new options are of particular advantage, as they allow retailers increased control over their product information, specifying the snippets they wish to include and allowing greater freedom of customisation of such snippets.

    What can retailers change?

    1. Choose not to display a snippet for products

    By using the ‘nosnippet’ robots meta tag on pages displaying products, retailers can prevent snippets from being displayed in search results. The tag will remove all rich, image and textual snippets for that page.

    2. Allocate a maximum length of a snippet

    Using the robot meta tag ‘max-snippet:[number]’ allows for a maximum character length to be set for a snippet.

    3. Customise product image size

    The ‘max-image-preview:[setting]’ robot’s meta tag allows for the customisation of the product image that appears in a snippet. This allows for a size limit to be set for an image preview, with the options being standard, large or none.

    4. Stop certain content from being displayed in a snippet

    The HTML attribute ‘data-nosnippet’ marks a specific content section to be left out of a snippet. However, this should be used with caution, as if it is used for the image or rating, availability or price information, the page will be removed from free listings.

    In order to implement these new preference mechanisms – which are now available for users across the globe – sites must remove any markups from schema.org.

    Google has said that restricting information from a product’s search listing snippet will not affect the page’s search rankings, although the exclusion of certain information could potentially prevent a product from being shown in results elsewhere in the search engine, such as free listings, and in rich results.

    Retailers should ensure their product listings contain all essential information and attract traffic. If you need help in attracting such traffic to your site, contact the team here at Engage Web today.

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