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Options For Retailers To Control How Their Crawled Product Information Appears On Google

Earlier this year Google launched a new way for shoppers to find clothes, shoes and other retail products on Search in the U.S. and recently announced that retail listings are coming to product knowledge panels on Google Search. These new types of experiences on Google Search, along with the global availability of rich results for products, enable retailers to make information about their products visible to millions of Google users.

The best way for retailers and brands to participate in this experience is by annotating the product information on their websites using markup or by submitting this information directly to Google Merchant Center. Retailers can refer to our documentation to learn more about showing products on surfaces across Google or adding markup to a website.

While the processes above are the best way to ensure that product information will appear in this Search experience, Google may also include content that has not been marked up using or submitted through Merchant Center when the content has been crawled and is related to retail. Google does this to ensure that users see a wide variety of products from a broad group of retailers when they search for information on Google.

While we believe that this approach positively benefits the retail ecosystem, we recognize that some retailers may prefer to control how their product information appears in this experience. This can be done by using existing mechanisms for Google Search, as covered below.

Controlling your preview preferences

There are a number of ways that retailers can control what data is displayed on Google. These are consistent with changes announced last year that allow website owners and retailers specifically to provide preferences on which information from their website can be shown as a preview on Google. This is done through a set of robots meta tags and an HTML attribute.

Here are some ways you can implement these controls to limit your products and product data from being displayed on Google:

nosnippet robots meta tag

Using this meta tag you can specify that no snippet should be shown for this page in search results. It completely removes the textual, image, and rich snippet for this page on Google and removes the page from any listing experience.

Google Search result with and without the nosnippet robots meta tag

max-snippet:[number] robots meta tag

This meta tag allows you to specify a maximum snippet length, in characters, of a snippet for your page to be displayed on Google results. If the structured data (for example, product name, description, price, availability) is greater than the maximum snippet length, the page will be removed from any listing experience.

Google Search result with and without the max-snippet robots meta tag

max-image-preview:[setting] robots meta tag

This meta tag allows you to specify a maximum size of image preview to be shown for images on this page, using either nonestandard, or large.

Google Search result with and without the max-image-preview robots meta tag

data-nosnippet HTML attribute

This attribute allows you to specify a section on your webpage that should not be included in a snippet preview on Google. When applied to relevant attributes for offers (price, availability, ratings, image) removes the textual, image, and rich snippet for this page on Google and removes the listing from any organic listing experiences.

Google Search result with and without the data-nosnippet robots meta tag

Additional notes on these preferences:

  • The preferences do not apply to information supplied via markup on the page itself. The markup needs to be removed first, before these opt-out mechanisms can become active.
  • The opt-out preferences do not apply to product data submitted through Google Merchant Center, which offers specific mechanisms to opt-out products from appearing on surfaces across Google.

Use of mechanisms like nosnippet and data-nosnippet only affect the display of data and eligibility for certain experiences. Display restrictions don’t affect the ranking of these pages in Search. The exclusion of some parts of product data from display may prevent the product from being shown in rich results and other product results on Google.

We hope these options make it easier for you to maximize the value you get from Search and achieve your business goals. These options are available to retailers worldwide and will operate the same for results we display globally. For more information, check out our developer documentation on meta tags.

Should you have any questions, you can reach out to us, or drop by our help forums.

Source: Official Google Webmasters Blog

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  1. This is some of the more advanced stuff that we need to get into to further our business growth. Google Ads has been such an instrumental part of our business, since we finally are getting more hits due to the search engine putting our business up in the first few pages of searches now. Sending this to my tech guy, Thanks for the great tips!

    1. Tomas, I’m glad to hear that you found the article helpful and that Google Ads has been instrumental in growing your business. It’s always great to hear about businesses using digital marketing tools to their advantage. I hope the tips in the article can be useful for your tech guy and help take your business growth to the next level. Best of luck with your continued success!

  2. Bernadette says:

    I ultimately believe in the capacity of Google to contribute to the growth of several businesses! This beneficial two-pronged strategy has indeed provided businesses to cater to a wider market and for the consumers to easily access and search for what they need. Especially in the Covid-19 pandemic, the realm of digital marketing, as well as eCommerce, has increased due to the stringent rules on social distancing–hence the need for organizations such as Google to ramp up their support and utilize such opportunity. Might be too advanced for me, but will give it a try! Thank you again, Taylor!

    1. It’s great that you have faith in the capacity of Google to contribute to the growth of businesses, and that you found the article informative. You’re right that the pandemic has increased the need for digital marketing and e-commerce, and it’s great to see businesses utilizing these tools to stay afloat. I hope you give the tips in the article a try and see how they can benefit your business. Best of luck to you!

  3. I’m delighted to learn of this! It allows me to preserve some of my profits while advertising on Google Ads, which allows me to generate more money and retarget a wider range of customers.

    1. Hi Ross! Google Ads credits can definitely help you preserve your profits while advertising and retargeting to a wider range of customers. It’s always great to hear about businesses utilizing digital marketing tools to their advantage. Best of luck to you and your business!

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