Snippet indexing

Orde Saunders' avatarPublished: by Orde Saunders

As one of my articles is the number one result for a search term Google has extracted the relevant information into a featured snippet. I was updating the data and used it as an opportunity to see how quickly Google would update the snippet.

The first change was made at 14:55 on January 19 and I set up a simple curl daily cron job to pull the search engine results page (SERP) containing the featured snippet.

Checking back the next day I found that the snippet had been updated.

Looking at the server logs, Googlebot had visited four and a half hours after I made the update: - - [19/Jan/2018:04:22:31 +0000] "GET /blog/2015/03/24/iphone-screen-resolutions-reported-google-analytics HTTP/1.1" 200 5456 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; +" - - [19/Jan/2018:19:29:41 +0000] "GET /blog/2015/03/24/iphone-screen-resolutions-reported-google-analytics HTTP/1.1" 200 5466 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; +"

By the time my daily cron job ran 13 hours later, Google had updated. I wasn't expecting things to happen anywhere near that fast so I needed to change to an hourly granularity to capture the next change - which was made at 12:44 on January 25.

Googlebot was now clearly more interested in the page as it had been updated recently and - correctly - assumed that a new update might be more likely. It first crawled the updated page 19 minutes later at 13:03: - - [25/Jan/2018:09:40:14 +0000] "GET /blog/2015/03/24/iphone-screen-resolutions-reported-google-analytics HTTP/1.1" 200 5484 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; +" - - [25/Jan/2018:13:03:15 +0000] "GET /blog/2015/03/24/iphone-screen-resolutions-reported-google-analytics HTTP/1.1" 200 5496 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; +" - - [25/Jan/2018:18:02:44 +0000] "GET /blog/2015/03/24/iphone-screen-resolutions-reported-google-analytics HTTP/1.1" 200 5496 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; +" - - [25/Jan/2018:22:07:06 +0000] "GET /blog/2015/03/24/iphone-screen-resolutions-reported-google-analytics HTTP/1.1" 200 5496 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; +" - - [25/Jan/2018:23:18:15 +0000] "GET /blog/2015/03/24/iphone-screen-resolutions-reported-google-analytics HTTP/1.1" 200 5496 "-" "Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; +"

Judging by the SERPs collected by the cron job the changes were added between 0030 and 0130 on 26 January. That's around 12 hours for the update.

Snippet Indexing

Whilst moving the key data in the page to a snippet does help users find the information without leaving the SERP it does mean that those same users don't have to visit your site. If you don't want your data appearing in a snippet you have the option of adding nosnippet to the robots meta tag on your page:

<meta name="robots" content="nosnippet"/>

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