By 7 years ago in Blogging SEO

Has Google changed the snippet algorithm

This morning I noticed a couple of my blog posts were showing up in the Google results with the date showing up as part of the snippet.

Not really thinking much of it as Google isn’t consistant about snippet generation I didn’t do any more research but it appears other people are seeing this as well.

Snippet date

It seems that in some cases the date is being added to the start of the snippet leaving less room (17 characters less) for the rest of the snippet text. For those of you who create snippets right up to the normal 155 character limit using meta descriptions this might cause a bit of annoyance as your final word gets missed out.The only thing that’s certain about this algorithm update is that it isn’t being applied for every single blog post. There are numerous posts that include the data in the snippet and quite a lot that don’t. It seems to be 50/50 at present and the cache date and date the article was published appears to have nothing to do with it.

Google seems able to pull the date quite easily from all the major blogging platforms and I’ve seen the dates showing for major newspapers as well so it isn’t just blogs that are affected.

As a searcher faced with lots of different results about a subject I would be more than happy for Google to tell me one is 2 years old and one was published yesterday – it’s valuable information to have.

As a blogger I want to know whether to start making my meta descriptions a bit shorter and, at present, nobody seems sure.

By Patrick Altoft. at 3:37PM on Tuesday, 01 Apr 2008

Patrick is the Director of Strategy at Branded3 and has spent the last 11 years working on the SEO strategies of some of the UK's largest brands. Patrick’s SEO knowledge and experience is highly regarded by many, and he’s regularly invited to speak at the world’s biggest search conferences and events. Follow Patrick Altoft on Twitter.


  • Barry Welford

    You can of course if you have sufficient energy cut those blog posts descriptions that come up with the date in a SERP. 138 characters is what you have in that case, rather than the normal 155. However if Google reverses this process, then you may need to tweak again.

    • Patrick Altoft

      Barry that is one option but the snippets often vary depending on the query. Sometimes they might be too short and sometimes they might be OK.

      I intend to leave well alone until the situation stabilises.