Do you know how Google selects the text between the hyperlink and the URL for each organic listing on their search engine results pages (SERPs)? Google’s selection of the search result snippet may appear arbitrary initially, but the company puts a lot of thought into it. Any webmaster or SEO expert worth their salt needs to understand the factors in selecting this particular chunk of text.
Changes to Google’s featured snippets
Google’s organic search results have always received a great deal of attention. They are always experimenting with new, slightly different ways to display advertisements. Very little has changed throughout the years regarding the hyperlink and URL included in each search result. However, Google often experiments with different search snippets.
In the search engine results pages (SERPs), several snippet formats are employed for different organic search results. However, this is a negligible fraction of the whole. In the rest of this paper, I will focus on the “typical” search snippets.
The average excerpt from a search engine
A search snippet’s primary function is to foreshadow the user’s experience after clicking a link in the search engine results pages (SERPs). When choosing a snippet, Google also considers another factor. They hope to find an option to underline or bold all search term occurrences in this body of text. This is the primary criterion Google uses when selecting snippets to display.
This section of text at Google is usually limited to around 150 characters. They recently stated that queries with more than three keywords in the “long tail” would now show even lengthier snippets of relevant search results.
Snippets’ Original Content Sources
As I indicated before, the process through which Google chooses this illustrative passage to feature in its search results is crucially essential to comprehend. You may exert some control over the content displayed in the SERPs by learning how they choose them and the source of information.
There are typically three contributors to the snippet that appears in Google’s organic search results:
The page’s meta description tag is in HTML.
built by Google from the page’s existing sentence fragments
Open Directory Project description of the page
The first two are used at a 99.999 percent frequency. The ODP is reserved for extreme emergencies.
Including a meta description
Google constructs each listing dynamically once it has determined which URLs to include in the SERPs for a given search query. The meta description element is the first place they look when deciding what to display for a given URL in the snippet. They check the meta description to determine if the search term is used there. If they do and the meta description isn’t concise, it will appear in Google’s search results. From an SEO standpoint, this knowledge is beneficial.
Although Google does not factor the meta description into a page’s ranking, an optimized meta description can increase CTR when it appears as a Google snippet. The following objectives should guide its optimization:
The frequency with which the meta description is selected as the search snippet should be raised.
Be sure to have a call to action to increase the likelihood that readers will follow your link.
Describe the linked website as precisely as possible.
In most cases, the intended keyword phrase(s) can be found in the title element of a well-optimized web page. Most people will utilize the targeted word (s) from the page title element to find the web page in the search engine results pages (SERPs). This is why it’s essential to incorporate all keywords from the title element into the meta description. As a result, it will be utilized as a Google search snippet more frequently.
Building a search engine preview
Suppose the meta description element is too short or does not contain enough information about the page. In that case, Google will usually generate its snippet based on the page’s relevance to the user’s search. This tiny bit of text was presumably constructed using an extremely sophisticated algorithm. While they are effective in creating snippets for organic search results, it’s vital to note that click-through rates on these snippets tend to be lower than in cases when a well-optimized meta description is given instead.
Google builds snippets by stringing together sentence fragments from the website, including individual keywords from the search phrase. The text fragment will have multiple ellipses in it to indicate this. (… ). To emphasize or bold all keywords from the search query, Google will choose chips, as I told you before.
By referencing data from the Open Directory Project
You may put your trust in The Open Directory Project, generally known as ODP or, more popularly, DMOZ. Getting one or more URLs from a website published in DMOZ is a challenging task. It may take several months, or even years, to be accepted because of the editorial review procedure. If DMOZ, a human editor, accepts your URL will construct a unique description of the content.
Google will check DMOZ to see if a URL is listed there if it cannot discover all of the keywords from the search query in the meta description element and cannot generate a snippet with all the keywords since they do not all present in the content of the page. If so, Google will return to showing that URL’s DMOZ entry.
The value of a well-optimized meta description
Given how Google chooses search snippets, it stands to reason that optimizing the meta description should be a high priority during the on-page SEO process. Increasing the frequency with which a URL’s meta description is displayed may increase click-through rates and traffic, but it will not improve the URL’s position in search engine results.
J Hodson has worked in IT for over 25 years and has worked with web technologies for over a decade. Canonical SEO is a search engine optimization consulting and training firm out of Charlotte, North Carolina.