Google defines a snippet as "a description of or an excerpt from the webpage". It is a popular belief that the snippet consists of the webpage title and URL along with description. The term "snippet" applies solely to the webpage description.
A snippet can vary every time for the same brand or product. It depends exclusively on the term you are searching for. You must have noticed that some terms in the snippet are bold, these are again the keywords searched by you. They are highlighted by Google to enhance user experience.
The Content of The Snippet Depends On Various Factors. These are:
1. Webpage Content: If your Meta description does not contain any data, search engines pick up the snippet from your webpage. Relevant content including the search query is displayed in the snippet. 2. Meta Description Tag: By default, the search engines pull the content from the Meta description tag. For large websites, like an e-commerce website, writing Meta description manually is impractical. For such sites, the Meta description can be auto generated by including the keywords and product description. 3. A Mix of both Content and Meta Description: In some cases, it has been observed that the snippet contains data from both the web page content and Meta Description. Few words from a sentence are pulled up followed by dots to show continuity. 4. Open Directory Description: In some cases, the open directory description overrides the webpage content and Meta description. Google sometimes includes the open directory description in the snippet. If you don't want this to occur, you can use NOODP in the Meta robots tag.
A search result contains more than the description. A visitor sees a lot of data on the search engine results page.
The Other Components of a Search Result are:
1. Title 2. Cached / Similar Pages 3. Sitelinks 4. Breadcrumbs 5. A expandable button (plus sign) 6. More results option 7. Description under link 8. Bold keywords 9. A search option
In its bid to improve the visitor experience, Google has included the "search website" option in its SERPS. Currently, this option is available for websites like Wikipedia and yelp.
The rich snippets feature of Google SERPS is useful for webmasters with structured content. As the information in the snippets increase, it becomes easier for the visitor to decide the usefulness of that webpage.
Google currently supports the following information types in the rich snippets: reviews, people profiles, business listings, and events. These features can be observed for websites like yelp, i.e. review sites and social networking/people profile sites.
After setting up your website, ensure that the Meta description is in place. The webpage content should always be relevant to the title. Observe your website's snippet in the SERPS. Over a period of time, you will learn to manipulate the snippets to some extent; in turn providing better data to the visitors.
Debbie A. Everson, CEO SearchMar.com, experienced SEO Consultants and Search Engine Optimization Agency to over 2,000 small businesses. Learn about search engine marketing, pay-per-click, social bookmarking, and email marketing at our SEO Blog. Follow us on Twitter @searchmar or call 866.885.6263 to speak to an SEO Consultant.
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