Search Engine Result Page (SERP) are the result pages that contain the result of a search query.
sample search engine result page
Each result in this page is often called SERP snippet or SERP item. Search Engines uses the content from your website to generate the content of these snippets.
Search engine result page snippet has 3 main components
Note: search engines have custom algorithms to generate the snippets, the general rules to use title, description and link do not always apply.
As you can see in the example above our title is cut short and some of the words are not displayed. It's very important to take note of this, imagine if you use a very long title and the most important keywords are not displayed then you may not capture the users' immediate attention.
How does Google display the SERP text content?
Now that you know Google is truncating the text content displayed in the SERP snippet, it's important to understand how Google is doing that. The general accepted theory is that Google is truncating the text based on the pixel width (how wide the text is in pixel). While no one knows for sure, the currently accepted formula is:
- The width of Google search results is about 600 pixels wide (this applies to title and link)
- The character count of the description is about 150 characters (some sources argue that Google actually limits on pixel width which is around 920px for all lines combined)
You may find more detailed information in the following links:
- Page title meta description lengths by pixel width
- Google recent SERP changes
It's extremely important to point out that Google dynamically change the content of the snippet to present the most user-centric preview (or at least they try to). Google may also dynamically change the title by highlighting keywords that are in the search query, truncating in the middle, or moving brand phrases to the start of a title, truncating much earlier than the 600px width on occasions.
How to optimize your SERP snippet for higher click-through rate?
Click-through rate is the percentage of people visiting a web page who access a hypertext link to a particular advertisement. It's easy to see how a more relevent, catchy SERP may capture more attention and encourage more users to visit the page. You can optimize the click-through rate by giving the targeted users top most attention:
- Use concise title and description.
- Use meaningful links (for example, yoursite.com/post/how-to-optimize-your-title is better than yoursite.com/post/123213131).
- Ensure important keywords are not hidden/truncated.
- Include important keywords you want to target in your title and description.
Take advantage of Nilead's SERP preview to optimize your content
Nilead's platform offers built-in SEO Analyzer which does include SERP snippet preview for your convenience. While it's important to take note that the generated SERP preview may not match 100% with the real SERP snippet from Google, it's a convenient way to quickly preview and check for potential issues.
Nilead has built-in tool to preview web page SERP snippet and suggest SEO optimization tips