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Mar 22, 2017

Optimize your Search Engine Result Page (SERP) Snippet

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Optimize your Search Engine Result Page (SERP) Snippet


Table of contents

Search Engine Result Page (SERP) is the result pages that contain the result of a search query.

Optimize Search Engine Result Page Snippet

sample search engine result page

Each result on this page is often called a SERP snippet or SERP item. Search Engines use the content from your website to generate the content of these snippets.

Search Engine Result Page snippet

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 generally 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:

  1. The width of Google search results is about 600 pixels wide (this applies to title and link)

  2. 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:

  1. Page title meta description lengths by pixel width

  2. Google recent SERP changes

It's extremely important to point out that Google dynamically changes 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 a 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 relevant, 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 topmost attention:

  1. Use concise title and description.

  2. Use meaningful links (for example, yoursite.com/post/how-to-optimize-your-title is better than yoursite.com/post/123213131).

  3. Ensure important keywords are not hidden/truncated.

  4. 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 a built-in SEO Analyzer which does include a 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.

Search Engine Result Page (SERP) and SEO snippet

Nilead has built-in tool to preview web page SERP snippet and suggest SEO optimization tips


About the author


Vu Nguyen

Vu Nguyen is an entrepreneur, developer, and founder of Nilead. He loves backend website development and has experience in eCommerce (owning an online store as well as being a developer), Search Engine Optimization, UX Design, and Content Strategy.

Since 2005, Vu has headed and overseen UX design teams for projects in corporations, start-ups, individuals, etc., regardless of their size. He has been involved in both the creative and technical aspects of each project - from ideation to concept and vision, prototype building to detailed design, and build-up to deployment.

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