Google Search Listing Anatomy 101

google search listing

Google is king when it comes to the world of search. Their ever evolving algorithms and rules make up the framework of this vast information-rich world. When it comes to search engine optimization, what stands today, may not be here tomorrow. Do you know how to properly optimize your Google search listing? Small changes can greatly impact site traffic. Read more to learn all about the anatomy of Google search listings and how to increase traffic to your website.

Google Search Listing Anatomy | Choosing a Title

Let us start with the basics. In order to make the most of your Google presence, you need more than keyword research and a savvy AdWords campaign. The art of crafting an enticing search result starts with writing the perfect title.

The title is a moderately important component to a listing, as it the first thing the user sees. However, not everyone realizes the title is not always shown to the user. Google chooses when to reveal it and when not to. When the title is omitted, Google pulls relevant content directly from a webpage instead. This supports the importance of holstering exceptional content throughout a website. Consequently, it is recommended to follow Google’s guidelines to increase the likelihood of the title being visible.

Google Search Listing - Title example

Pro Tip – Make sure titles are three things: short, descriptive, and relevant to search queries. Restrict titles to about 70 characters for desktop and 78 for mobile to avoid Google’s unsightly ellipsis usage.

Google Search Listing Anatomy | Snippets

What are snippets? Snippets are descriptions found below the URL and they tell the user what the page is all about. Google determines what to use for the snippet by either pulling it directly from the meta description, or by taking contextual information from the page. It depends on the user query. Hence, another reason why original content matters.

Google Search Listing - Snippets example

Pro Tip – Google limits snippets to about 156 characters. Make sure to stay under the limit to again, avoid ellipsis usage.

Google Search Listing Anatomy | Sitelinks

Sitelinks are sub-listings that help users navigate around your website. They are located underneath the first search result, and are by no means guaranteed to show. The best way to get these shown is to own a clear hierarchical website with a unique brand name. Typically, you are more likely to see a listing with sitelinks when you search for a specific brand. The highlighted sections in the image below are examples of sitelinks.

Google Search Listing - Seattle Times Example

Pro TipGoogle allows up to six sitelinks max. Make sure the site has a clear hierarchy that search engines can easily decipher.
Small changes to a Google search listing can create a big impact on your online presence. Make your listing useful to users by using a short and meaningful title, utilizing a descriptive and informative meta description, and by establishing a clear and concrete website hierarchy to increase the likelihood of sitelinks on your Google search listing.

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