Anatomy of a Google search result

13 September 09 , ,

Google search results are made up of several helpful components. I’ll explain each below.

Search result title

The search result title is the linked text you click on to go to that page. The linked text comes from the page’s <title> tag, so it’s really important to have unique, descriptive titles for your site’s pages. If the search term is contained in the title, it will be bolded.

Search result snippet

The snippet is a short bit of text that helps the user decide if that result is what they want or not. Google sometimes draws it from the <meta name="description"> tag, or sometimes from text on the page. Again, search terms will be in bold.

Search result url

The url of the search result is listed below the snippet, so the user can see what website she’s really going to if she clicks the link. If it is a friendly urls that contains search terms, they will be bolded.

Cached link

The “cached” link takes you to Google’s stored version of that page. It can be quite helpful, as you can see each search term highlighted throughout the page in a different color. You can also see when the stored version is from.

Similar link

The “similar” link performs a “related:” Google search. It’s a little confusing to me how these search results are generated—but on a basic level, it has to do with what sites link to what.

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