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How-to 11 min read August 16, 2019

How to analyze snippets in search results

Snippet is a business card of the website in search results and a free way to attract organic traffic to the website. The appearance of the page in the issue largely determines whether the user enters it, or passes by. In this article, we will analyze them and look at what the snippets are.

Snippets and their role in website promotion

What are the snippets

Snippet is an information block with a brief description of the page which is displayed in the results of search engines.
Google search snippet

What are snippets for in a search engine

Snippets help your users to understand whether the content of the page is relevant to the search query. An attractive and informative snippet is more likely to attract a person to the website.

Snippet forms the user's first impression of the website. It affects the CTR of the site in the issue and, as a result, is the source of search traffic.

Generate Code Snippets

Snippets are generated by the search engine automatically, in accordance with the request. Their general structure is the same for all search engines and includes the following elements:
Google snippet example
1
The title is an element of the snippet, which is formed on the basis of the Title Meta tag. If this tag is missing or poorly registered, the search engine will generate a title from the page content.
2
URL — website navigation chain.
3
Description - the search engine uses the contents of the Description tag or phrases from the text on the page that are most relevant to the request to form this part of the snippet
Despite the general structure, snippets in Google have distinctive features that must be identified.

Google Snippets

For the formation of the description, Google mainly uses the tags Title and Description, if their contents relevant information on the page and search query. Otherwise, the search engine will select the part of the text from the page itself. To make the site snippet look like you need, Google gives recommendations on how to create them.

Extended Snippets

For some types of websites, search engines provide the ability to create extended snippets. These are the so-called information fields under the standard snippet which contain additional data about the page: address, contacts, products, promotions, rating.

This is an advanced Google snippet:
google extended snippets
Google also has featured snippets. They are displayed before the start of search results and take up much more space on the screen therefore, they have much higher clickability:
Featured snippet Google
Extended snippets provide an additional opportunity to confirm the relevance of the page to the search query, increase the CTR and reduce the number of untargeted transitions.

Snippet clickability in Organic Search or Search Engine Optimization(SEO)

The user behavior on the search results page is not always predictable, which makes it difficult to predict site traffic in the SERP. It is influenced by various factors: subject, region, age, gender.

However, over the past decade, several major studies have been carried out on organic CTR which allow us to draw certain conclusions.

The marketing giants AOL, Enquiro (now Mediative), Chitika, Optify, Slingshot, Catalyst, Caphyon investigated the snippet clickability in search results from 2006 to 2014 years.
Snippets click-trough rate (CTR)
Despite the fact that the numbers are different, the general trend is not difficult to track. Sites from the 1st to the 5th position have the highest CTR in the organic issue.

In 2015, "Authoritas" company conducted an extended analysis of the snippets clickability in organic search. In this study took into account not only the CTR of the desktop issue but also the mobile version, as well as the "brand" and "non-brand" indicators. And what are the results?
Snippets CTR in branding and non-branding queries
All the same first five positions. Indicators do not change much depending on the recognition of the site and what device a person uses. The results of these studies once again confirm that the success of the site requires promotion in organic search results.

How to analyze snippets in search

Analyzing the snippet, you need to pay attention to the appearance and contents of its main elements: Title, URL and Descriptions.

You need to see what the website snippets look like in a search, and determine:

  • place in search results;
  • relevance to request;
  • appearance, attractiveness.
If the information in the snippet does not match the desired, it can be edited.
It is difficult to influence the appearance of snippets since they are compiled automatically by search engines. But you can "help" them to pay attention to the desired piece of text.

The header is the most noticeable element of the snippet. Basically it is formed from Title, so when analyzing it is necessary to look at the content of this Meta Tag. Main characteristics of a proper Title:
1
Title in the page code must be specified. The main part of the tag "Key phrase + call to action" should fall into the visible part of the header - the first 40-50 characters.
2
Writing the site name in the Title is not necessary, as the search engines take into account the domain name.
3
The title should contain search queries relevant to the content of the page. Use keys with a long tail, for example, "Buy a laptop price in Kiev" - this key contains more than 7 different keys. The more keys without re-spam, the better.
4
High-frequency queries must be written at the beginning of the header. Use special characters to highlight it.
5
In the page code, the Title should be placed in the <head> section.
6
Do not use the same Title Meta Tag on two different pages.
7
Do not use the same word more than once.
Description - part of the snippet, which is much more difficult to manage. When analyzing this element, you need to pay attention to the contents of the Description Meta Tag. Requirements of a proper Description:
1
Description should not be the same as Title.
2
Description should contain keywords that relate to this page.
3
Enter the high-frequency keywords in the visible part of the description 130-150 characters.
4
The content of the Meta Tag should briefly convey the semantic load of the page.
5
Description must be unique on every page.
6
Do not repeat the same words in the description.
If the search engine finds your description suitable, it will create a snippet based on it.

Navigation chain – URL (breadcrumbs). A "Beautiful" link gives the user more information about the sections of the website. When analyzing the snippet, you need to pay attention to the appearance of the link. If it looks unattractive, it is worth analyzing the structure of the website, setting up the correct operation of breadcrumbs and human-readable URL.

Even if the website does not have human-readable URL, but you configure the microdata of the breadcrumbs, the search system will process it and display it beautifully in the search results.

Why is it necessary to analyze competitor's snippets

Such an analysis makes it possible to determine which methods your competitors using. It is probably due to these techniques their website attracts many users. What to look for:

  • the appearance of the elements of the snippet (the presence of unusual characters, fonts);
  • the content of the snippet elements (does the competitor use flashy, emotional headlines and descriptions);
  • the regular or extended snippet uses a competitor;
  • how your competitors use the entry on promoted keywords.

Serpstat will help you to find your closest competitors. The report of the "Competitors" service will show the most relevant competitors in the search results.
competitor analysis in Serpstat
After analyzing the competitors, identify their advantages and disadvantages. This is a source of fresh ideas that will help you adjust your strategy for better results.

How to improve the snippet clickability

The position of the site in the SERP directly depends on the clickability, and that is directly related to the appearance of the website in the search results.

What indicators can affect the CTR snippet and how to improve them? There are two main factors:
1
Snippet relevance to search query.
2
The attractiveness of the snippet in the eyes of the user.
Everything is clear with the relevance of the snippet - its content should correspond to the search query as much as possible so that the user wants to go to the website.

Attractiveness is determined by several factors that need to be considered in more detail.

The first element is a data markup. It will allow search engines to highlight important information on the website and show it to users. Read more about markup in this article.

It is great for recipes:
Example of micro-marking a recipe
Articles:
Example of micro-marking a articles
The main thing is do not try too hard it and use microdata for the intended purpose in order not to fall under the sanctions of search engines for spam.

To preview and edit the appearance, you can use the snippet generator - for example, a similar service.

Conclusion

What you need to know about snippet and their analysis:

  • they are generated by search engines automatically, but the content can be influenced;
  • attractive and original snippets will help to improve the clickability in organic search;
  • when analyzing snippets, you need to look at the main elements: title, URL, description;
  • the content of snippets can be influenced by changing the Meta Tags Title, Description, H1, H2;
  • It is necessary to analyze not only our own, but also competitors' snippets in order to find fresh ideas for your website.

This article is a part of Serpstat's Checklist tool
Checklist at Serpstat
Checklist is a ready-to-do list that helps to keep reporting of the work progress on a specific project. The tool contains templates with an extensive list of project development parameters where you can also add your own items and plans.
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