The Anatomy of a Google Search Result



When I get to explain the pieces of a Google search to people, it often results in an Aha! moment.


We take it for granted these days that we ask Google a question and it answers it. No time is spent thinking where these pieces of highly useful information come from. Why would we? We are in far too much of a hurry to get to the content we want.


And that word Content is the key. As a website owner, it is incredibly useful to understand where the pieces of a Google Search result come from. It’s not particularly complex, which makes the Aha! all the more fun.


Here are the pieces of the search result and where they come from.




Blue Text Link at the top of the result.
This is the Meta Title from the page on the website. Often it is the homepage that shows up earliest in search results, so it is the homepage Meta Title that is most likely to be seen. I.e. it is the most important one!


Green Webpage Link below the Title link.
Often it is the homepage that shows up earliest in search results, so it is the homepage URL that shows here. Something like If your website ranks particularly well, more of your pages will show in the search results. The full URL will show. So the filename of the page will also be readable. Something like This is one reason to give your filenames nice long tail descriptive names when you create new pages on your website. All this information can be read by potential visitors as they scan search results deciding what to click.


Black Summary Text below the Green URL Link.
Most people assume this is a bit of text taken from the page. And that is true. Google will take a piece or pieces of the page content that matches with the key phrase searched.  However! Write a good content relevant Meta Description for the page and it will appear here instead! Think about that for a moment… Here is your opportunity to literally write your own little advert for every page on your website. Especially the homepage and popular pages that rank well in the searches.


These are the key three pieces of the anatomy of a Google Search Result.


There are of course other things that appear on the page. Below a link there may be a Google+ page link, or to the right Google Places For Business listing images and information. Google may place Google Maps and Google Images results if they are relevant. Sometimes Google plays around with the format of the search result page and things can change.


Hopefully you’ve had a great Aha! moment today.