Lesson 2: Google search results page – SEO for beginners training

By | September 15, 2019


We can safely state that literally almost
everyone has seen the Google results page. We all know that you can enter
your search query at the top and that search results
are displayed below. But there’s more to it than meets the eye. Do you know what elements search results
consist of exactly? And did you know you actively need
to provide Google with extra information to create some of them? In this video, we’re going to take you
through the Google results page to make sure you’re up to speed
on snippets, featured results, knowledge graphs, etcetera. In a later module, called “rich results”,
we’ll tell you more about rich results and how to get them. For now, let’s explore the basics. Below the search bar
in which you enter your queries is a menu which gives you
the option of filtering search results. You can filter images,
videos, news, maps, shopping, books, flights and finance. For some companies, it’s interesting to optimize specifically
for one of these options. However, the “all” option
is far and away the most important one, so we’ll focus on that. The first couple of results are often taken
by advertisements. Companies pay Google to show up
in these places. Sometimes there are three ads,
sometimes there are none at all; it all depends on whether companies
are willing to pony up the sum Google has determined
for that keyword. The cost of advertising is related
to the popularity of the search term. Ads are recognizable by the little green box
containing the word ‘ad’. Sometimes, the results are set apart and
you can see the word “sponsored” above it. This can happen when you’re shopping
for clothing, for example. If you want to advertise on Google,
you should check out Google AdWords. For now, we’ll leave it at that. because Search Engine Advertising
is a separate field from SEO, which we at Yoast do not focus on. The organic results
are our bread and butter. SEO is all about trying to claim that number one spot in this part
of the Google search results page. Research shows that as much as a third
of the total traffic comes from the number one result,
and 17% from the second result. That means that about half of the searchers
click one of the first two results. Moreover, 90% of the searchers doesn’t get
beyond the first page of the search results. The numbers steadily decline
for each result. So being at the top of the search results
is hugely important. Now let’s explore
what these search results consist of. We call every separate search result
a snippet. A standard snippet
consists of three elements: the title (in blue), a URL or slug (in green)
and a meta description (in black). In the meta description, you should give a clear description
of what your page is about. Your meta description should entice users
to click the result, so it’s hugely important. With our plugin, you can determine
the title and slug, and give Google a suggestion
for the meta description. Sometimes, there’s more to these snippets
than just these three elements. In that case,
we call the snippet a rich snippet. You’ll learn more about rich snippets
and other rich results later in this course. Sometimes, a snippet is set apart
from the regular search results all the way at the top of the page. This is called a featured snippet. A featured snippet
is a highlighted search box that answers the question you type
into the Google search bar. Featured snippets often appear
as a paragraph or a bulleted list, accompanied by an image. And if you perform voice search, Google may read out the information
in the search results. As voice search
is becoming increasingly popular, it’s becoming more and more important
to aim for featured results. The Knowledge Graph box appears
on the right side of the search results. Let’s look at the Yoast Knowledge Graph,
for example. According to Google, this information
is retrieved from many different sources, including the CIA World Factbook
and Wikipedia. Like featured results, information from the Knowledge Graph
can be used to answer spoken questions in Google Assistant
and Google Home voice queries. We’ll go into Knowledge Graphs
in more detail in the module on rich results. An answer box appears somewhere
between the organic search results. It’ll give suggestions for questions
that relate to the search query you typed in. If you’re searching for Yoast SEO you’ll encounter this answer box
between the organic search results. Clicking on one of the suggestions will give a direct answer
to the specific question you asked. So there you have it! The Google search results page is more
complicated than it seems at first sight. Now that you have an idea
of how Google works, let’s explore the field of SEO and how you can make sure
that you reach that top position!

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