SERPs - Google Changes Again
SERPs or Search Engine Results Pages are the screens Google serves up when you do a search.
Even since the launch of Google Instant five weeks ago, they've introduced a number of significant changes to their search results display:
1. Source of materials for Snippets. "Snippets" are the two lines of descriptive material on a Google search page listing, in between the title and the link. For several years, if you used a meta description tag (a piece of behind the scenes code), you could tell Google exactly how you wanted this to read. Now, Google may or may not use that. If the description tag doesn't include the search term, but copy on the page does, Google is likely to use copy from the page.
The big improvement here is that the snippet will vary and be more appropriate to the particular search.
2. More than two listings. For about a year, Google has been VERY reluctant to show more than two pages from a website on page one of its search results. The idea was to serve up a variety of listings to try and ensure they got what people were looking for.
This is clearly less true, especially on less competitive searches, we are seeing Google serve up three pages listings.
3. Indent of multiple pages. It has been Google's practice when it lists two pages for a site to indent the second one. That is now true only part of the time.
4. Rich snippets. You will sometimes see an extra line with links to internal pages. Google set up a way to communicate to them information that they would then use for these links and some other SERPs material. What has changed is they are more often figuring out and displaying these so-called "rich snippets" without the website doing anything special.