Why Structure Matters

Last Update: May 17, 2015

While we are creating content on our website, we frequently lose sight of what exactly is the point of our activity.

The point, of everything we do, is the SERP, the Search Engine Results Page.

The SERP is ... THE ONE AND ONLY connection we get to make between us and the searcher.

There are only 3 items on a SERP entry. We need to maximise the impact and value of each and every one of them. Whether it's an SEO hit or a PPC ad, the structure and function is identical.

Let's take a closer look at each item, and see how it gets to be there.

1. The first line, in blue:

In the SERP entry it behaves like the headline of our ad. It gets there from the title of our web page. So, every page we create must have a title that stands out as the headline on the SERP. As with all headlines, the function is to make the searcher STOP. To pause, for a second. To take a closer look.

2. The last few lines, in black:

Called a "snippet" (or "prefetch") it behaves like the text message of our ad. It gets there from the first few lines of our content on our page. So, every page we create must have these opening few lines that stand out as the message on the SERP. As with all messages, the purpose is to make the searcher curious enough to want more information. That's what makes him click on it.

3. The middle line, in green:

I've left this til last because it is probably the most misunderstood element of any content creator. It is NOT just "the URL". It is the URL of THE PAGE.

It is NOT the URL of the site, but the URL of THE PAGE on the site.

That's why I've shown 3 SERP entries in the picture above, so it is abundantly clear that the URL is a PAGE URL, not a SITE URL.

Why do I lay this on so thick and heavy? Because knowing this fact enables us to focus each page content on what is stated in the title of the page. Because that's how the SERP displays it. One page, one topic.

When we create content we all have a tendency to "blur the edges", to "wander off" the central topic. to stray into peripheral and overlapping content.


Our one and only connection with our audience is just those 3 lines on the SERP. Remembering this, we should be able to keep "the page", whose URL is referenced in the SERP, focused on "the content contained in the snippet".

By having 2 or more pages, each covering different but closely related topics, it is very likely that our site can achieve 2 or more entries on a single SERP. That is SERIOUS ranking.

A Final Note:

We type in words when we search. These words show up in BOLD on the SERP.

If someone searches for XYZ, and our page title is XYZ, then the whole top line of the SERP entry has XYZ in bold. And if XYZ is in the snippet as well, then XYZ is shown in bold there too.

Ideally we want the whole SERP entry to light up in bold, telling the searcher he has hit a gold mine and he needs to click that link right now.

If we keep this in mind while creating our content it helps us keep the page content, and the site structure, tightly controlled.

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FionaD Premium
This is great Chris. You have clarified something I was confused about. Also I notice a lot of the time that the keywords are lit up in bold even though they are random in the snippet not consecutive. I thought our keywords needed to make grammatical sense and not randomly sprinkled through the first few lines?
ChrisGooden Premium
The difficulty you are having is because you need to separate out two entirely different things.

One is that you are writing for a reader. That's why the words you use need to make grammatical sense. He does not want to read garbled crap.

The other aspect is what words does the searcher use when he implements his search? Sometimes they use grammatical sense. Sometimes they don't. But they generally intend something sensible and comprehensible.

When you say that you "notice a lot of the time" that the lit words are random, that's because you asked for them to be random. You have a choice when you conduct a search.

Type the words into the search bar, and the default is "find these words at random".

If you don't want them to be random then put the words in quotes. You'll get an entirely different answer.
FionaD Premium
Wow I never knew that. I wonder how many people know that they are doing the random word search? Why don't I know this?
And I did hazard a guess after I wrote this that the grammar was for the reader - I thought it was for the search engine. I'm learning, I'm learning! Thank you again. :)
MaggieJoy Premium
Thanks for providing great content, Chris. Much appreciated.
Christabelle Premium
This is a great post, thank you! :) The image is great!
Timard Premium
Great info thanks Chris.
bradmiller Premium
Thank you for this important information - it does create a very important road map, especially just starting the post or page - very critical but as you say overlooked. Thank you, good stuff to keep in mind and focus on. So many times we tend to look for "bigger", flashier" impact things to rank and bring traffic - and it is the "little" yet ultra important things like this that we overlook or downplay that can be our undoing.
ChrisGooden Premium
Next time you get the chance, take a look at a Jumbo Jet. It's HUGE.

Then look at the back end, there's a thin strip of metal (called the tail fin) that gives the pilot the ability to control the plane's up and down movement.

Then look at the tail fin, there's a thin strip of metal (called the elevator) that gives the pilot the ability to move the tail fin up and down.

Then look at the elevator, there's a thin strip of metal (called a trim tab) that gives the pilot the ability to move the elevator up and down.

Little things, big impact.