Part of running a website like this is understanding how search engines like Google works. That makes you notice things. One thing I’ve noticed in the past week is that some webpages now highlight text yellow when you click a Google search result. It’s a good thing for you as an internet user but it does look a bit odd. Here’s the explanation anyway.
SERP: The Search Engine Results Page
Google is a search engine, but searches engines are not Google. There are loads of search engines, but Google is by far the best known and most used in most regions. That’s why I’m using Google from here on out.
When you search for something on Google, you are shown a wide range of results. Out in the online world, this is referred to as a Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Here’s what I get when I look for “best .
Let’s break down what you’re seeing here.
1. Featured Snippets
Featured snippets aim to provide you with a nice and short but detailed result to match your search query. Featured snippets are scraped from websites, so Google doesn’t create this content. It takes the content from websites and adds it to the SERP. These can be lists, instructions or just copy.
The images you see might not necessarily be from the same website.
2. People Also Ask Boxes
These are similar to Featured Snippets in that they take content from websites and bring it into the SERP. The difference is that Google takes related questions to your query and answers them. When you click a related query, you’ll see even more queries appear.
3. Organic Search Results
Back in the day, these would have been the first thing you see after Googling something. These are the websites and pages which Google believe are the second-best answer your query. Just a few months ago, Google stopped repeating a website here if it was used as a featured snippet above.
Google Now Highlights Content From Featured Snippets
With that brief introduction to search engine results pages completed, I can explain why some webpages are highlighted yellow when you visit them. Google us all about user experience. They want to find you the information you want as quickly as possible. That’s why so much content now appears in the SERP. Google believes it’s faster if they just give you the answer and you don’t need to visit the website at all.
To make things even faster when you do have to visit a website, Google has introduced featured snippet highlighting. This is something they’ve been playing with for a long time but it’s just now apparently gone mainstream.
This means when you click that top featured snippet result, Google will bring you to the website from which they’ve taken the content. The difference now is that Google will highlight the content they’ve used in the featured snippet in yellow on the website and scroll straight to it. Also, If you were to click any of the People Also Ask boxes and click through to a website from there, the yellow highlighting doesn’t happen. That’s reserved purely for featured snippet clicks.
This only works if the browser supports it.
Google’s Yellow Highlighting
Here’s this whole thing in action using Goosed.ie as an example. First, I Google looking for the price of Huawei FreeBuds 3i in Ireland which returns our site. Notice that this is still a featured snippet even though it looks quite different from the first example I gave above.
If you click on that featured snippet featuring our content, you’ll then be brought to Goosed.ie. It’ll be the full review but the browser will automatically bring you straight to the part of the article which discusses price. It’ll be highlighted in yellow too, just like this:
Not very exciting, but there you have it. That’s why some websites have their text highlighted yellow when you visit them.