New Improvements to Google's Search Results Page

Tue 24 March 2009 17:25, Barry Adams

New Improvements to Google's Search Results Page

Today Google introduced two new improvements to their results page: better search refinements and longer snippets. Especially the latter feature has interesting repercussions for SEO's.

The first improvement, better search refinements, is "a new technology that can better understand associations and concepts related to your search" and should give you more relevant choices for refining your search query. It's an indication that Google's algorithms are getting better at determining the context of a search query, as well as the context of website content. Automatically judging the proper context of a piece of content is considered the holy grail of the semantic web, so it'll be interesting to see how Google will continue to develop this new technology.

The second improvement is very interesting for search engine optimizers: longer content snippets. For queries of three words or more, Google will now sometimes show three lines of content from the website instead of two. This allows users to more properly judge if a website contains information relevant to the search query before they click the link.

Longer snippets give SEO's more opportunities to gain clickthroughs from search results by making the snippets more relevant to the query. The question remains, where does Google take the snippet text from? Will it be the webpage's content or its meta tags? Should we now lenghten the text we put in the description meta tag? We'll have to wait and see how this new feature will affect clickthrough rates on search engine results pages.


  • Comments (2)
  • Google
  • Tell-a-cowboy

Comments (2)

 

  • Interesting development indeed. I think Google will take most of the text in the snippet from the page itself.

    With longer queries I think it will often be the case that it matches with a page which has more content than an average page has.

    Therefore it is probable that Google takes the matching text from the page and put it in the snippet.

    When you target a specific, longer query with a page and you don't have a lot of content on that page, I think it would be smart to add a longer meta description.

    Another way to look at Google's search result improvements is that they want to keep you on their (ad based) property. With better refinements and a longer snippet, you will spend more time on the SERP, which increases the chance for clicking an ad.

    Wo 25 mrt 2009, 11:35


  • We've been doing similar things at Duck Duck Go (http://duckduckgo.com/) to these new Google changes. In particular, we put zero-click info, e.g. topic summaries, on top of links. We also also put an explore box with related topics above links. For example check out http://duckduckgo.com/?q=futurama

    Our snippets and related topics are not algorithmically driven, however. Instead they are based on human edited sources, e.g. Wikipedia and Crunchbase (and many others). Consequently, they are more relevant and make more sense than Google's info. We also have more semantic properties, such as ambiguous keyword detection, e.g. http://duckduckgo.com/?q=apple, which of course Google does not.

    See http://duckduckgo.com/about.html for some more examples. Of course, we'd love your feedback on what we're doing.

    Gabriel Weinberg, Founder & CEO

    Do 26 mrt 2009, 01:01

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