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.

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