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New Google SERP Features

Cater to Intent-Based Search

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Google recently announced 2 new improvements to Google Search. The first is an expanded list of related searches, and the second is the addition of longer search result descriptions.

The company says it’s deploying a new technology that better understands associations and concepts related to searches. Google explains:

…one of its first applications lets us offer you even more useful related searches (the terms found at the bottom, and sometimes at the top, of the search results page).

For example, if you search for [principles of physics], our algorithms understand that "angular momentum," "special relativity," "big bang" and "quantum mechanic" are related terms that could help you find what you need.

Google says it’s able to target more queries, more languages, and make suggestions more relevant to what users are looking for. We’ve heard Google talk about wanting to get better with intent-based search, and it looks like they’re now doing something about it.

"Additionally, we’re now offering refinements for longer queries — something that’s usually a challenging task," says a post on the Official Google Blog. The feature is available in 37 languages all around the world."

As for the longer snippets, users will see them when they search for longer queries (which users are using more of these days). They will display more text to show more of the keywords used in the query and how they are used on the page.

These changes may not be the final word in intent-based search. The "java" example discussed by Bruce Clay late last year isn’t addressed very well here. The related searches suggested when I search for that keyword do not include coffee or country related items. Still, the features are an indication that Google is indeed looking in this direction.

Sidenote: Mike McDonald sat down with Bruce Clay again at Search Engine Strategies last week and dicussed the subject of intent-based search among other things:

The longer snippets feature is not exactly delivering more relevant results than before, but it could go a long way toward helping users determine if results in fact  are relevant by giving them more info to reach a conclusion.

Tell us what you think about Google’s SERP changes.

New Google SERP Features


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  • http://www.blastingart.com Art

    Why do i have a feeling that possibly they are making SEO and rankings tougher and tougher.

    • http://southaussies.com Adelaide SEO

      Thats because its true. SEO is a manipulation of their search results. The dont like people doin SEO, they want natural link building to determin what site is better than another.

      • http://www.blastingart.com Art

        I guess ur right abt that.

  • http://www.21stsoft.com seo web developers

    The focus of your pages will remain the same – benefit oriented, persuasive content will draw clicks and if your page content truly shows that you can solve the visitors problem you’ll get more conversions.

  • http://www.intrakitdesigns.com Luke Deer

    It seems Google is getting closer and closer to an artificial intelligence. The way they can better interpret more than the words or terms you’re searching for but you intended context is impressive to say the least. It will be interesting to see if any of these “features” also means sites will rank different.

  • http://www.badcreditfyi.com Bryant

    In one shape or form anyone with a little knowledge of SEO can game google, which the encourage. If it wasn’t for google adsense then I am sure the search results would be a lot diffrent then what they are now.

  • http://seoservicecompany.net Search Engine Optimization Company

    We are india based SEO Company. We found people are using long and relevant keywords for their search. Good effor by Google – econceptinfotech.com

  • http://www.hirendesai.com Hiren Desai

    As a common man…. the first thing i can think of is… we will have lesser search results on each page … and i think SEO managers won’t be too happy about thic change … If we were getting 10 to 12 search results earlier, now thanks to the new SERP feature we might miss out 1 or 2 results on every page… All the best all you SEO guru’s :)

  • http://consignmentpal.com Consignment Pal Resale Directory

    Allowing longer search queries makes me think of the eBay auction titles with rich keywords. These work rather well.

    Although there may be only be 8 results per page now, reading an extra line in the search results beats going to the website and being disappointed.

  • http://www.techknowl.com techknowl

    I recently experienced an increased number of related results for each Google search .Thats makes the search hassle free .

  • http://makemoneyonlinefreenoww.blogspot.com TriNi

    Hey thanks for this article!

    I’m subscribed for your updates by email and I’m always learning something new from all your newsletters!

    Thanks a bunch and keep up the great work!

  • http://www.tanzaniasafarisafrica.com Tanzania Safari

    Google is getting better every other day. I hope that one day it doesn’t become to complicated for an ordinary internet surfer.

  • http://softwarecritics.info math delane

    If Google continues this intent-based search feature, then, longer queries would yield more relevant search results and filter-out irrelevant ones making it easier for users to find what they’re looking for. Other than that, if intent-search based results would benefit more pages with relevant content to appear on the first 8 of the search results page for every query, it would make sense that pages with significant content rank higher than keyword stuffed pages. If this process becomes stable, then everybody with good content will have a better chance of ranking in search engine results. On the other hand, would it be better if PR should be reconstructed based on intent-based search results and relevancy rather than giving much weight on older pages? If this would happen, newer websites will have the same edge as older sites and the only battle is relevancy in search results.

  • http://www.sexepositions.com Mike Ra

    Always concept your website for your visitors! If your site’s content is useful for your visitors, Google will eventually rank your site for its niche.. you won’t have to worry about seo.

  • http://trinispice.net Ryan Persad

    This is indeed a great move with google , this will set it apart from the other search engines.

  • Ajay

    According to the new SERP features of google, can we now write longer title and descriptions ?

    so far it has been like this;
    title: 80 characters
    description : 160 characters.

  • http://www.mymotorcyclehelmetstore.com motocross helmets

    Does this mean we will have less results per page? Longer descriptions would indicate that google might go along this way.

  • http://artinvestment.ru/ quick trick

    This is the feature which we have long waited for. Previously, on the basis of rather sketchy information, it was very hard to decide whether the item is the thing you are looking for. And it will now be much easier to optimize the content in the light of this possibility.

    Thanks a lot.

  • http://www.4adesign.com TDPRO

    Im not for anything until I know what it is and how much time and money it costs me.

  • http://www.visionefx.net Rick Vidallon

    Google is scraping it’s ‘Google Suggest Feature’. (Old wine in a new sack). May I suggest a REAL improvement? Separate out ‘Directories’ as a distinct and unique search. The top left Google cat. links would look like this; Web Images Maps News Video Gmail Directories more ?

    Many directories are nothing more than information and in some cases, advertising that has been aggregated and re-packaged. Most of these these are Ad Sense, cess-pool sites. Only a handful of directories are really worth browsing… so users looking for these will gladly click the top navigation to find them.

  • http://www.trafficsecrets101.com SwissJohn

    These updates are great news for anyone who puts the time and energy into creating good content and a well focused site. Also good news for those that target the long tail keywords with relevant content.

    SEO is not about manipulating the search engines but giving the search engines what they want and Google make it very clear in announcements like this exactly what it wants!

    John

  • http://www.VerticalMeasures.com Link Building

    Both of these are nice small improvements for the searcher. Companies should be careful to use the description tags wisely.

  • http://dmsoft-wy.com Webmaster @ DMSOFT-WY.COM

    Before I am willing to invest anymore in what Google has, they need to fix/improve services they already have first. I am a results oriented person and do not care at all at the process as long as it’s fast and sweet and to the point.

    Google has gotten too big and too arrogant with it’s customer base. Responses are slow, and just try to contact one of them directly. Just try. Customer service is the number one reason why big companies like AOL and Prodigy lost the majority of it’s membership. You just can’t ignore your customers and you need to provide easy and prominent features to communicate directly with customers. If your excuse (as Google posts in their forums quite frequently) that the volume is too big to handle, then you have grown too big for your own good. You need to grow your customer services enough to meet the demand.

    Unfortunately, I can’t give Google a favorable recommendation on any of it’s services just yet. I have yet to see results on what I do use.

  • http://www.straightalk.biz STRAIGHTALK

    i really don’t even worry bout that tech shit..

    http://www.google.com/search?q=sophia+flecha&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

    Ok I had a baby girl 4 days ago! right search her name.. this was done in five minutes.. So If you have problems w/ getting Ur Biz or personal web page check me out Norman Flecha or STRAIGHTALK..

    Anyways the is My true 4 day old baby girl named Sophia Flecha.

    Webmaster website optimization

    • http://www.melbourneonline.com.au Mark – Melbourne SEO

      If I was optimising for a keyphrase nobody else wanted I’d spend about five minutes too. The corporate world is very different.

  • http://www.hostacuity.com SEO Acuity

    Good? good for what, for who? More than likely good for Google only. Now, mind you I am a search engine optimization junkie and I get my clients to the (1) top three for their best search terms WHEN the client does what i suggest or require and i have an excellent understanding of their algo but they still suck.

  • http://www.exboyfriendhelp.com ex boyfriend help

    I think especially the longer snippets are a great idea, this will improve the searcher’s ability to choose quality content at a glance without having to try a lot of links. Better customer experience is what they are looking for, which has always been their core business and they are smart to keep it that way.

    @Art: If it means that SEO will become more of a “quality content race” instead of a “keyword stuffed domain name + link spamming race” then I applaud it. I prefer working on quality content, and hate all the “link building” that is involved at the moment.

  • http://www.humer.biz Marc Humer

    I am search engine specialist not only for google but also yahoo and msn. At this time the most efficent search engine is msn since it is indexing content the right way (check recherches at seochat.com ’bout the details). But that is not the point.

    Finding needed sources with google is also very easy if you do not use it as a search engine but as a find engine. I do never enter questions but answers (which I imply how they could be given to my questions) – I tell you what – I do not even KNOW the second page on google nor do I have to scroll – the first three hits are almost every time the wanted.

    If used in this mannor google is a quite useful tool and the above written new features/goodlets are surely a good thing.

    I guess for those who did not use the machine correct it does not appear to have any effect at all. But they won’t have more success in using other search engines either.

    You ask me – Google is a more the swiss knife – good enough for quick use – while MSN is the screw driver – more specialized, not so many facettes but any screw will sit perferct.

    Regarding the “wellknown” advantage – even googling is established as a NEW WORD – google is quite important. But only to every day people. If they are your target group – it’s okay.

  • http://1www.seowaukeshawebdesign.com Web Design Waukesha

    I think this hastens the continued decline and relevance of short-tail searches. The best CTRs and conversions are achieved through long-tail searches, and these improvements will increase the relevance of long-tail.

  • http://www.acoolkid.com Kids Adirondack Chairs

    I like these additions. Not only for better results (of my site) but as a constant Google searcher. Seems like a win/win for webmasters and more importantly, for searchers.

  • Christopher Farrell

    I recently wrote an article in Ezine reference 3D search engines :

    http://ezinearticles.com/?Do-We-Need-a-3D-Search-Engine?-How-About-a-Virtual-Google-Avenue-Or-Yahoo-Shopping-Mall?&id=1776522

    This 3D concept may be a bit futuristic for Google(?) et al, although research is underway elsewhere.

    But I I don’t understand why, as mentioned in the article, they cannot include multiple search boxes enabling the searcher to drill down and define (if required) their search then cache the pages for comparison later.

    Makes finding a cheap holiday (for example, as used in the article) a lot easier when you can really define your search in multiple search boxes, check and cache the results for further analysis later…

    See the above ezine article for a complete explanation…

    I got in touch with google some time ago, but no reply (as if it was expected)…

    …what do you think, is it too much to ask?

    Comments?

  • http://best-relationship-advice.com Best-Relationship-Advice

    Keywords especially in the content are always important in SERP, but now it seems that Keyword relevancy is going to play a more and more important role in SERP.

    What is relevancy in keywords would not only restrict to synonyms but also include relavant vocubulary/jargon in specific disciplines.

    It would give a lot more hardwork for SEO copy writers if one wants to achieve high keyword density and thereby high position in SERP.

  • http://www.thebookabyss.com.au Australian Online Bookshop

    With even more options for the searcher to navigate away from the results page, these changes make it even more important for companies to be on the first page.

  • http://www.NationalShowTickets.com David

    Google is always improving on what appears to be the best search engine but they can’t be the best if they don’t comtinue to improve and Google has done just that. The people at Google are always working on improving what they have and the results they serve so just another example of always optimizing your pages so that “everything matters” so that the small change you make can make a big difference. If all your pages are optimized then every improvement they make will improve your ranking.

    David

  • http://www.stainless-steel-cooking.com Stainless steel cooking

    I am seeing more traffic from really long keywords than before. This is also nice for the SEO on long tail terms will deliver more traffic than before, if I am reading this post correctly.

  • http://www.fresasychocolate.com Lenceria Mujer

    Google is doing a maximum effort to deliver good and reliable results but I wonder when they are going to reduce the time web crawlers take to visit updated pages.

    I wish time were a parameter to pay attention to in future updates, I most of the time take to Search Rss in order to get a fresh results when searching for almost real time events.

    Congratulations to all the answers, really appreciated also.

  • http://www.longbeachrealestatehome.com/ Laurie

    None of the changes that Google has made so far have injured my search results. If anything they have either stayed the same or were enhanced. My site remains at the top of the engines for both short and long tail.

    Like Google continually tells everybody, there is no substitute for relevant content. Keep providing it and Google will keep providing for you.

  • http://www.cluey.com.au Cluey

    SERP descriptions are the second most important factor (after Title) on which viewers decide whether to click through … or not.

    Longer and better descriptions provide a great opportunity to position a business and sell yourself.

    That means viewers have more detail with which to make a decision on whether your site is useful to them.

    And that makes for better quality traffic.

    Sounds like a win-win all around to me.

  • http://www.fishtank-aquarium.com fishtank-aquarium

    I like the idea. Targeting will be more specific. It might change a few things but that is always the case. In the long run it will work for everyone.

  • http://www.seocompany101.com seo company

    win-win solution for searcher and advertiser. looking for good and relevant content and quality of content. use long tail keyword would be your benefit and more specific SEO technique must applied

  • http://www.nichesocializertest.com/ Niche Socializer

    It’s good to see Google moving forward. These improvements seems small but they are important. For one, I love the longer description as a use, it’s so much more informative when you’re searching. And at the same time as a webmaster I’m glad the visitors have a better chance to find my site.

  • http://seoprovn.blogspot.com SEOprovn

    Thanks for your post. It’s great!

  • http://bizintros.com Ap

    What makes google great is their ability to understand it’s users: searchers and advertisers.

    I particular like the did you mean feature of google but it indenities mistakes as oftens as it identifies useful alternatives.

    I can imagine related search results as in if I look up starting a business, hiring a business coach could be a related term that helps me with my user intent search.

    My question though is: when did google become smarter than the user?

  • http://www.wsiseoexpert.com Internet Marketing Expert Norfolk VA

    I, like most SEOs, read this new development with mixed emotions. every time Google makes a major shift in its search results, the ripple effect can be felt everywhere. I this case, I wonder how description meta data will integrate with the expanded snippets. Should we be writing longer meta description tags with the expectation that Google will look there first for its longer snippet?

  • http://dominatingseo.net/blog/ Dominating SEO

    Hi Chris,

    I think Google is improving its SERPs quality day by day and thats what make them grab highest % of users around d world.

    I feel its a nice step to improve quality of results.

    -DS

  • http://www.theapus.com/ Pachaiyappan Subramanian

    Nice to hear. This should be a basic feature in SE algorithms so that science, geography or any other subject related queries would fetch accurate results on top.

  • http://www.SalesOnlineWorld.com Search Marketing Company

    Both these SERP updates are going to help us as well as clients in acquiring more customers who are really targeting the products. If someone is searching for a specific product or service, they’re definitely going to get it in one way or the other from Google.

    Lets hope for the best!

  • http://www.vestasoft.ir/CyberLMS.aspx ????? ?????

    but what about other languages like chinese,hindi,arabic,..?
    it requires a vast effort and research to do this!
    can google realy do this?

  • http://www.silverf0x.com SILVERF0X

    I think this improvement will make user search more details and spesific. Will create more organic traffice. Nice

  • http://www.proximasystemsindia.com Proxima

    Isn’t this an extension of using the lexical keyword algorithm google already had in place ?

    Nevertheless, good to see that they are expanding in the way it will be more useful users.

    In Reference to what Marc said earlier, I used to find my answers mostly in ask.com as typing long keywords din’t fetch much desired results for me. Now that google is targetting the long tail keywords, hopefully this is going make life easier for searchers. I would like to stick to google as much as i can , going to other search engines like ask.com wasn’t something i desire.

  • http://www.bangmp3.com Elias

    looks like it has some advantages and some disadvantages…. I think we will have a clear picture in due time after comparing results and traffic….

  • http://jhangora.blogspot.com Jhangora

    It is a welcome addition. We know that a purely semantic web/search engine is not possible due to the manpower needed. Google is still the best search engine.

  • http://www.sydneymedia.net Internet Video Marketing Australia

    This tweak will allow more targeting of keywords that google recommends…maybe its a good thing??

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