Google now lists factors it uses to rank a result in the about this result section.
The terms matched on the web page and your query, Google Search now shows including ones that are related but not direct matches. Also listed are links from other websites influenced the ranking, related images, geographical reasons for the result ranking and more. There are several factors this section can disclose when discussing why Google ranks a specific page in its search results.
Also listed are search tips to help you refine your query if discovered the result does not meet your desired outcome.
Factors That Google Displays. Google did not reveal all the factors it shows but here are the ones I spotted while testing:
- Search terms that appear in the result. For this, Google shows you what terms were matched from the searcher’s query to the content and/or HTML on the web page that Google ranked. Matches are not just the visible content but also can be words in the HTML, like the title tag or other meta data.
- Search terms related to your search. Not only will Google match based on your exact query but also terms “related” to the query.
- Other websites with your search terms link to this result. This is where sites that have these search terms on their pages and links, actually link to the result listed in the Google Search results. Links are still used by Google for ranking purposes.
- Images related to your search are in the result. Google will also look at the images on the page to establish if those images, maybe the filename of the image, are on that page and are linked to your query.
- This result is [Language]. Language is important and right now this is an English only feature. Upon expansion, Google will show other languages as well. If you search in Spanish, Google may be more likely to show you results in Spanish. Or if you search in Mexico, Google may show you Spanish results as well.
- This result is relevant for searches in [region]. Google can utilize searcher’s location, the site’s location and the query to establish if the searcher intends to find a web page that is more relevant to a specific region
Search tips. Google will also allow searchers to hover their mouse cursor over underlined words in the box to get searches
Google can offer a number of search tips that are specific to the query and the “about this result” box for that page.
Rolling out. Google is now rolling this out in the U.S. for English results. Google says it will expand this to more countries and languages overtime.
Google is investing in the search result so clearly many are using it. Google did relay this result feature has been viewed hundreds of millions of times but would not share what percentage of users have used it.
Why you should care. Marketers always wanted to know why Google ranked a specific site for a given query. Google is now giving detailed clues into why it ranked that site for that query with this new box. Of course, this is not detailed ranking weights and signals, but it does tell you if the words match or match closely, if people link to the site, if there are geo-specific reasons and more.
From the searcher’s viewpoint, it might help to understand why Google ranked a result and provide more confidence through transparency for Google and its searchers.