SEO Trends: Google Updates Search Results Page
Google has recently updated its search engine results page. They have added a left-hand column with links that help the user narrow down their search results. The new look has received a lot of protests and complaints on the Web, but honestly, what Google has done will ultimately enhance the users search experience. Google is torn between two philosophies: the first is simplicity and the second is guidance both of which have huge implications on SEO.
The Simplicity Principle
The simplicity principle states that Google is to hide the complexity of search for its users. This is the major idea behind Universal Search, where Google uses a mixture of search results from its various search indexes: news, web sites, images, blog posts, photos, etc.
The major problem with Universal Search is that the initial search result page becomes a complex collaboration of different types of content. A user may not be looking for videos or images. They may be searching for the latest news regarding a specific topic, and if this is the case recent blog posts and news search result are more likely to be relevant.
Google does its best at guessing what a user is looking for, but the search engine cannot read minds.
The Guidance Principle
The guidance principle states that Google needs to help users narrow down their search results in ways that are not overly complex or confusing.
Adding a left hand column with links achieves this principle.
Ask was one of the first search engines to add a column for narrowing down search results. We liked the idea at the time and still do. Ironically, Ask changed its mind and copied Google’s simplistic results page.
Microsoft embraced Ask’s good idea with its Bing search engine or “decision engine.”
Google clearly thought ask was on to something and started experimenting with a left hand column of its own. Hiding it behind the “show option” link.
The new and permanent column is simpler and easier to read than the one it replaced.
Colorful Icons Signifying Databases
A number of colorful and clear icons at the top allow you to narrow your search down to Google’s individual databases: Books, Images, Blogs and News.
A click on the “Everything” link brings you back to the more traditional mixed Universal Search results. The “More” link brings additional search databases: Maps (Google Maps), Videos (Google Video Search), Shopping (Google Products), Updates (real time search) and more.
Addition Search Filters
Below the icons Google has added links that help you limit the search to more recent results, list related search queries, reduce the number of shopping sites, list translate search results from pages written in another language and filter visited and non-visited pages.
You can also choose to receive search results with page previews, a time line, advanced time filtering, listings nearby and a wonder wheel. Most searchers will not use nor notice these new alternatives but those of us who do care will find many of these alternatives very useful.
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