Google has announced 2 new changes to its search algorithm. The first doesn’t seem new to me, although perhaps there is some nuance I am missing. This is the change whereby they suggest similar searches to help you with your query. Like this…
This is the second step in the Google arsenal to help users change or refine their query. The first is in the predictive text in the search box, where they try to complete your query (in beta testing).
I am not sure where the suggestions are coming from. It seems to be a selection of some of the search terms as per the Google keyword tool, but doesn’t seem to be just the top ones, and some of the suggestions aren’t high volume at all.
The majority of the suggestions here seem to be from branded terms. Which is strange, because if the consumer wanted to choose a brand, surely they would look at the list of search results for car insurance, rather than type in one specific brand in their query. And if they did want to search for a brand, they surely would have done that in the first place?
The technology might be better explained in this post from Search Engine Land, which goes into more detail regarding the new Orion technology which has made these changes to search possible. While I am not initially impressed by this announcement (as it doesn’t seem useful to me, or ‘new’), I will suspend my judgement as they say they will be doing ongoing refinement which could result in something better.
The second change is that if you type a long query into the search box, Google will now offer you a longer snippet, so that you can see how all the words in your big long query are addressed on the page. Check out this big long 4 line snippet here…
I wouldn’t expect that this longer snippet will have much of an impact on search at first, considering that such a small proportion of people type in search queries longer than three words. However, as the internet gets bigger, more crowded, and users become more discerning, perhaps longer queries will be the way forward, and Google is just getting a jump on that.