Google is rolling out a new feature for the about this result overlay that actually tells searchers (and SEOs) why Google is ranking that page for that given query. Yes, Google is telling you which high level ranking factors are the reason this page is ranking.
Google said the “About This Result will show searchers information about some of these most important factors used by Google Search to connect results to their queries.” Why is Google doing this? Google said “because just as these factors help Google decide if a result may be relevant, they may also help people decide what result is useful for them.” As an FYI, I covered this news at Search Engine Land where it broke but this is something that deserves a post here as well.
Google is literally showing why it is ranking this page for this given query. It outlines I think up to nine different “factors” for why the page is ranking. I don’t know all the factors but I do know these:
(1) The search term matches the content on the page or in the HTML (like title tags, etc)
(2) The search term is related (like a synonym) to the content on the page
(3) The search term matches or is related links pointing to that page
(4) The images on the page is related to the search term
(5) The language is relevant to the query (i.e. English queries are more likely to match on English content)
(6) The region of the page or what region the page serves is relevant to the query (i.e. like searching for COVID shot, you probably want to know what is offered in your region; or looking for when your trash is being picked up on your block).
There are probably a few more factors that Google will list, and Google will probably be adding more.
Here is how Google described some of the factors that you’ll see compared to what I wrote above:
- Matching keywords: A simple, but important, factor Google uses to determine if information is relevant is when a webpage contains the same keywords as your search.
- Related terms: Google also looks for terms that our systems determined are related to the words in your query. If you search “how to cook fish in the oven,” we’ll also look for pages that have related terms like “bake” and “recipe.”
- Looking at links: When other pages link to a page using similar words as your query, that page might be relevant to your search. It can also be a helpful indicator of whether online content creators tend to regard the page as useful for that topic.
- Local relevance: Our systems also look at factors like the language you’re using to search as well as your country and location, to deliver content relevant for your area. For example, if you search “what day is trash pickup?,” it’s helpful to get results that are applicable to your city or state.
Here is what it looks like:
Plus, Google will give searchers explicit tips on how to improve their queries when they hover their mouse cursor over the underlined words. Like use negative matching or change your location for different regions and more. Here is a screen shot of that:
What do you think of this?