Google lists many of the factors that it used to rank results in its about this result section.
Google now allows users to see a list of factors that influenced the ranking of a search result in search results. This is an extension to the about result box, which was launched in February 2021.
Google Search will show you the terms it matches on the page and the query. This includes terms that are related but not directly matching. Google lists whether links from other websites have influenced the ranking. It also lists related images and if geographical reasons influenced the result ranking. Google stated that this section can reveal many factors when it comes down to ranking a page in search results.
Google lists search tips for this area as well to assist you in refining your query if the result doesn’t meet your expectations.
This is what it looks like. This is how it looks. Google lists many bullet points to explain why it ranked this particular snippet in its “your search and this result” section. As mentioned, the “Source” section is outdated and was created in February.
What are the factors that Google shows? Google didn’t tell us everything it showed, but these are the ones that I noticed while testing.
- Search terms appearing in the result. Google will then show you the terms that were matched by the query and the content or HTML of the page Google ranked. Not only are they visible content, but also words in the HTML such as the title tag and other metadata.
- Search terms that are related to your query. Google will not only match your query but also search terms that are “related”. The query in the above example was “shot”, but Google expanded it to include “vaccine”.
- This result is linked to other websites that have the same search terms. These are the sites with these search terms on their pages, and links, that link to the Google Search result. Google still uses links for ranking purposes, it is evident.
- This search result contains images that are related to your query. Google will also examine the images on this page to determine if they are related to your query.
- This is the result for [Language]. This result is [Language]. Currently, it only shows English, but Google will expand the feature to show other languages. Google might show Spanish results if you search for something in Spanish. Google might also show Spanish results if you search for Spain.
- This result is relevant to searches in [region]. Google might use the location of the searcher, the site’s address and the query to determine whether the searcher is looking for a page that is more relevant in a particular region. The person searching for “get the shot” in Vermont might be looking for local websites that offer vaccines in Vermont. Sometimes, queries can be as simple as a query at the local level. Other times, the region may not be relevant. These details will be displayed by Google.
Search tips. Google will let searchers hover over the underlined words to provide search tips to help narrow down their search results. Google suggests that searchers add a minus sign next to the word “running” to help filter out these words.
Google offers a variety of search tips that can be tailored to your query and the “about the result” box for that particular page.
Now rolling out. This is being implemented by Google in the U.S. to provide English results. We expect that it will be visible in approximately 10% of US-based queries by the time it is published. However, it should be available in about 100% of US queries by next week. Google stated that it would expand this feature to other languages and countries over time.
Google did not disclose how many people actually use the “about this result” feature, but it is clear that Google is expanding its feature list. Google stated that the “about this results” feature was viewed hundreds of millions of times, but did not disclose how many users used it.
Why we care. Marketers and SEOs have always wanted to understand why Google ranked a particular site for a certain query. Google now gives you very detailed clues as to why it ranked the site for that query using this new box. This isn’t a detailed ranking weight or signal, but it will tell you if words match or not closely, if links are made to the site, and if there are any geo-specific reasons.
It might be helpful for a searcher to understand why Google ranked the result that way and allow more trust through transparency.