Google Now Shows Ranking Factors on Search Results

BY Kerrie Spencer

Google Now Shows Ranking Factors on Search Results


Google now shows reasons why they ranked pages on search results. This is a gift for those in your law firm's search engine optimization (SEO) experts and the firm's marketing specialists. This new information provides an immediate window into what factors Google uses to display results for an online query.

Currently, this new rollout is only in English, but it is destined to be released in other languages over time.

This new feature can improve your firm's ranking in Google search results, improve marketing decisions and enhance content. While it will take time and effort to improve rankings, the new information can make your firm's efforts much more informed and targeted.

SEOs and marketers always want to know why Google ranked a site the way it did. Until now, this Google's ranking factors were kept relatively secret. The new update can show the terms Google matched on the web page and a user's query, including the related terms but not direct matches. Google also lists if links from other sites affected the ranking, if the results had related images, if there were geographical reasons for the result ranking and more.

For a law firm or law firm marketing specialist, knowing the factors that Google uses to return pages means updating the firm's website to be more relevant for prospective and existing clients.

Where To Find Google's Reasons for a Search Result

To find the ranking factors for a search result in the "About This Result Box." However, you may not have seen it yet. This new change was launched in February 2021, and it is slowly making its way into the mainstream. Previously, the About This Result only displayed information about the content source and whether the website's connection was secure.

This latest addition to Google's toolbox shows the terms it matched on a web page and your query. That also includes related terms but not direct matches. Of interest to SEOs, law firms and marketing gurus are that Google now lists links from other websites that influenced the ranking, if there are related images and whether the results are related geographically.

Google has also added a search tips function to help a searcher refine their question if what comes back was not what they wanted or thought they would get. Below is an example of what the About This Result Box looks like.

What Search Factors Google Shows?

The rollout of this new tool is still in progress, so all of the factors Google uses have not been released yet. Some of the factors currently used include:

• Search terms that appear in the result. Google will show what terms were matched from a searcher's query to content and/or HTML on the site.
• Search terms related to your search. Not only will Google match terms based on your exact query but also terms related to that query.
• Other sites with the search term link to the result. Google is showing other websites with your search terms link to the result returned. Google still uses links for ranking purposes.
• Related images to the search. Google is checking if the images on a page, or the file name of the photos, are related to the search.
• The result is [Language]. Google now also says what language the search results are in. Currently, the results are in English. Expanding this feature is intended to show other languages.
• The result is relevant to searches in [Region]. Google shows that a result is relevant for searches done in a specific region. They may use the searcher's or the site's location and the question being asked to figure out if the searcher wants information more relevant to a specific region.

Search Tips 

Search tips can be helpful, and Google now allows searchers hover over underlined words in the box to receive search tips to help narrow their results to be more relevant. They can offer tips specific to a query and the "About This Result" box for that page.

Look for This New Google Search Functionality Now

Google is rolling out this improved search function in the United States for those searching for English results. Full U.S. coverage should be completed soon. Eventually, Google expects to expand this feature to more countries, employing more languages.

For SEOs and law firm marketers, this new Google search function opens the door to determine how Google determines relevance on a per-result basis. This is a goldmine of information available to implement for increasing ranking and conversions.

Kerrie Spencer

Kerrie Spencer is a staff contributor to Bigger Law Firm Magazine.


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