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Google’s “About This Result” Feature

Today we'll talk "about" a very helpful Google feature for figuring out why a search result was surfaced.

Google’s introduction of the ‘About This Result’ feature represents a significant stride towards transparency and user empowerment.

And conveniently, SEO empowerment!

This tool, subtly nestled within the ubiquitous search engine’s interface, offers users a glimpse into the origins and context of the search results presented to them. Google provides key details such as juicy search terms, websites that (ahem!) point at the web page shown, the date the webpage was first indexed, its country of origin, and whether the connection is secure,

Google aims not only to inform but also to foster a more discerning search experience.

As we consider the implications of this feature on the vast ecosystem of users, webmasters, and the broader sphere of search engine optimization, we must contemplate potential shifts in how information is accessed and evaluated.

The question then arises: How will this tool alter the terrain of online search and verification, and what does it suggest about the future of information authenticity?

About About This Result

So, about this, “About This Result”. The central idea is to serve as a transparency tool, providing users with contextual information about the sources of their search results. This initiative underscores Google’s transparency goals by elucidating the origins of results, thereby enhancing users’ (and SEO agency folks’) understanding of the information they encounter online.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about.

In my example, I’ll be doing a search for “office space san ramon”, and checking out the organic (not “sponsored”, or Google Ads) results.

To pop the “About this result” panel, you just click the little “three-dot” menu next to any search result, as pointed to by the orange arrow below:

Where to activate the "About this result" panel

This panel shown below was activated by clicking the little “three-dot” menu:

About this result panel

As you can see, there’s some very helpful information there. It’s also interesting to us SEOs that the first justification is not the search terms used, but rather the fact that the website in question has its own page and, of course, is linked to from that page.

But you know, backlinks don’t matter as much anymore, says Google.

At least they throw a bone to the content, mentioning the inclusion of the keywords office, space, and good ol’ San Ramon, California.

“About this result” reflects a growing demand for transparency in the digital age, where the provenance of online content is often murky. By equipping searchers with background details such as website creation date, location, and whether the site is secure, Google is fostering user empowerment. This is crucial as it allows users to make more informed decisions about the credibility of the information they consume.

The ‘About This Result’ (I’ll call it “ATR” from now on for brevity!) feature represents a significant step in providing essential contextual information within the search experience.

Working Mechanics Explained

So let’s check out the ATR functionality, which leverages Google’s advanced algorithms to generate insightful snapshots of a website’s credibility and history.

Result OriginsShowcases the initial source of information for a result.Enhances transparency.
Transparency EnhancementProvides context on why a result appears in the search.Aids in user understanding.
User EmpowermentEnables users to assess the reliability of search results.Fosters informed decision-making.
Search EducationEducates users on how search algorithms work.Improves search literacy.
Algorithm InsightsOffers explanations of ranking factors.Demystifies search result logic.

This system aims to empower users with a more transparent and educational search experience, delivering not just results but also an understanding of their origins and the factors influencing their presentation.

Benefits for Everyday Users

Google's "About This Result" Feature 1
Just your average, everyday user of Google, reaping the wind from search transparency!

Empowerment surfaces as a key benefit for everyday users of Google’s ATR feature, providing the means to critically evaluate the quality and relevance of search results.

Search Transparency

  • Users gain insight into how and why results are generated.
  • Clarity on the sources of information encourages a more discerning approach to content.

User Empowerment

  • Tools to verify publisher credibility aid in making informed decisions.
  • Enhanced control over search experiences aligns with individual needs and preferences.

Privacy and Trust

  • Understanding data usage builds enhanced trust in the search engine.
  • Privacy considerations are foregrounded, allowing users to navigate the digital space with confidence.

This analytical framework underlies the strategic value Google’s feature offers, reinforcing responsible information consumption.

Impact on Search Engine Optimization

The introduction of ‘About This Result’ necessitates a recalibration of search engine optimization (SEO) strategies as webmasters and content creators adjust to Google’s increased emphasis on transparency and source credibility.

As SEO specialists, we look at how Google prioritizes trust signals (backlinks) within its content and website metadata. It underscores the importance of algorithm understanding, as SEO practices must now account for the explicit presentation of sources (did I mention backlinks?) and data veracity directly in search results.

Google's "About This Result" Feature 2
Could this group of SEOs *be* more empowered?

Webmasters striving to adapt will foster user empowerment by providing clear, authoritative information that satisfies Google’s criteria for trustworthiness. SEO experts who most quickly embrace these changes and implement them into their SEO tactics are likely to gain a competitive edge in the ever-evolving landscape of search engine rankings.

Evaluating Source Reliability

Assessing the reliability of online sources has become a critical component of navigating the wealth of information available through Google’s search engine.

Source Credibility

  • Authority of the content creator: Check for the author’s credentials and expertise in the subject matter.
  • Citation of reputable sources: Reliable information often references established research or statistics.

Misinformation challenges

  • Prevalence of fake news: Easily spread false information requires users to be vigilant.
  • Social media amplification: Misinformation can gain traction when shared widely on social platforms.
  • Separation of opinion vs. fact: Is the source merely citing opinions of cultural influencers, or is it citing reputable hard data?

Editorial standards and content verification

  • Fact-checking importance: Cross-referencing information with trusted fact-checking organizations.
  • Transparent editorial processes: Publishers should display clear editorial guidelines and review processes.

Future Implications and Updates

As Google continues to refine its ‘About This Result’ feature, the potential to enhance users’ discernment of information quality represents a pivotal shift in online search dynamics.

Enhancing search transparency, the feature could evolve to provide deeper insights into Google’s ranking algorithms, offering a level of algorithm clarity previously unseen.

This progression may lead to greater user empowerment (now I’m sweating, I feel so damn powerful!!) as individuals gain access to tools necessary for critical evaluation of search result legitimacy and relevance.

Google's "About This Result" Feature 3
Yes, future SEOs will feel more empowered, but they’ll be just as lonely.

Moreover, as the feature advances, Google must balance increased transparency with privacy considerations, ensuring that user data remains protected.

Ensuring feature accessibility will be key in democratizing the benefits of ‘About This Result’ across diverse user groups, ultimately contributing to an informed and discerning global user base.

Telling You What I Told You About About This Result

The introduction of Google’s ‘About This Result’ feature marks a significant stride towards enhancing digital literacy and transparency in the realm of search.

By providing users with tools to assess the reliability of sources, Google not only helps individuals in their quest for information but also influences the landscape of Search Engine Optimization, necessitating a reevaluation of strategies.

The ongoing evolution of this feature suggests a commitment to continuous improvement in the accuracy and trustworthiness of online search results.

And empowerment.

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