Greater transparency? Google’s latest move in terms of search results could be understood in that direction. The company just announced that its search results will be accompanied by new functionality. It is called About This Result and, for the moment, it will only work in searches that are made in English in the United States (but as usual in these cases, Google has already indicated that it hopes to take the tool to more places and more Internet users in the next few months).
The system will work as a kind of explanation of why the information that is served to the user is seen. When the Internet user clicks on the three dots that accompany most of the search results that Google serves after a request for information, a new window will be displayed.
The window will give more information about the site that offers this information, but also about the search process and why the user is offered that specific result. For example, what search terms and keywords Google took into account or in which locations the result is relevant.
What information will it show
It is not an exact explanation of why this result is highlighted (Google is not revealing the secrets of its algorithm) but it is an approximate explanation that gives much more data to an Internet user for whom that information was mysterious.
For an SEO expert, it is not that Google reveals something that they did not yet know, but for the average Internet user it will function as a window into how things work. According to Google, the information that will be offered will be linked to the elements that are most decisive to offer a search result and not another. These factors are the keywords, which match those of the text with those of the search; related terms, which help to outline what is most relevant; the links, how many point to that page and how important it is; and local relevance, in language and geography.
Transparency designed for the Internet user
“I suspect a lot of people who are very technical already know this level of explanation,” says Elizabeth Tucker, product manager at Google Search. The information is not top secret, but going further in transparency – or so Google fears – would make things much easier for cybercriminals and those who are trying to position themselves better in an illegitimate way.
The movement is therefore more designed to connect with Internet users and make them understand better how searches work than for the companies and brands that serve content and that use these processes to reach consumers.
It will not change things much in practical terms for SEO managers, but it could make consumers trust more online searches and have a more fluid relationship with search engines. In the end, that is the frontier that digital services have to conquer right now. They need to earn the trust of netizens at a time when they have become much more distrustful.