Google Set To Reveal More About How It Ranks Your Web Pages

Google Set To Reveal More About How It Ranks Your Web Pages

Google has introduced a new ‘About This Result’ Panel next to the search engine results in the US Google search, soon to be rolled-out to the UK’s Google Search that will give users more of an idea of the ‘context’ and relevance that partly explain why a link is ranked in a particular position in the SERPs.

Google Search Engine Ranking Results Explained…A Bit More

Obviously, Google is not giving away the secrets of its algorithms, but when the feature is introduced soon in the UK, it could help with SEO by giving a clearer indication of which factors hold most weight in establishing rankings.

Google Search Engine Ranking Factors

How Google’s ‘About This Result’ Panel Works

Clicking three dots next to most of its search engine results will take users to the  ‘About This Result’ panel.  This displays what Google describes as “useful context” which is information about  how Google returned results for the query.  Users will also be able to see “helpful tips to get more out of Google Search”.

Shedding More Light on Google’s Ranking Factors

Google says that useful displaying of context is a way of showing searchers some more information about some of the most important factors used by Google Search to connect results to their queries.

Which Contextual Factors Is Google Showing?

Google says that the search ‘context’ factors that users can see by visiting the ‘About This Result’ panel include:

Matching keywords: Used by Google to determine if information is relevant is when a webpage contains the same keywords as a search.

Related terms: Google looks for terms that its systems that are related to the words in a query.

Looking at links: It appears that relevant incoming links are still important as Google decides that pages linking to a page using similar words as the query, is likley to make a page more relevant to a particular search. Google says that this can also be a helpful indicator of whether online content creators seem to regard the page as useful for a particular topic i.e., the page appears to have authority and be trusted.

Local relevance: Google’s systems (algorithms) and a user’s given country and location, plus the language uses in a search help to guide the relevance of the content delivered in the search engine results for a user’s area, even if a user does not name their location/area in a query/question that is locally focused e.g., ‘where is the nearest recycling centre?’.

How To improve Google Rankings

Local Search Engine Rankings With Google

If you’re looking to rank highly for searches locally in Google the factors that Google is already known to consider in order to arrive at rankings for local searches include the user’s device location, labelled places, home address (this is often set in the Google Home app for your speaker, Smart Display, or Smart Clock), Location History, previous activity across Google products, and the IP address of the user’s Internet connection.

When Will It Be Introduced to Google’s UK Search?

All we know from Google so far is that “This expansion of About This Result is rolling out in English in the U.S. to start, and we look forward to bringing this and other related features to more people in the coming months.”.

Why Third-Party Reviews Are Important For SEO and Your Business

Why Third-Party Reviews Are Important For SEO and Your Business

Getting (good) customer reviews and ratings on Google and other third-party review platforms is an important part of off-page SEO and a way to attract pre-sold customers to your website, thereby helping to deliver both traffic and conversions.

Search Engines Looking For Relevance and Trustworthiness and Authority

Google, for example, has always needed to secure its place as the go-to search engine by delivering pages in its Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) that have maximum relevance to search queries, and have trustworthiness and authority. To do this, Google has to take into account a mix of factors to arrive at a ranking result for any web page.  The quality of incoming links has long been a contributor to search engine ranking, and review sites (review signals) are an important off-page source of information for Google’s algorithms as regards the popularity, trustworthiness, and authority (and domain authority) of a web page. For example, in addition to Google and Facebook reviews, review websites that Google is thought to use to help establish trust and authority scores for UK web pages include bazaarvoice.uk, bizrate.co.uk, feefo.com, reviews.co.uk, reevoo.com/en/, trustedshops.eu, trustpilot.com, and verified-reviews.co.uk.

Reviews Help Influence Attitudes, Opinions, and Purchase Decisions

Reviews and SEO

In buyer behaviour terms, in the buying cycle, potential customers seek information about products and services and their suppliers as part of the information search stage where they whittle down their ‘set’ of likely suppliers to preferred ones in an attempt to maximise satisfaction and positive reinforcement, reduce risk and minimise the possibility of negative reinforcement and post purchase dissonance.

In other words, buyers are looking not just for the product or service, but for a number of signals that will give them the confidence to make a decision to act in favour of one supplier over another. In addition to their SEO value, that’s where your positive reviews come in.

Customer Confidence From Social Proof Provided By Reviews

Influencing this ‘conversion’ behaviour e.g., calling, filling in a contact form, or purchasing online can be influenced by the ‘social proof’ that reviews offer.  It is known that many purchase decisions, particularly among younger people, are influenced by recommendations and reviews from others, particularly friends or those perceived to be like us.  Also, there are now many known and trusted review platforms that customers actively visit before deciding on a purchase, particularly those purchases that are involving (high prices, higher potential risks), and for services which, of course, can’t be sampled until used/consumed. Reviews on platforms such as Trustpilot, therefore can have a big influence (positive and negative) on online purchase decisions for services and experiences.

Customer Review Platforms SEO and Conversion

Locally – Google My Business

Reviews linked to a ‘Google My Business’ account, and the visual star rating and ranking position in that portion of the SERPs can be a very valuable influencer in local purchasing decisions, particularly for services. Lots of good reviews over time can means more stars and higher positions, which can act as a competitive advantage by helping consumers to make a quick decision in your favour, and by stopping them from engaging in any further search behaviour (excluding your competitors).

The Value of Reviews – In Summary

In summary then, reviews can help your SEO, online rankings, and your business by:

Providing Google with indicators to help rank your web pages higher, which brings more clicks, which again feeds into higher rankings.

Providing potential customers with positive signals and valued reasons to choose your company over competitors.