All Google users will be familiar with the traditional results displayed for search queries - a list of websites and a text summary. But now, Google is making its search experience more targeted. When searching for certain terms, users will see a much richer display of content in the form of a contextual information block.
More Relevant Results
The aim of this new feature is to provide a snapshot of more relevant search results including a text summary, images and various other facts about the search term.
The example Google has given when explaining the new information box is of a person looking for kitchen re-modelling ideas. If that person is trying to decide whether to opt for granite or quartz kitchen worktops, they might type in 'quartz vs granite' as a search term. A traditional search for that query may have pulled up information about what these types of stone are rather than the more useful information in this case such as price, durability and benefits.
The new contextual information box aims to provide the user with the information they are looking for. Crucially, this info includes common related search terms. In the granite vs quartz case, related queries would include terms like 'marble vs granite', 'soapstone vs granite' etc. The aim of this is to help users to find the info they need much quicker.
Better Search Experience
Google's latest update has various benefits for the user, giving easier access to all sorts of queries and essentially bringing them to life. The move is also part of the search engine’s strategy to improve Google search results, making them more contextual. This strategy is geared towards the demand for more mobile-friendly content that requires less typing and fewer searches.
While the user benefits are clear, there could be a downside - a reduction in referral traffic. With the new information panel, users can hover over the drop-down list for a summary without clicking through.
For shopping searches, this would not necessarily make much of an impact as the user would be searching for something to buy. However, this effect of the information panel should still be considered by any business or organisation with a website.
More Info On One Page
Google has a wider aim to provide more information on one page to meet growing consumer demand for more instant, digestible content. The contextual panel is part of Google's Knowledge Panel listings which aim to provide a snapshot of all the info someone could be looking for about one search term in one place. This new development by Google will also be good for search engine optimization as it will give increased link options on the first search result page. Users will see extra links within search result listings, helping businesses to easily match up their content with various common searches in their efforts to be more SEO friendly.
This is an interesting move from Google that could carry various benefits for businesses, essentially giving them new, richer ways to display their content. This more visual search result concept is sure to improve the search experience for both consumers and businesses.