In the US, Google has distributed a brand new feature on their search engine. Now, when you search for a phrase or website, three dots will appear next to the website results that pop up. When these three dots are clicked on, a box containing information about the site will appear, allowing you to gather information on whether sites that you are not familiar with are reputable before accessing them.
What is the feature?
If the website you click on has a Wikipedia page, this is the information that will be displayed in the ‘about this result’ box that appears. Google’s reasoning for this is that Wikipedia is an “open editing model” and therefore will provide “the most up-to-date verified and sourced information available”. The idea behind this is to give you the “peace of mind” that a site is reputable, particularly when you are looking for something important “like health or financial information”.
If a website does not have a Wikipedia page, the context for it will be available in the form of information such as when Google first indexed the site. Job listings or local business listings will be labeled as such and will show a description of how Google sources that information.
It is evident that Google wants to be more transparent with its users and aims to help them make informed decisions about which websites are safe to visit and are likely to have useful content. By providing this additional information, users will be able to better filter out misinformation and will have an easy way to check the credibility of a site before they visit it. The pop up also outlines whether the site is secure (ie whether it has a valid SSL certificate).
What does this mean for your website?
While this new feature doesn’t seem to suggest that your website will be impacted, it does reiterate the need to stay up to date with your site optimisation and SEO practices. For example, the information in the ‘about this result’ box outlines whether a site is secure, meaning that if you don’t have an updated SSL certificate, users will be able to see this immediately and it may deter them from ever visiting your site.
What happens next?
While Google have indicated that the test is still in its beta phase, it seems probable that this feature will become the new norm for search results. Google is continuing to take feedback on the feature and seemingly has plans to expand on it further. Although they haven’t given away much detail on what the final feature will look like yet, the test has been successfully rolled out for English language users in the US for mobile web, desktop, and the Android Google app so far.
Could this feature be coming to us soon?
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