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Google Provides Enhanced Search Options, Features

in Search Marketing with tags , , , ,

For Searchers

Google recently launched a suite of new search options. Googlers will now see a new “Show Options” link after completing a search query. At the moment, it’s a fairly subtle gateway into their additional tools, providing searchers with a way to further segment relevance off an original search keyword.

The options available break down into two types – 1) options that help searchers segment and further filter results to find what they’re looking for and 2) options that help searchers visualize the keyword results in different ways.

A look into some of these new options:

Results by Format (Filter): All results can be filtered by type, including videos, forums and reviews. Basically, this new option categorizes links based on formats or types that are already blended into the search results via Google’s Universal search algorithm.

Results by Date/Time (Filter): Search results can now be filtered based on when the links were published. This feature, which Google formerly only showed on “News” searches, can now be applied to all types of search results.

Timeline (View): Results can be viewed in a timeline format so that the volume of results can be seen and tracked over long periods.

Wonder Wheel (View): This feature shows the search keyword in a center bubble with related searches branching off around it. The related searches can also be clicked on to view that term’s related searches – and so on and so on. For users, these new options can make finding what they’re looking for that much easier. The time and date-based features are also an effort by Google to capitalize on the growing hunger for real-time search data, similar to what Twitter has allowed with the integration of their search toolbar.

For marketers, the impact remains to be seen and much of the potential SEO impact really depends on how readily searchers begin to adopt these additional search views and filters when they conduct their queries.

Search engines like Ask.com have provided “more options” in the past, yet users have historically ignored such links and tools. Will Google’s subtle inclusion of these options be embraced or ignored? Will they make the sidebar options more default in the future, similar to the sidebar featured on Twitter (which displays a search bar and popular subjects being discussed at that moment)? Only time will tell. For now, at the very least, the new options are fun to play around with and do provide additional utility for more advanced searchers.

For Webmasters

Google also announced that they will now allow “ Rich Snippets,” to appear in natural search links. These snippets allow for additional structured data points (in required formats) to be placed into a Web site’s coding. These snippets will then be shown on the natural search listing for that page. This means natural search listings can now go beyond the traditional Title/Description/URL format, and opens the gates for marketers to get creative by supplying structured data attributes – such as price, views and ratings – to be included in their links. This in turn could improve eyeball views and click-through rates.

In the example below, this restaurant has added their review rating and price range to their listing.

Code used to enhance the above natural listing:

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Google’s latest news about these enhanced features for searchers and Webmasters, while certainly not earth-shattering for marketers right now, does indicate a willingness by Google to open up their format and become more flexible in their approach to helping the world organize – and find – what it’s looking for.

You can view Google’s video tour below for more information.