Google tweaks results to show more site content

Posted on October 11, 2018

 

In what may be either a trial or a rollout of a new feature, Google has started displaying more content from within sites in its results page.

The move appears to have been spotted by SEMRush, whose tweet on the subject prompted Search Engine Land to write an article about the latest shake-up to the way the search engine displays results.

The change affects what are known as Google’s Sitelinks. In cases where it is deemed useful to do so, Google gives links to certain areas of a website within its top result. As an example, a Google search for ‘Engage Web’ brings up our homepage as the first result, but the Sitelinks underneath in direct the user to both our Contact Us page and Our Team page.

Some sites display four or more Sitelinks, as you can see if you Google ‘BBC’, for example.

However, with the way these results are displayed, the Sitelinks do not really give any information to the user unless they click through to the pages. That looks set to change, with Google’s latest adjustment pulling more content from the page into the Sitelinks.

In the example tweeted by SEMRush, the Sitelinks for Google’s Cloud Translation API appear in the form of drop-down boxes. When opened, they give a short but non-truncated paragraph about the area of the site in question. There is also an option to ‘show more’, suggesting that the user may be able to get a preview of most or all pages of a site without actually visiting it.

For Google, this means people are likely to spend more time on its results page rather than clicking through to the sites it suggests, but what does it mean for site owners themselves?

Some might fear that by giving more details from a site in its results, Google is deterring people from visiting the sites and clickthrough rates might drop. However, it could be compared to Google’s Featured Snippets, where even though information from a site is pulled through to Google, studies suggest it is very much in the interest of sites to achieve them, with one site found to have had more than 500% more organic clicks from Google to the landing page after attaining a Snippet.

At the moment, details of this change are still fairly mysterious, but it seems that it will only increase the importance of all pages on a website containing useful, high-quality and well-written text.

John Murray

Content Team Leader at Engage Web
John works for Engage Web as a Content Team Leader and regularly contributes to the website and programmes of his beloved Chester F.C.

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