Google announced yesterday morning over at the two improvements they have made to the search results. These improvements include more refined results for specific searches, and longer snippets for long tail searches.
This refinement will allow Google to offer more “related searches” for various queries that users perform. Now when you do a search in Google, at the bottom of the results there is small section of links titled “Searches related to:” These are links to other related searches.
This addition expands Google’s ability to recognize related searches and as a result will now not only give more suggestions to users, but (hopefully) increase the relevance of its suggestions.
Impact on SEO
This change is relatively minor when it comes to SEO but does have some impact. With this refinement, Google shows other key phrases that it deems relevant to the initial search. This can be used to help refine your keyword research.
If you are interested in ranking for a particular phrase, do a search in Google and investigate the phrases Google notes in the “related to” section. You may find valuable keyword targets here worth pursuing. Including these phrases within your site may also help Google relate your site to the initial phrase and could help with your search rankings. This is something that one was able do before the upgrade, but now, these suggestions will likely be more refined and valuable.
Previously Google search descriptions were limited in length to around 150 characters. Now when you perform a longer search query of more than three words, the snippet is expanded considerably. I have noticed snippets as long as 413 characters, but some may be longer. This change was made to help people recognize relevant results when more detailed searches are performed, and in some cases provide the information that someone is searching for right within the result pages.
Impact on SEO
Longer snippets will not likely play a big role when it comes to getting a site ranked, but it may very well help determine if a ranking is clicked by a searcher or not. With these longer site descriptions appearing it will be that much more important to ensure that the description Google is using is appropriate for the search phrase.
If you find yourself ranking in the top 10 for a particular phrase but are not happy with the description, do what you can to help guide Google to use something more appropriate to entice users to click on the listing. This will give you a little more opportunity to attract visitors and perhaps make a few extra sales.
You may be able to find some insight by checking out your site’s analytics for long tail phrases driving traffic from Google. Search for these phrases in Google and see what your description looks like and take it from there.
These two new improvements to the Google search results really play only a minor role in the big picture of SEO, but as with all adjustments they can contribute to your site’s overall performance. In this case the main impact is in getting the right users to your site. If you take these two changes into consideration when you are working on improving your site’s visibility it may help improve your overall SEO campaign results.