This week, Google announced that it will be rolling out a new "About this search" feature in English in the U.S., which will allow users to learn more about a result before they click on it.
The company recognises that people will often get their information from sources that they know and trust, such as major retailers and news sites. However, Search might also introduce them to websites they've never come across before. Google wants to make it easy for users to learn more about unfamiliar sites without having to carry out an additional search.
Where the feature is available, searchers will see a ⋮ menu icon next to most search results on desktop, mobile, and the Google App on Android. When tapped, this will provide more information about the linked page, allowing searchers to make a more informed decision about what sites they visit and whether a particular result is likely to be helpful.
A "BETA" label is still being displayed with this feature, but Google has been testing it for a while. The company has said it will continue to tweak it based on feedback, which users can provide by tapping a button at the bottom of each description.
Where will "About this result" information come from?
When the "About this result" feature becomes available, it will provide website descriptions from Wikipedia.
Google says: "Based on Wikipedia’s open editing model, which relies on thousands of global volunteers to add content, these descriptions will provide the most up-to-date verified and sourced information available on Wikipedia about the site. If it’s a site you haven’t heard of before, that additional information can give you context or peace of mind, especially if you’re looking for something important, like health or financial information."
Sometimes, a Wikipedia description will not be available. In this case, Google will provide users with other information, such as when the site in question was first indexed by the search engine.
This new feature won't just apply to the general search results, either: it will also be available on the likes of job and local business listings. In this situation, it will give the searcher details about how Google sourced the information and whether a particular listing is a paid ad or organic result.
What this means for your brand
While the feature is only being rolled out in English in the U.S. right now, there's a good chance it will make its way to other countries and languages.
If you want your company to get ahead, consider setting up a Wikipedia page that proves your website is trustworthy and authoritative. Or, if your brand already has a Wikipedia page, submit valuable edits in line with Wikipedia guidelines.
This will allow Google to provide rich and useful information to searchers who want to learn more about your results, which could make all the difference when it comes to securing clicks.