A Guide To Google Search Results

There are many different types of search results on Google. The most common type is the “natural” search result. This is the list of links that take up most of the page and display the name of the webpage, its URL, and a “snippet”–a short preview of the page’s text. The most relevant results are displayed first. These results are discovered by the Google search engine via “crawling,” which is simply following links from page to page. These pages are sorted and kept track of in an index, and Google uses an algorithm to retrieve the best results from this index; factors such as keywords and number of links leading to a page contribute to a results’ ranking.

Getting one’s page indexed is easy. Google automatically crawls webpages, so new pages can appear in the results in about a month’s time without requiring further action. Image, video, and news results are similarly indexed. Alternatively, one can log in at Google Webmasters Support using a free Google account, add one’s webpage, and see it appear in the search results within days.

Natural results may also appear with star ratings or an author’s image. These are called “rich snippets” and they automatically appear on the results page if the rich snippets code has been inserted into the webpage’s HTML. The star ratings come from the users of the webpage, and the authors’ images come from the authors’ Google+ accounts, which have been linked to their content through their Google+ profiles. Rich snippets are used to increase the number of people who click through on a result, as they provide more information than a typical snippet.

The top, side, and sometimes bottom will display results enclosed in a yellow box that otherwise appear similar to the natural search results. These are paid results or advertisements, which are handled through Google AdWords. Though these results are paid, they are still intended to be relevant to the search.

Some searches will bring up immediate answers for things such as weather, sports scores, quick facts, and conversions. These answers always appear at the top of the results page, usually with a larger font, and sometimes graphics. Similarly, to the right, sometimes a “knowledge graph” is displayed. The knowledge graph pulls results from databases such as Wikipedia and IMDB, and displays the information in a clear and organized manner. These types of results are intended to save time from looking through individual webpages.

When searching for an address or other location, a map result will be displayed to the right. Clicking through will lead to Google Maps, where one can find directions to that location. Users can submit new information or corrections to Maps through their Google account. Map results will also come up when searching for a general type of business, such as “pest control” or “restaurant,” combined with a general location, such as city or zip code; these map results will list businesses in the area, along with information including hours and types of payment accepted. Businesses can be added, if not already listed, by the business owner through Google Local Business Center.

When searching for a product, shopping results will be presented, showing images, prices, and retailers. Google Shopping results are now paid results, submitted through Google Merchant Center and AdWords. Sometimes shopping and map results will have reviews attached to them. These reviews are drawn from multiple sources, which also make use of “rich snippets”: Google Checkout Reviews, Bizrate, Epinions, Yahoo, etc.