Developing the perfect search experience – Google continue to test SERPs

by Peter Young on February 10, 2009 · 1 comment

It has certainly been a busy year in terms of refinements of the search engine results pages (SERPs), after a couple years of stability. First we had the incorporation of blended search back in 2007, with another major shakeup coming late last year with SearchWiki. Since then we have seen PPC ads being incorporated to image searches, and the incorporation of longer snippets on the results pages.

It is however interesting to see Google testing yet more pages. One of these has been something I have seen on a number of references to blogsearch results, however as yet I had not seen this integrated into the mainstream SERPs – until now

Mainstream search sees date search functionality

A number of interesting points can immediately be seen, most notably the ability to filter searches by:

  • Anytime
  • Last 24 hours
  • Last Week
  • Last Month
  • Last Year

This is then followed by a breakdown of results, as well as an extra part to the title with the date found beside it. Given the context it was found in, it was something extremely useful in terms of finding the most recent and relevant document relating to the research I was doing, and it has to be said one of the better improvements I have seen being tested over the last couple of years (certainly infinitely better than the SearchWiki functionality)

I understand from Jon Myers, Head of Search at MediaVest that Google tested something similar in the US back in September, however it isn’t something I have seen here in the UK before. This also differs from previous slightly in display from previous observations back in September, and is controlled via the parameters ‘&as_qdr=y’ on the URL string.

Further to this, there also appears to be further enhancements off the extended snippets we have previously covered on the Holistic Search blog. In the previous post, most of the results saw extended snippets, however on the testing highlighted below we are seeing segmented testing with only the first result seeing an extended snippet. As with sitelinks this can only serve to extend the amount of real estate that the top two positions take up – and further enhance paid search as the prominent channel within the initial results presented to potential searchers.

Extended Snippet on first result only

I would suggest given the amount of innovation we are seeing at the moment this won’t be the last testing we will see, and it will be interesting to see how other aspects of the search experience impact on the SERPs, certainly I personally think blended search still has some significant mileage in it.

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internet marketing consultant February 11, 2009 at 3:55 pm

wel this perfect search experience is so so cool.

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