Google Tests a Search Results Page with Interactive Elements
January 4, 2021
Article Overview10min read
One of the most-used tools on the web today, Google Search is testing a new type of search engine results page (SERP). The newest test feature is a very discrete and small icon found next to the search results that allows users to click and view images from the web pages and also shows image previews when a user hovers over a link.
Interactive Search Results
Google’s new search results contain interactive elements that hide and expose images. It offers users the opportunity to have a preview of the content, and also helps them understand if that particular website is actually relevant for them before clicking on it. However, Google hasn’t provided documentation for this new feature because it appears to be a test at this point. The test involves adding a small interactive icon into the search result, which when a user clicks, reveals the image from that website.
If this new feature rolls out to all users – even though Google hasn’t offered any official documentation so far – then it may be useful to have images that perfectly depict what the topic of the page is about. Therefore, digital marketers and webmasters should start thinking about their content strategy and how to use images in their content that precisely communicate the topic of the article. With a careful selection of descriptive images that show what the site’s about and help users know what type of content they´ll find, you may rank in SERPs.
Though presumably, the images will help users determine if the website is relevant, digital marketers have their doubts and concerns about this new feature. Many find that a feature like this can have a major impact on sites that offer very descriptive images about their content against those that don’t. It could impact click-through rates (CTR) as it gives websites with descriptive images – a chance to influence users to click on their website.
How Google Search Live Testing Works
Google has published an article about “How Google’s Algorithm Is Focused On Its Users” while live testing Search. The biggest search engine shares that they conduct over 17,000 live experiments every year. However, in addition to the Search quality tests, Google also conducts live traffic experiments to see how real people interact with a feature, before launching it to everyone.
The testing of new features is done on a small percentage of total users by Google. Once the data is collected, Google will compare the experiment group to a control group that did not have the feature enabled and certain metrics are checked, such as:
1. What users click on?
2. How many searches were done?
3. Were searches neglected?
4. How long did it take for users to click on a result? And so on.
From the results of these metrics, Google measures whether user satisfaction with the new feature is positive so that they can ensure that the changes they make are increasing the relevance and usefulness of their results for everyone.
Google’s testing over the new feature will provide information and insights about how images can offer more relevant and accurate information to users about the content of a page. However, still unclear if this feature will roll out publicly at any point, the usefulness of this kind of SERP feature may depend on the ability of webmasters to select images that describe the page content well.